Samsung AT&T Eternity Review

T-Mobile has the Samsung Behold. Verizon has the Samsung Omnia. Sprint has the Samsung Instinct. And now, AT&T has the Samsung Eternity.

As the era of touchscreen dominance continues on as strong as ever, Samsung is now working hard to become the newest major player to the likes of Apple and Blackberry. The Instinct, Samsung’s first major venture into the world of touchscreen phones, released in the U.S. in June with much fanfare. We knew it would only be a matter of time before Samsung made touchscreen phones for everyone else.

And they did not disappoint. Quite the opposite, in fact — Samsung launched a whole campaign as a result of the Instinct’s success, taking a form factor based on the Omnia model sold in Europe using their Touchwiz UI.

As part of this Touchwiz campaign, AT&T released the Samsung Eternity last week, and I had the opportunity to spend some time with it. I was quite excited to play with it as I had heard it would have this innovative new UI never before seen in the States.

AT&T Samsung Eternity First Impressions

Samsung released the Omnia in Europe with Windows Mobile 6.1 and Touchwiz, stacked with a 5 MP camera and 8 GB total internal memory with capability to expand it to at least 16 GB. Frankly I figured the AT&T Eternity would have similar specs; but I assumed incorrectly. I will go more into specs later.

When I first turned on the Eternity I found the Touchwiz on the left-hand side of the screen, but no WinMo. I discovered that the Eternity was designed more as a counterpart to the LG Vu, a touchscreen phone with AT&T’s Mobile TV service. As a result the menus and touchwiz widgets are basic and simple.

Samsung AT&T Eternity Touchwiz UI

Before playing with the Smasung AT&T Eternity I had never used Touchwiz before, yet it is becoming a Samsung standard on the new touchscreen phones. Essentially Touchwiz is a vertical menu bar on the left side of the screen which features several “widgets” — in this case, icons working as shortcuts to various programs within the phone — in a fully customizable fashion. Samsung also allows larger shortcuts on the main part of the screen, such as Bluetooth and TV.

The UI is instinctive and easy to use. Simply touch the Touchwiz menu bar and scroll up or down to find the right widget, then touch and you’re done. The menu bar can also be hidden to open up additional screen real estate.

Also when on the homescreen, the bottom of the touchscreen shows there are options to dial, check address book, and go into the main menu.

AT&T Eternity Design

The Eternity is formed to look much like the Omnia. The screen and phone size are practically identical to it. It’s easy to fit in the hand and quite light.

Screen resolution is a solid QVGA quality. While not as stellar as the Blackberry Bold or iPhone 3G, I was still impressed by the brightness of the Eternity’s screen. The touchscreen is pressure-sensitive, not heat-sensitive; this means I found it just as easy to press as the iPhone touchscreen. It also “grabs” the screen when you scroll up or down.

On the front we find a large screen with 3 physical keys at the bottom; send, previous menu, and end call. The sides are chrome with various buttons and jacks.

On the right side (pictured above) we find a 3.5 mm headphone jack along with a camera launch button and a quick shortcut menu button. Pressing this particular button is an easy way of accessing popular features on the phone such as messaging, internet and others.

The left side of the phone is simple — volume adjust keys and the charger port.

The back has a very simple yet classy look, proudly showing off the 3 MP camera included.

A microSD card is present in the phone, but under the back.

Samsung AT&T Eternity Features

While Samsung’s AT&T Eternity is not a smartphone, it is still packed with plenty of goodies.

The camera is 3 MP with video capture and video share capability. Additionally the camera offers panoramic pictures, autofocus, red-eye reduction and a “smile detection” feature which will automatically take the picture as soon as a smile is present.

Interested in playing music? The Eternity includes 3 GB internal memory along with microSD support to expand that number. It doesn’t seem like much compared to the 8 GB the Omnia packs, but it is a welcome sight considering most AT&T phones don’t offer more than 1 GB internally. The music player accepts MP3 formats, and can be synced through Windows Media on your computer.

The AT&T Eternity is quad-band GSM/EDGE and dual-band 3G (850/1900; no 2100). It also sports aGPS with Navigation services available, M3 hearing aid compatibility, stereo bluetooth, video share, mobile email, and accelerometer.

Internet surfing is made easy on the Eternity with the Openwave browser offering full HTML viewing. I do wish it would be easier to zoom in and out on specific areas of each page, but still impressive for one of AT&T’s dumbphones nonetheless.

AT&T Samsung Eternity Performance

Overall I found my experience with the Eternity to be enjoyable. At first I was disappointed to learn it would not be a smartphone, but quickly forgot all about that after using it.

The touchscreen was not a chore to use. In many instances, it can be terribly difficult to press a simple button on the screen. Not so in this case. Scrolling up and down was fun and smooth; haptic feedback made it easy for me to know when I had pressed something; and it was easy to manuever around to various menus and pages within the device.

I enjoyed the keyboard on the AT&T Eternity, mainly because it can go into landscape mode when I am typing a message. When used vertically the phone will display a normal T9-style keyboard for predictive, but simply turn the phone to its side and it will adjust to a full QWERTY.

The call quality and overall sound on the Eternity was good. Battery life is rated at 5 hours talk time and 250 hours standby. The phone was light and bright, though I did feel as though the phone’s plastic feel cheapened the phone somewhat.

