Written on 10/01/2009 04:51:00 PM by poison_ivy
Okay, so after a few weeks with the Samsung i8910 HD as compared with my short term experience with it in the past, I have to say that I'm starting to change my mind about Symbian—a little bit. Here's a more in depth look at the Samsung i8910 HD.
The Samsung i8910 HD still HUGE. Every time I whip it out of my purse I just can't over the fact that it's humongous. Of course, the iPhone is a bit wider but the i8910 is still taller, making it seem more bigger than the iPhone. Everything about the phone is a fingerprint magnet because everything's glossy. However, compared with the iPhone (sans InvisibleShield), the i8910's screen is less of a fingerprint magnet than the former. It may be because of Samsung's anti-smudge chemical on the screen. I'm very glad that Samsung decided to put the microSD slot outside of the phone rather than at the back of the battery as it makes swapping your microSD cards easier.
Because the i8910 HD is huge, the phone is less navigable with one hand only. A few times I've tried reaching my thumb to press something at the top left of the screen and my palm always ends up pressing something else on the screen.
Now let's go to Symbian. The i8910 HD has Samsung's TouchWiz Interface as a homescreen and the standard Symbian S60 on all other menus. Now I already like Samsung's TouchWiz interface having seen some phones bearing that same UI in the past. There are the Facebook widgets, Weather, Calendar, etc. I am missing the Memo Widget which I found really useful on the Samsung Tocco Ultra Touch, maybe Samsung didn't find a way to port that application to be Symbian compatible. Now when you press the center button, the menu screen pops up. This is where everything's Symbian. You won't find any kinetic scrolling action here except for the Photo Browser which is Samsung's application. For someone who's already used to other touchscreen phones and their kinetic scrolling action, I miss that on this device and sometimes find it hard to navigate some of the applications (ie, Contacts/Phonebook) because I find myself trying to “flick through” my contacts but nothing happens, instead of have to scroll using the scroll bars.
Samsung already did a pretty good job of making Windows Mobile like the Samsung Omnia II finger friendly so I hope that in the near future they would be able to do the same with the Symbian OS.
Samsung added their own task manager or 3D menu with a new firmware for the i8910. When you press the center button, panels will pop up and all open applications will appear as “cards”. You can scroll through the open applications and switch or close applications easily. This is a VERY nice touch and is a welcome addition to the device.
The accelerometer only works in certain applications like the gallery, web browser, video player, mp3 player, and web browser. It's not as responsive as I liked it to be and there's no animation when the screen rotates from landscape to portrait, the whole screen just blacks out and then would appear again. This actually gave me a heart attack several times and I thought the phone broke because the screen went black, it turned out that the screen just rotated to landscape mode because I had the phone at a certain angle.
The Samsung i8910 HD's screen is VERY sensitive and is responsive. It's really comparable with the iPhone. Again, if only more kinetic scrolling is incorporated, Apple iPhone users would feel right at home using this device.
There are some things that I love and hate about the Omnia HD's messaging application. First, the thing I hate is that you don't get a QWERTY keyboard in portrait mode. In fact, you don't even get it automatically when you rotate your screen. You have to choose it as an input option and when you choose the QWERTY keyboard, every time you have your phone upright and you have to type a message or even type in a web address on the web browser, the phone irritatingly forces you to rotate your screen so you can use the QWERTY keyboard. As I've mentioned before, I'm not a landscape mode user so instead of being irritated by this bug, I choose the alphanumeric keypad as input option instead.
Thanks to the screen sensitivity of the Samsung i8910, typing using the alphanumeric keypad is a joy. In fact, I can definitely say that I actually type my messages faster when using the i8910 HD's alphanumeric keypad compared with phones that have a physical keypad.
