Samsung U900 Soul Review

Posted October 13th, 2008 at 12:12 AM by RHochstenbach

Today I’m reviewing the Samsung U900 ‘Soul’ Cell Phone.

Read on for my full review…

What’s in the box:

  • Samsung U900
  • Power adapter
  • USB Cable
  • Stereo headset (earpieces)

U900 Specifications:

  • Connections: GSM 900/1800/1900 (tri-band), HSPDA 2100 (3G)
  • Size: 105×49,5×12,9mm.
  • Weight: 112g
  • Screen: TFT, 16M colors. 240×320 pixels, 2.2 Inch
  • Ringtones: Polyponic (72 channels) and MP3, with vibration
  • Memory: 128MB internal memory, expandable to a maximum of 8 GB MicroSD. 1000 phone numbers with images, 30 outgoing calls, 30 incoming calls, 30 missed calls.
  • Data: GPRS Class 10 32-48 kbps, EDGE Class 10 236,8 kbps, HSPDA 7,2 mbps, Bluetooth 2.0 A2DP and USB 2.0.
  • Messages: SMS, EMS, MMS, Email
  • Browser: WAP 2.0/xHTML, HTML, RSS Feeds
  • Games: Yes
  • Camera: 5 MPl, 2560×1920. Autofocus, Image Stabilizer, QVGA Video, LED flash
  • Music: MP3,AAC,eAAC+,WMA
. FM Radio with RDS
  • Other: Photo editing, Video editing, T9
  • Battery: Call time 6 hours and 25 minutes. Stand-by time 407 hours.

Design

The Samsung U900 is essentially a slide-phone with a thin shape, largely comparable with most other Samsung slide-phones. The phone’s materials are very substantial; you can feel that you have a decent phone in your hand.

The bottom of the screen is a touchscreen what allows you to achieve the following: - Navigate through the device with arrows and an OK-button. - Interactive buttons for each program, such as the camera and calculator. - Programmable hotkeys in the main screen.

You can set the sensitivity of the touchscreen and also the color of the buttons and the effects. Additionally, you can even set the color and the brightness of that specific color.

Music

The U900 contains a music player, the interface of which is comparable to the famous iPod. The main thing which sets the music player in the U900 apart from others is the way it updates the music database. Instead of waiting for a long index operation while it ties up the whole device, it updates the list automatically and very rapidly in the background. Ideally, you won’t even notice it’s updating the list. So after transferring music files to the device, you can immediately start listening, which is a very nice touch.

Conversely, I have noticed that the responsiveness of browsing in the music player is slower when you’ve got a larger than average playlist. Though it does respond more slowly, I haven’t been able to get it to freeze (yet).

I’ve noticed that the quality of the audio is very bad when playing through the main speaker. This could be caused by the slim design of the device. The quality of the stereo headset is fine though.

Camera

The camera of the U900 shoots sharp images of quite good quality, even in relative darkness. You can choose different in-camera effects and also a wide variety of scenes. There is even a scene which acts as a filter, useful in a situation where there is too much light.

There is also a pseudo-macro function, but unsurprisingly, it performs very poorly on the U900. If you’re going to use that feature often, it would be better to invest in a real camera rather than a camera-phone.

The camcorder records at quite a high framerate, but uses a low resolution. It adjusts the whitebalance very quickly, which is nice for on-the-cuff videography. Additionally, you can also use a collection of realtime effects during the shoot of a video, including “underwater”, “ancient” and “grey”.

Battery

The all-important battery life in the U900 is quite good. In my own case, I was using it intensively for 6 days before I had to recharge. It’s also worth noting that I the camera and music player sporadically during these days. During periods of heavier, predominately multimedia-intensive usage, it needed to be recharged about every 3 days. This is good, and compares favorably to phones with similar features.

Connectivity

The U900 provides two different ways to connect with your computer. If you use Windows, you can choose the included PC Suite software. If you don’t have the software installed on Windows, or happen to use a different operating system, you can choose Mass Storage to simply use it as an external drive.

If you’re planning to put files on the device using USB, then it’s best to get a cup of coffee during the process. An MP3 collection of 1 GB took 1 hour to transfer to the device. When I’d connected the MicroSD card directly to the card reader, it took about 1 minute to copy the same 1 GB of files.

Unfortunately, if the U900 is connected to the computer, you can’t operate it. This is a pretty substantial disadvantage, especially if you expect a phone call.

Another negative aspect of this model is the transfer speed via Bluetooth. This is a complete disaster, with an average speed of 33kb/s. As savvy readers will note, this is even slower than a dial-up connection.

Other Information

The menu of the U900 is well designed, making the navigation as easy as possible. All components are sorted in the logically correct sections. It’s also very responsive to the touching, making for an overall pleasant UI experience.

The stereo headset uses the same interface as the power adapter and USB cable and not a 3.5mm connection. If the headset is dead, only a U900 compatible headset can be purchased.

Advantages

  • Slim and strong design
  • Easy and fast navigation through the menus
  • Good camera/camcorder
  • Touchscreen with interactive keys
  • Flash memory expandable to 8 GB
  • Good battery capacity
  • Music player with fast indexing
  • Also usable on computers with a non-Windows operating system
  • Lots of extras

Disadvantages

  • Slow transfer speed over both USB and Bluetooth
  • Bad sound quality with internal speaker
  • Unresponsive with large playlists
  • Nearly worthless macro function
  • Stereo headset not compatible with 3.5mm plug
  • Device unusable as a phone when connected to a computer

Conclusion

The Samsung U900 has a slim and sturdy design with a wide load of features. All in all, it can compete with most multimedia cell phones of these days. Even so, one should weigh its disadvantages carefully before buying one. Not a perfect sell, but the U900 does have soul.

Comments

7 Responses to “Samsung U900 Soul Review”

  1. Anti-Trend on October 13th, 2008 8:32 AM

    Nice review; the U900 looks like a decent phone. What was the price point?

  2. RHochstenbach on October 13th, 2008 10:55 AM

    The current price of the U900 is €350 (± £278, $471).

  3. Sniper on October 14th, 2008 11:23 PM

    Hate it when companies decide to use non-standard headphone jack!

  4. RHochstenbach on October 15th, 2008 9:45 AM

    Yeah if the headphones don’t work anymore, then you can’t just buy some 3.5mm ones. All samsung phones got this issue.

  5. guy on November 5th, 2008 8:35 PM

    nice phone very pretty, alas incompatible with imacs unable to download music from my itunes library, however managed to transfer 1 song via bluetooth , it appears to only do so if its mp3 format alas again most recent downloads are mp4. any similar mac users Im sure Im not the only one who is having this prob who have figured a way round it would be much appreciated

  6. Koper on November 8th, 2008 4:04 AM

    33kb/s is much more than 56 kbits/s = 7 kb/s. Taking into account the overheads, the best you get from dial-up is 5 kb/s.

  7. RHochstenbach on November 10th, 2008 5:05 PM

    I’m using it with 2 different Macs, and don’t have any problems with it. When you set the USB options of the phone to Mass Storage, you can just copy music files to the phone.

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