Samsung G600 5-Megapixel Slider
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by Franz Bicar
Samsung is getting serious with the competition going on for the cameraphone market. They now have two phones - and another one coming in - that could contend for the best 5 megapixel cameraphone in the market. The Samsung G600 is their first phone to be announced to the general public. It features quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support, a glamorous 2.2″ 16M color TFT display and stereo Bluetooth. This made the G600 a tempting all-around multimedia device.
The stylish design, the choice of colors and the metallic touch add up to some really exquisite looks.
As we all know, Samsung is heavily favored for their slider designs. The G600 follows in that path. The sleek, cool design of the G600 can be attributed to the metals used for its body finish. Above the display, you can see the loudspeaker and the earpiece joined together and a light sensor that controls the screens brightness can also be found in this device. The navigation keypad is below the relatively large 2.2″ TFT display, which surprisingly can visualize up to 16M colors. The D-pad under the display is rather conservative, though surprisingly comfortable and user-friendly.
The right-hand side of the Samsung G600 only features the camera shutter key and the memory card slot. The shutter key for the camera is a two-step one, much like on a digital camera. A halfway press focuses and locks the exposure, while the full press actually takes the picture.
The Samsung G600 is one of those handsets that you’ll feel comfortable with - specially when you’re using it for calls. However, its loudspeaker is not the loudest in the market.
In addition, the unit features dynamic animated wallpapers and of course, you can change that with a wallpaper of your choice. If you stick with the animated one, known in the past as Samsung uGo, it will automatically update the home screen background to display landmarks of the city or country you’re in. The scenery even changes when night falls.
In standby, the up direction of the navigation key activates the proprietary Samsung My Menu. It features several user-configurable shortcuts for your convenience. As it has always been with Samsung handsets, pressing the confirm key on the pad in standby launches the web browser - a truly inconvenient solution but one gets used to that eventually.
Furthermore, the unit features interface styling first featured in Samsung E950. The G600 menu interface has an advantage over Samsung E950, as it offers lovely animation effects. There are four animation styles (slide, door, zoom, fade) to choose from and the handset deals well with all of them.
As for its themes, the handset provides full-featured presets, but you can also create one of your own if the mood strikes you. The number of the main menu icons displayed is a total of twelve. You can choose whether list menus should be available as pop-ups that come up when you highlight a menu item, or not.
The G600’s phonebook can store up to a thousand contacts with multiple fields. It can display the names from the phone memory only or all names from both the phone memory and the SIM card at once. Searching employs gradual typing. A total of 12 fields of information are available for each contact. You can store up to 5 numbers for each contact, plus an email address and a note. Each contact can also be assigned a specific ringtone and picture; contacts can be organized into groups. Individual contact details or your whole contacts list can be sent via Bluetooth. Unlike Samsung E950, the G600 now has a field for a contact’s birthday.
Samsung G600 manages SMS, EMS, MMS, and emails. SMS, EMS and MMS use one and the same editor. MMS are created through a selection from the menu or by inserting an image, which makes the editor automatically switch from SMS to MMS.
The Samsung G600 file browser is pretty much standard for Samsung handsets. The phone memory and the memory card are separate but they both have the same folder structure. There are folders for different types of files - images, video, music, sounds, games and other, which allow the handset to sort the memory contents. The functionality of the file browser is adequate. You can copy or move files - both one by one or in bulk, and you can create or delete folders. Files can be sent again one by one or in bulk via Bluetooth. Throughout the whole file manager you can pick files you would like to lock to prevent accidental deletion.
Of course,let’s not forget to mention the cool image gallery built into the phone. Also, if you want to edit some pictures on the fly, you can do it with the G600 with its included picture editor.
As a multimedia device, the G600 performs beautifully. With its 55MB internal memory and extendable microSD card slot, the Samsung G600 can be used for your portable music needs. The Music player application allows filtering tracks by artist, album, genre and composer or you can choose to play either the tracks you’ve recently listened to or the ones that you’ve played the most. Custom playlists can be created too. You can minimize the application to continue playing in the background.
Another plus for the G600 is their equalizer presets which you can use. However, one drawback is the fact that you can’t create your own. The G600 also provided a standard audio jack adapter complete with a remote and a microphone. You can listen to music with the retail headset or you can plug your favorite headphones and still enjoy hands-free telephony. You can also use a Bluetooth headset for listening to music - both a mono and a stereo one will do the job, as Samsung G600 supports the Bluetooth A2DP profile. You can even listen music on two Bluetooth headsets simultaneously.
Another plus is the built-in FM radio. Whenever I go out and scout for phones, the FM radio is one of the things that I look out for.
Now for its main feature, the 5-megapixel camera with its LED flash. It can take pictures at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. Armed with auto focus, it’s does well enough on both close and distant subjects. he shutter key is a two-step one, much like on a digital camera. A halfway press focuses and locks the exposure, while the full press actually takes the picture. This half-shutter mode has been available in Sony Ericsson Cyber-shot handsets for quite some time now, but it first appeared in a Samsung phone with the E590, which was not really long ago.
The camera interface is intuitive and follows the current trend of presenting settings on a toolbar in the bottom of the screen while options appear as popup menus. The settings are extensive and include picture size, shooting mode (single shot, multi-shot, mosaic, panorama), effects (black and white, sepia, negative, emboss), white balance, ISO (up to ISO 800), and viewfinder mode (regular, with indicator icons on and with guidelines).
Image quality has several different variables such as resolution, color accuracy, noise, and noise suppression techniques. There are also other things to watch for - highlight/shadow detail, contrast, sharpness and sharpening processing, and chromatic aberrations.
In general the image quality of the photos produced by Samsung G600 is on an average level. The photos don’t have really that much of detail; however medium noise levels and no traces of noise suppression processing can be found with its images. The auto focusing is generally reliable so it should get the job done. In terms of dynamic range the G600 can be considered on par with Sony Ericsson K850 for example, and while the picture contrast is good, on some photos you may experienc purple fringing.
Possibly the greatest flaws found with the Samsung G600 camera are the relatively slow shot-to-shot time and the processing it does on the captured images. The mobile oversharpens the images and it leaves some artifacts along the edges of sharpened subjects.
The Samsung G600 camera is also able to shoot video - in the so-called Camcorder mode. There is an upgrade in the video recording department, as all recent Samsung handsets reached only CIF video resolution (352 x 288 pixels) at 15 fps. With Samsung G600 you now have VGA resolution (640 x 480 pixels) at your disposal. The videos are captured in MPEG-4 format so they are easily playable on a PC with most video playing software.
The G600 may not be the best cameraphone right now, but Samsung is slowly getting there. Looking at the hardware side of it - it offers all the essentials and more: a quick processor, a nice 16M color TFT display, stereo Bluetooth, FM radio with recording capabilities, a TV-out port, and a 3.5 mm audio adapter combined with the highly alluring 5 megapixel camera.