My other gripe about the messaging app is that every time you try to type something like add a contact or add your mesasge, a separate window pops up. I am so used to typing text messages on just one screen without another window popping up and I'm used to seeing the name of the sender in the sender box as I'm typing my message so again, this is another irritating option. Why? Because given that I can actually type my messages faster because of the screen responsiveness, this is negated by the fact that I have to press a check box after typing my messages so I can be taken to a preview of the whole message before I can press the send button.
But those are just minor issues. I really love texting on this device because of the screen responsiveness. I can actually text faster on the i8910 HD compared with the iPhone.
Multimedia, Audio, Videos
Now here's another thing that I love about the i8910 HD: watching videos specifically DivX videos. I have some DivX videos of my current favorite American TV Show: Lost and the video quality is just AMAZING. I'm telling you, it's actually like having a mini HDTV on your palm. The biggest video file I was able to play is 700MB and there's no buffering whatsoever. And the best part? It handles subtitles too! I actually can't wait to watch some Japanese Anime shows I've downloaded with subtitles, knowing that I don't have to encode any of them into watchable files. Those fond of watching videos on their mobile phones would definitely love the Samsung i8910 HD.
Speaker quality is okay and produces deep, rich bass sounds but some sounds would come out a bit tinny. On the other hand, using the earphones would produce great and clear audio. This mobile phone is a good music player too. However, I had a hard time with the coverflow art. Some of the albums which have AlbumArt when played on my HTC Diamond2 doesn't show on the Samsung i8910 HD. I still haven't figured out how to show AlbumArt.
Camera, Image, Video Quality
Another thing that Samsung did right is the camera. Image quality especially in daylight is just SUPERB. A lot of people are actually impressed by the shots taken on the Samsung i8910 HD in daylight. Colors are rich, natural and has just the right amount of saturation. Shots in low light conditions is also not bad, producing less noise compared with other phones.
Next is what the Samsung i8910 HD is all about: 720p video recording. The Samsung i8910 is the first mobile phone to claim 720p video recording. And although during the initial firmware versions of the mobile phone, there are some issues with audio quality of the recorded video, it seems that it was already fixed on the firmware version that I have. Although 720p video recording can take up the 8 or 16GB internal memory of the phone in a jiffy, HD video recording is really worth it. You can view some of the sample videos and photos I've taken on a separate blog post here.
Organizer, applications, phonebook, web browser.
You can sync our outlook contacts with the Samsung i8910 HD using the included PC Suite, the same is true for your Calendar appointments and ToDo tasks. The Samsung i8910 HD comes with a trial version of QuickOffice and its just too bad that you have to shell out extra cash to get the full version. There's also a dictionary, file manager and an included Adobe PDF reader. There's no smart dialing when you open up the telephone application. You have to go to your contacts first and then there's some sort of smart dialing feature because the phone automatically displays the persons with the corresponding set of letters that you're searching for.
Right now, applications for the Samsung i8910 HD is limited. There are some applications for the Nokia 5800 and N97 which will work with the Omnia HD but again, they're very limited compared with the vast amount of applications at the Apple App store.
I've read and heard that the browser on the Samsung Omnia HD has the same components as the Safari browser on the iPhone. Regretfully, even though they have the same components, they don't render web pages the same way. Web browsing on the i8910 is SLOW that it's actually quite irritating sometimes. Sure, you can watch YouTube videos right on the browser but it's still slow. I've installed Opera Mini 5 and actually enjoyed web browsing much more using this application so thank God for the Opera Mini 5 or web browsing on the i8910 HD would have been a lost cause.
So my verdict? If you're a Symbian OS fan and you're dismayed about all the troubles that the N97 and 5800 is getting or if you think that the iPhone is overrated, then the Samsung i8910 HD is definitely your best bet. Samsung might have to look for other translations of “everything” to give the i8910 a good nickname. Sure, Omnia would have been appropriate except that the i8910 isn't windows mobile. The i8910 HD is definitely a good buy, as you have an HDTV, a 720p video recorder, a good camera, and a good music player all rolled into one mobile phone.