Samsung Ch@t 335 Review

Interface and Functionality:

Samsung's proprietary interface may fall short to all the smart phones out there, but comparing with feature phones, it is actually pretty simple to master, and gets the job done. You can choose from three themes for the UI when setting up the phone – blue, beige, and green. There is no social networking integration in your contacts list, of course, the phone just can't handle that, but the homescreen sports dedicated Facebook and Twitter clients, as well as shortcuts to messaging and communication apps. The phone sports a pretty convenient email wizard, and a combined inbox for both your emails, and your text messages.

There is also a Communications hub, which integrates different means of getting in touch, like IM (MSN, Yahoo and Palringo), said Facebook and Twitter clients, as well as access to additional services like Picasa, Flickr, and Photobucket. Given that the phone's main purpose is to keep you connected, we found messaging very streamlined.

It is not only messaging, though. The Samsung Ch@t 335 comes with an Organizer section, which includes a pretty rich Calendar app, as well as Alarms, Memo, Task, World clock and Calculator apps, plus a built-in file browser.

To unlock the handset you have to reach out and hold the Alt key down left on the keyboard, which is similar to what other QWERTY candybars ask you to do. 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. Again, if you have bigger hands, better sharpen your thumbs' nails, since the Samsung Ch@t 335 is a pretty smallish device for comfortable typing.

Internet, 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. The trackpad is used to scroll the page up and down, but even mobile versions of the pages render pretty slowly while scrolling. For zooming you can use the volume rocker, but, overall, if the website you visit is not simple, or doesn't have a mobile version, you will be getting the “not enough memory” message all too often. At least you can browse for free via Wi-Fi, which is something for a phone at this price point.

As we mentioned earlier, the handset 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, or the pre-installed applications. The Apps section includes Google, which takes you directly to the search engine's home page, Games (mostly Java-based trial versions), Voice recorder, Dictionary, Timer and a Stopwatch. In there are also the apps for managing the Wi-Fi connection, Bluetooth and the FM Radio – yes, we have a pretty good set of connectivity options in the Samsung Ch@t 335, but for data connections you will be on EDGE, no 3G radio in there.

Camera and Multimedia:

The Samsung Ch@t 335 is the successor to the similarly looking Ch@t 322. And camera is one department where change has happened, bumping the resolution from 1.3MP to 2MP. There are a couple of options in the interface, such as adjusting the white balance, brightness or resolution, as well as adding simple effects like Sepia to your shots.

The flashless snapper on the Ch@t 335 doesn't promise much, but take a look at the sample pictures we took on a sunny day. The pictures lack detail, as you would expect, but have high contrast and nicely saturated colors. Indoor shots are pretty noisy, but usable if you have a well-lit environment.

Video recording with the Samsung Ch@t 335 is not worth the sentence we are writing about it - QCIF 176x144 resolution at 15fps, good only for watching on the phone's display. When it comes to the image gallery, though, we liked the way you could easily fit photos on the screen, and flip them with the trackpad.

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. Audio playback was satisfying, with strong and reasonably clear sound from the loudspeaker, and the music player even has a few equalizer presets you can use, not to mention that FM radio is also on board. For the movie enthusiasts out there we did try to run differently encoded videos, to find support for MPEG-4 files only, at around the native resolution of the screen.

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