Interface and Functionality:

Samsung's proprietary interface might not be the best out there and it falls short to all the smart phones without a shade of doubt, but it gets the job done. The interface sports dedicated Facebook and Twitter clients, as well as a pretty convenient email wizard and single messaging hub.


Our biggest gripe here is the lack of a dedicated lock key. To unlock the handset you have to reach out to the Sym key on the keyboard, which – given the number of keys – might take you a couple of attempts. After a couple of days of instinctively trying to find the missing lock key, you sigh and get used to it, right?

The very same keyboard is a gamechanger for productivity. Samsung allows custom actions for all of the keys, which means that you can quickly access pretty much every function with a single push of a key.



Browser, Connectivity and Software:

A 2.4-inch screen just doesn't pair with quality browsing and the Samsung Ch@t 335 does nothing to change that. Your standard mobile browser from the dark ages of dumbphones doesn't allow much. Even the trackpad doesn't help much here as it seemed decalibrated in the browser moving at a despairingly low speed even when set to highest sensitivity. Let's not forget that we had an early prototype unit and in the final version things might have taken a change for the better.

When it comes to connectivity on such an affordable handset, we take fast data speeds as a gift and the presence of Wi-Fi is certainly one. As we mentioned earlier, the phone also comes with a microUSB port, which you can use to easily sync your media with the phone through Samsung's Kies manager – an elegant iTunes-like solution for your Ch@t 335. The handset could also be connected in mass storage mode allowing you to drag and drop your files without dealing with additional software.

In terms of apps, you can rely on the Samsung Apps download center and the pre-installed applications. The handset comes with a built-in IM client, Facebook and Twitter clients. Given that the phone's main purpose is to keep you connected, we found messaging very streamlined.



Camera and Multimedia:

The Ch@t 335 is the successor to the similarly looking Ch@t 320. And camera is one department where change has happened. Now that doesn't mean much as the 1.3-megapixel camera on the Ch@t 320 – for lack of a better word – sucked. The 2-megapixel flashless snapper on the Ch@t 335 doesn't promise much. So tone down your expectations and take a look at the sample pictures we took on a cloudy winter day. The pictures lack detail, as you would expect, but colors were more or less accurate, so you could still snap a photo in case you forgot your camera/smartphone, but that's pretty much it.






We have to mention once again that we tested a prototype, before we jump into the video recording capabilities of the Samsung Ch@t 335. If QCIF doesn't sound scary, let's translate this into pixels – 176 x 144. This renders video capture virtually useless as proven by the video sample below.

Samsung Ch@t 335 Sample Video:



Sound mind tells us that media playback on a 2.4 inch screen is limited to audio and images, but for the movie enthusiasts out there we did try to run differently encoded videos only to find out support for MPEG-4 files at around the native resolution of the screen. Audio playback, however, was satisfying, with loud and reasonably clear sound. FM radio is also on board. When it comes to the image gallery, we loved the way you could easily fit photos on the screen and flick between them with the trackpad.



Expectations:

The Samsung Ch@t 335 is a petite BlackBerry of a kind. Don't get us wrong – it lacks many features,  most notably - a fully functional smart OS, but its similar design and welcoming price would lure many. Disappointingly, the handset skips on the dual-SIM slot, present on its predecessor, the Ch@t 320, and goes for the mainstream single SIM mode. But it throws in more connectivity with Wi-Fi and a slightly better camera. The main selling point is the keyboard and while it is quite comfortable, it's smaller size makes the typing much slower than on a BlackBerry. But weigh in the price, and if an affordable portrait QWERTY is what you want, the Ch@t 335 might turn out to be a very lucrative option.

Samsung Ch@t 335 Video Preview:


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