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I purchased my little Samsung E350 a couple of months ago following yet another accident with my phone which entailed dropping my trusty Nokia work phone into a cup of coffee. Annoyed because my Nokia had a decent camera and my Motorola was irritating me with it's distinct lack of features I decided to pay a visit to my local O2 shop and see what kind of deals they could offer to persuade me to part with my 'hard-earned, burning-hole-in-pocket, desperate-to-buy-phone, cash. They offered a good deal - this little beauty retailed at the princely sum of £99.99 but coupled with a trade in of £10 for my Motorola and a £20 O2 loyalty discount, I purchased this for a mere £69.99 on a PAYG (pay as you go for those of you unconversant with daft phone jargon) tariff.
This phone would not have been my first choice as I had been hankering after one of the clam shell design Samsungs since they offered thier pearly pink selves on the market, but at 150 quid, I really couldn't justify one of those. So after listening to the saleswoman for a while and outlining that I wanted as much as I could possibly get for my money, she handed my this phone and waffled for a while about it's benefits. I was sceptical, I must say, but soon won over.
The Samsung E350 is a 'slide phone', something I have never given much credence to, being a fan of the clamshell/flip variety. The front of the phone features a TFT LCD 128 x 160 Pixels / 65,536 colours screen along with navigation buttons for accessing the menus to change settings, access messages, contacts, WAP etc. Everything on the phone can be accessed from this small keypad on the front but you cannot type text messages etc - to do this and use some of the other applications, you must use the keypad which is cunningly hidden until you slide the front of the phone upwards. The slide facility is smooth and doesn't feel flimsy in any way. You can assign tones to the slide so that it makes a noise when slid open and shut - this makes me feel vaguely like I'm secretly a member of Starship Enterprise and makes me emit an internal chuckle whenever I hear it - I'm not mad - my pals actually ask me to open and close my phone so that they too can giggle over the sound..... I kid you not!
Platform - Tri Band (GSM 900 + 1800 + 1900 MHz) - GPRS Class 10 (2 Upload, 4 Download)
Camera - VGA (640 x 480) - Digital zoom (x4) - LED Flash - Brightness - Photo Effects - Selfshot / Multishot / Timershot / Night mode - Photo quality settings
Entertainment - 40 polyphonic ringtones (SMAF, MIDI, MP3, ACC, i-melody) - MP3 / ACC / ACC+ Player - Video Player / Recorder (H.263 / MPEG4) - JAVA™ games - Wallpers / Screensavers
Personal Information Management - Phonebook - Calendar - Scheduler - To do list - Clock / Worldtime - Alarm - Currency converter - Calculator - Memo book - Stop watch - Count down timer
Call functions - Speakerphone - Voice clarity - Caller ID (Text/Photo/Video) - Dialed/missed/received calls - Call time/costs - Dedicated key dialing - CLIP / CLIR - Call forwarding/barring/waiting/holding - Multy party - Closed user groups
Memory - 30 MB user memory - 200 SMS - 1,000 phone book entries
Not bad I thought. This phone has many more of the features that I need but the one that really sold me was the clarity of the camera. Compared to other camera phones I have owned (3) the Samsung E350 really is excellent - in addition to the clarity of pics, the flash facility is a real bonus, it is like the flash of any other camera when you take a single picture but if you are taking video in the dark, the flash stays on and ensures that your video is actually viewable.
Upon getting the phone home and using it I have become even more impressed. It is very easy to use and navigate - text messaging is simple and predictive text is easy to use once you become accustomed to it - though it doesn't appear to be as good as Nokia for adding words to favorites/dictionary, it is easy enough to input letters individually and swapping between predictive/special characters/numbers/caps etc is also simple.
The MP3 Player comes preloaded with a couple of tunes which along with the ringtones prove the excellent sound quality - I don't have a lead as yet to connect my phone to computer so have not used the MP3 facility extensively. Samsung invite you to join thier 'fun club' in which you can download wallpapers/ringtones etc. they helpfully give you a certain number of credits which you can spend on the above - I downloaded a few ringtones to 'personalise' my phone.
Dimensions : 85 x 45 x 21 (mm) Weight : 75 (g) LCD Spec (size/color) - Internal : TFT LCD 128 x 160 Pixels / 65,536 colours - External : TFT LCD 128 x 160 Pixels / 65,536 colours
The only gripe I have with the Samsung E350 is the lack of Bluetooth - for a phone so packed with features, most of which are of very high quality, I would have expected Bluetooth instead of Infrared for connectivity - BUT!!! This phone has definately converted me to Samsung and I will always consider them in the future, I have always liked Nokia but feel that they are now losing ground as market leaders for ease of use and losing on features and price. I would recommend this Samsung and as such many of the others with similar features - for those who hate fussy navigation which make them feel like technophobes to the extreme, this is perfect and yet still rich in the latest technology (barring Bluetooth). Even WAP is as simple to use and navigate as the phone itself.
Battery time is good compared to many camera phones, I only have to recharge once a week, perhaps twice if I have had a silly amount of calls. Reception is also good compared to many phones I have had - in the deepest depths of Cornwall and surrounded by so much Granite, it can be difficult to gain a signal but this phone is on a par with many of the top end Nokias which I have in the past found to have superior reception.
All in all, I have found this to be an excellent phone for the money.