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Class apart

tech reviews Updated: Apr 06, 2010 20:15 IST
Shayne Rana

Finally, Samsung’s special edition handset with Giorgio Armani — their third in fact — is in India. Here’s a quick look.

Form
You’d think the B7620 Armani, designed by Giorgio Armani himself, would be suave and sleek. That’s partly true. It looks suave but it’s anything but sleek. The bronze-gold trim looks jazzy and the Giorgio Armani name above drips haute couture.

The 3.5-inch AMOLED resistive display is clear but not too finger-friendly. There’s no stylus. The slide-out keypad slips out easily and is very well designed for prolonged use. Keys are raised, which makes them easy on the fingers. The display portion can also be lifted to make it face you and not stay flat — this makes for easier viewing like the Nokia N97.

There is a universal microUSB port on the same side as the camera’s shutter release and the screen lock. The handsfree adapter also bears the bronze-gold trim and has a 3.5 mm socket, so if the bundled in-ear earphones aren’t your thing, you can use your own.

A microSD card slot is located on the other side just above the volume/zoom keys. The handset has an existing memory of 8 GB which can be increased to 32 GB.

Interface
It was annoying to discover that the B7620 uses a Windows Mobile OS, even though it was V6.5. However, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI complete with drag and drop widgets and multiple desktops is built right on top of it, leaving minimal evidence that this is a Windows mobile handset.

Samsung’s 800MHz processor and dedicated graphics accelerator make the UI look good but don’t do much for speed. In portrait mode, the corner options at the bottom of the screen are inaccessible, so I often slid the keypad down to switch orientation. In landscape mode, the Composer app has a neat little shortcut bar to all the features that require typing.

The Task Manager feature allows for a lot of multitasking.The UI is sluggish and not very finger-friendly.However, even with no background apps running, the UI is slow.

Media
The handset’s audio quality was superb. Samsung’s list of EQ presets from their WOW HD engine to their DNSe enhancements add ‘oomph’ to the overall tone output and clarity. The video player reads all popular video formats — DivX, XviD, MP4, 3gp, H.263 and H.264. (That’s always been my favourite thing about Samsung handsets.) You can drag and drop videos for instant playback. The radio reception is quite good.

The media managers for the device are very well designed and better than the iPhone’s.Samsung’s also thrown in their video and image editors to play around with. It also supports TV out. An app called Midomi functions like Sony Ericsson’s TrackID. It records part of a tune, sends it to a server, traces it and send you information on the name, artist etc. This app, however, also allows you to hum or sing a tune.

Connectivity
The B7620 offers Wi-Fi, 3G with HSDPA (up to 7.2Mbps), EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth with A2DP and of course USB 2.0. It also has Home file sharing via DLNA. The default browser is Opera Mobile and the IE mobile browser is also available. Samsung’s Communities app allows you to connect to a few photo-sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr. There’s a Facebook shortcut for the desktop but no dedicated app.

There’s no app for Twitter or Orkut either.There are similar shortcuts to Yahoo! CNN, YouTube and a Google app is available for Gmail and Google Maps. The handset supports POP and IMAP emails. Though there is a GPS module loaded, I couldn’t find any GPS software to use with it. You’ll have to rely on the good ol’ Google Maps. You can geo tag photos.

Features
Besides the usual games like Solitaire and Bubble Breaker, there’s nothing special provided on this handset. Features include Mobile Tracker, Pocket Office (to read and create MS documents on the go), Smart Reader, which is not just a simple Business Card reader but also allows you to copy documents. There’s an English-French translator too.

You can take a picture of a document in either language and translate it.Like other Samsung handsets, this one too can be used as a digital photo frame. There’s a dictionary and a voice recorder. A Trend Micro Mobile Security client is also loaded.

Camera
The 5 megapixel auto focus shooter has an LED flash. Features include all of Samsung’s standard camera features like face and smile detection, wide dynamic range, image stabilisation and an auto-stitch panorama shot among other things. Image quality is really quite good in most conditions. Macro shots don’t come out so well though. Videos can be recorded in a VGA format (640x480 resolution at 30fps).

Battery
The 1500mAh battery can dish out about 5 hours of talktime. But running background apps (especially email) powers down the phone. On a single charge it’ll give you about two days of usage.