Currently the AT&T Eternity is available for $149.99 after rebate with new contract. It can be purchased at local stores and online.

Author: Brad Molen

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  • abcyesn

    I just received my Eternity a couple days ago. This is my first “gadgety” piece of electronics in a while so I must say that I am pretty impressed with it. I haven't seen the iPhones, iPod Touches, or any other touchscreen phones in person, so I really don't have anything to compare the Eternity to.
    I hang out at very often.

  • decab

    FYI: it only has 200 mb of internal memory, and expandable to 8gb with mircoSD, not 3gb like you state… you may have got confused because the box says “3G.” 3G is the data connection for the phone and can receive data up to 3.6 mbits.

  • grant

    i have one, i like it BUT, the touch screen is way too sensitive, try scrolling through your address book and it will keep selecting one entry if you press too hard, and if you barely touch it it wont scroll, i treid everything, from trying to scroll through the address book and through web pages, and all the time, it will automattioclly click on something you dont want, while trying to scroll. then you have to click back to where you were and try all over, then you scroll again and it does it again just by flicking with your finger ! aggravating !

  • Rachel

    The Samsung Eternity is a-mazing. I love it. It's beautiful and I agree with everything you said.
    And it does offer 8 GB storage(expandable of course) :D!!! The only thing is, it's so new, that none of the stores have accessories for it!!! I tried looking for a USB cable for it and none of the stores carried it, they said i'd have to order it online :(

    All in all though, a pretty awesome phone ^^ i am so happy i got this one.

  • hahaha


    I want this phonee!!! SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO badd!(:

    It lookss ahhhhmazingg!<3

    Im going to an ATT store tomorrow to look at it.

    HOPEFULLYYY, on the 23rd i can get it! *_*

  • Angie

    I just got this phone and it is amazing. I found the iPhone too hyper-sensitive to touch, the screen jumps all over the place on an iPhone. With the Eternity you have haptic vibrations so you have more control over what you want to click on. It also offers 3 options for texting, T9, Qwerty or get this………Handwriting which is really neat! It also has a built in camcorder and the lower part of the phone has an electric blue flash when the phone rings that you can customize to several other colors. The main window also acts like a mini desktop with a hidable side bar where you can store your favorite wiggits. In my book this phone is better than the new iPhone and you don't have to pay the extra $30.00 Apple charges you for the iPhone.

  • aaa

    I believe Samsung Eternity does not have autofocus as stated in this article nor does it have 3 gb internal memory (seems to be just 200 MB internal memory.

  • Rob

    The only thing I wish this model would offer that it doesn't is main menu access to voicemail. I realize most people don't get as big on voicemail as text these days, but it's really annoying that I've got to go in deep to get to that.

  • Lollie Dot Com

    First let me preface this by stating that I am an idiot. I left several bad reviews for the eternity around the web the first few days I had it. I still think for some the lack of voice dial will be a fatal flaw. However, I learned how to scroll through the names on the contact list, “press firmly and swipe…. don't forget the press firmly part and you'll be fine”…. and I'M IN LOVE WITH THIS PHONE!!!! It's my second fav object in the world, the first being my Polaroid big flat screen tv/computer…. this baby is a big flat screen phone/camera/tv/computer/video recorder that fits beautifully in the palm of my hand. The screen is very easy to keep clean, the kinesthetic feedback is wonderful. I'm totally loving the way the keys zoom bigger when you click them, the way they feel… how easy it is to correct typos… the way you never need to buy a theme because the widget bar and widgets are chameleon in nature. They don't turn the exact color, but a darker see through version of whatever color is behind them. Surfing the net is easier than I've ever found it on a cell phone. You can enlarge the font size enough that even old people can read it without glasses. I'm 56 and need reading glasses to read the net on several other phones.

    They could never get me to carry a cell phone…. and now I'm just amazed to discover my favorite candy bar in my whole life is inedible. It's a dream boat. I think my phone is far more sleek and beautiful and wonderful in every way (except for the lack of voice dial) than any other phone made. :))

  • Allen

    I read some of you were having a hard time scrolling through address book – having to press firmly and roll the screen…..NO NEED. Once you click your 'contacts' button, you use the VOLUME keys on the upper left side to scroll up or down in your address book without ever having the wrong one come up. And, it DOES NOT change the volume you have set. LOVE this feature and this phone — BY FAR THE BEST PHONE I'VE EVER HAD.

  • whatttttttttt

    i can get this phone fo free!!!!

  • Kyle

    Press 1 and it automatically will call your voicemail

  • liz

    you need to get a stylus,for scrolling.

  • Melinda

    You can use your volume buttons for scrollling. No stylus is needed.

  • alexix

    I really really want one and i was hopin i could perswade my parents to get me one for christmas. Here r some ?s:

    – Does this phone have any cons?
    – How many letters is max on a text message?
    – How old should i be when i get a phone?
    – How can i conwince my rents?

    Plz help!

  • feliiz

    Does anyone else's Eternity have a bump or bubble on the back under the camera (top right side on the back where the qualcomm sticker is – or was, mine fell off)?

  • julia

    what is the difference between the instinct and the etrenity

  • Alissa

    My upgrade is coming up in about 2 weeks…. is this a good phone????

  • Jennifer

    Yes, a very good phone.

  • Jennifer

    Yes, a very good phone.