Samsung SGH-G600 ReviewSamsung SGH-G600 9
The digital camera is one of the most important features in the modern all-in one multimedia mobile phones, but as the G600 is coming as one of the best Samsung’s cameraphones, here extra attention has been paid. In order to be good cameraphone, it must have easy to use interface but with lots of options, fast reactions and most important – high image quality.
The camera here starts almost instantly and 2 seconds after its icon is selected it is ready to shoot. Unfortunately, it is not that fast after that and focusing indoor (at average light) takes 3-5 seconds, depending on the object. Outdoors it is significantly less, about 2 seconds and once shot, an image at the maximum quality (5 megapixel and minimum possible compression) saves for 5.5 seconds which is fine, considering the 5 seconds of the K850 we tested and the 6-7 of the N95.
The interface is in landscape mode and the viewfinder occupies the whole display. There are three types of visualizations: basic (Regular), one that shows additional information on the selected settings (Indicator) and one that will divide the screen into 9 parts (Guidelines), for more accurate positioning of the object in the image.
All the options are situated in a horizontal menu that is accessed by the left software key. Greyscale icons show the purpose of each field and once you select it, its name and options appear in vertical list above. The G600 offers the following options:
- Shooting mode
- Single shot
- Take and save
- Automatic save
- Multi shot
- 6/9/15 shots. Normal/High
- Mosaic shot
- Panorama shot
- Size (9 resolutions)
- Macro (Off/On)
- Flash (Off/Auto/On)
- Timer (Off/3/5/10sec)
- Effects (13)
- Frames (29)
- White balance (6)
- ISO (Auto/100/200/400/800)
- Viewfinder mode
- Camera shortcuts
Pressing the right soft button will open the camera options list, including Camera, Scene, Camcorder, Gallery, Settings and Exit. Scene is very similar to the Camera but trades some of the options (Effects, White balance, and ISO) for scene modes including:
- Party / Indoor
- Beach / Snow
- Dusk / Dawn
- Autumn colour
Those would affect the settings of the camera to be adjusted to this type of scenes.
We’ve compared the images of the G600 with the N95 and a prototype of the K850. For reference, also a Canon SD630 6-megapixel pocket camera was used.
Outdoors in bright light, the G600 gives excellent (very accurate) color representation and most of the time has correct exposure which results in neither dark nor very light photos. The noise level and the detail are very good for a cameraphone. The images are a little soft and a weak sharpening effect must be applied to obtain slightly better detail.
Indoors the lower the amount of light it is, the worse the results get. In bright light there are no problems but when it comes to using the flash, the G600 performs mediocre. The images get blue tint and the colors are getting less saturated and kind of yellowish. This is typical for LED flash and it is high time all cameraphones with pretentions to be equipped with flashes, to resemble those of even cheap digital cameras. Taking night-photos (of illuminated objects) gives better result as the flash is not required, but similar to the other cameraphones they are ages behind the pocket camera.
6 ft (2 meters) Strong light
6 ft (2 meters) Medium light
6 ft (2 meters) Low light
The Macro mode is used for Close-up pictures, in order to deliver the best possible detail out of a small object. In cameraphones with irreplaceable lens, the closer focus distance in most cases means bigger object in the photo hence better detail (considering the resolution is a constant). The G600 is not the best for macro we’ve seen and measures on the average, with good detail but soft image (which is easily seen here) and not really able to focus from small distance. The N95 gives slightly better detail as it gets closer and its images are sharp, but the best phone we’ve seen is the KG920 and if we don’t count the resolution, the P1 is also very good.
As a whole, we are pleased with the G600 camera mostly because of the very good outdoor images, but if the shooting in dark environment is important for you, consider a phone with better flash. The N95 one is stronger although is also of LED type, while the K850/K800 Xenon is much more suitable for such type of scenes.
The camcorder interface has almost as much options as the camera one, and in this mode videos can be captured with maximum VGA (640x480) resolution. CIF, QVGA and two smaller resolutions are additionally supported. The VGA resolution is very good for a phone and coupled with the MPEG4 encoding the result is excellent. Outdoors the videos look very clear and the only problem may be the sound. A nice option is that you can pause while recording, this way combining a few situations in one video.
Samsung SGH-G600 sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution
Unfortunately, the Video once again suffers from bad sound. Although it captures audio together with the video, the Previewing of the captured images and videos is done in the Gallery, which in contrast to the viewfinder (camera/camcorder) interface is portrait oriented and the phone must be rotated. Moving through the images will enlarge their thumbnails and once you select one, the zoom can be accessed with the volume rocker. If the fullscreen mode is turned on and the visualization is in landscape, a minimap showing which part of the image is visualized will appear.
If you have some spare time and want to edit some images, in the Applications menu is situated the Image editor. It can adjust levels, brightness, contrast, colors. Various effects (filters) can also be applied. Image stamp would alloy as the name says, to stamp one image over the other. We’ve see no reason for doing this, but if you plan to, better prepare a simple image to be used as the stamp (Logo) over the selected photo in the memory.
The word Multimedia combines images, audio and video. In addition to good camera and camcorder, the G600 is also trying to offer adequate music capabilities, which can please the audio fans. The Music icon leads to the player which is very similar to the one of the U700 Ultra phone. The audio files can be sorted by various criteria including the standard Artist, Album, Genres and also some like Last/Recently played, etc. The interface during a playback is well organized, with large space for album art cover and big name of the track and artist (album is missing). The icons indicating the status of the options are small but big enough to be seen. The tracks can be rated and in the Settings (which can affect the way they are ordered ) and in addition to the standard Repeat mode and Shuffle (on/off) there are 10 equalizers (sound effects). Here you will find different music genres (pop, rock, jazz, classic) but also effects like surround, concert hall, stadium. Three types of animations are available, which will result in monochrome animation (color depends on the theme) that flows over the now playing interface but under the information, very similar to the visualizations of the W960 Walkman phone. Minimizing the player and going to the home screen will leave the music playing, and the 5-way D-pad will be shortcut to playback functions (play/pause, next, previous, etc). Multitasking is supported and while the music is playing you can take a picture with the camera or write a message for example.
Strangely, out of 5 tracks on our microSD memory card, the phone player loaded only 4. Browsing the memory with the file manager visualized the fifth track and we were able to play it, so it is not damaged. We are unsure how the G600 determines which tracks to put in the player. Also, none of the loaded showed album art cover, although one visualizes when played in other players.
The first option for music playback is the speaker on the front above the display and it delivers good sound but the volume is average.
For personal listening to music, the headphones should be used. Those in the box are of two parts – adapter with 3.5mm jack and standard noise cancelling earplugs. For the non-exacting customers, they will be OK, with high volume and good bass. Compared to other phone headphones on the market they are among the good, and are on par with the Walkman stereo headphones coming with W-series Sony Ericsson phones. If quality is what you search, you would like that the 3.5mm jack will allow you to easily replace them. Another alternative is that the sound can also be transmitted to standard single or stereo Bluetooth headset in order to remove the wires.
When the wired headphones are plugged in, they would also act as antenna for the FM radio. First time we started it we were asked if it should scan the whole frequency range and after that noted that it had saved the found stations in the list. Unfortunately names cannot be added and you will have to choose by the frequency. The speakerphone can be used to play the music through and in this case it was louder than while playbacking a MP3 file. Like the music player, the Radio can play at background level while you do something else on the phone and the homescreen will show shortcuts to its functions. An interesting feature is the “Record” which will directly capture the radio signal in a MP3 file.
The G600 doesn’t utilize a dedicated video player but can play H.263 files which you will open through “My files”. Pressing the “#” will turn the fullscreen mode on (it is in landscape but either to the left or to the right (2 options)). Other video types (like H.264 or WMV) are not supported, but this is a common thing.
Preloaded the phone comes with a few games, half of which are trials. As it supports JAVA MIDP 2.0, you can always add additional games or applications.
As other new models of Samsung, the G600 can also preview (but not edit) Microsoft Office 2003 (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) and Adobe Acrobat (PDF) documents. All visualized correctly and we preferred to use the Minimap option that shows which part of the document you are previewing, as often it is times bigger than the display (240x320). The only problem we had is that in Excel file we were not able to change the sheets and the phone visualized the first only. This means that you won’t be able to preview multi-sheet complex file. Still, Office 2007 documents are not supported.
Samsung SGH-G600 Review - Camera, Multimedia, Software