Samsung Impression Review

Software/Features:

Unfortunately this is the same TouchWiz user interface we’ve seen before with nothing new to mention. We were hoping to see the flashy new interface that was previewed during the Mobile World Congress. There are seventeen widgets you can choose from that can be placed on the home screen to give it a personalized look. Most of them are just quick launch items to lessen the need to go through the menus. Others, like the mini music player widget, will control music playback. There are plenty of transition effects used when navigating through the menus; with no hint of any lag. We like how simple the interface is; making it easy for first time users getting acquainted with it.  However, it is a bummer not being able to download additional widgets to truly make it personalized.

You can save up to 2000 contacts with up to 5 different phone numbers. On top of that, you can add pictures, ringtones, birth date and a short note. Searching is done only by first name, which is a common problem, but is largely annoying when present in such a high-end device. Additionally, you can scroll through your contacts using the magnifier icon on the side and navigate to the letter of the first name.



Thanks to the Messaging menu, you can write and send text/multimedia messages and emails. There are no factory preloaded templates, but you can save such for both, text and multimedia messages. The T9 system is present here and it will assist you type text faster. Inputting text is done via the screen numeric keypad, turning the phone counterclockwise to display the virtual QWERTY keyboard, or slide open the phone to use the QWERTY. If neither option is to your liking, you can even use the handwriting recognition as an alternative to input text. Although the feature is welcomed, it does take longer using your finger to write out the character you wish to use.



You can use the Mobile Email application to set up to 5 email accounts with the phone. Unfortunately, it allows you to set up specific accounts supported by the software such as Yahoo, AOL, and Hotmail and does not allow other email accounts; such as Gmail.



Pitting the Impression against the Eternity in the photo image quality, we found similar results with the newer device. The Impression retains the same 3-megapixel resolution found on the Eternity with results looking the same. Launching the camera application by pressing the dedicated button took three seconds to load. There is no auto-focusing system but images still had good detail. The phone will automatically edit the taken image by adjusting the brightness of the photo. Although this a welcomed feature by most, some may find it strange that it cannot be disabled. Indoor shots had some fuzziness in them while colors looked washed out. Outdoor or brightly lit shots produced the best quality with great detail and color saturation. The Impression has the same camera interface found on the Eternity which makes it very simple for someone to pick up the phone and start taking photos. Not known for its camera prowess, there are some options you can change for image quality or effects.

 


Videos
on the other had similar results found on the Eternity. It is probably best suited for MMS with support for a maximum resolution of 320x240. Videos taken in low light conditions came out dark while outdoor settings with plenty of light came out decent. Audio quality from the produced videos had almost robotic sound to it.

The music player has two versions – one taking up the entire screen, and which is accessible from the main menu and a second one that is visualized as a widget. In the first one, under the album cover and the track info now playing, there are three buttons. They are used to rewind to the previous track, pause, and forward. You can sort tracks by the artist, genre, album, play list selection. Overall, the interface is easy to use but has an unattractive “antique” design. The simple functionality (fast forward, play/pause) is accessible via the widget player. And just like other recent AT&T phones, additional music programs such as XM Radio, MusicID, and Make-UR-Tones can be found.



Audio quality when playing songs came out very well with no problems. You can easily hear it when you place it on the medium setting while no crackling was heard when placed on the highest volume. Although it did lack some bass, we still did not find any issues with the produced audio quality. On a sour note, the Impression does not use a standard 3.5 or 2.5mm headset port. Instead, you’ll have to use stereo Bluetooth headphones or order a Samsung adapter to allow use for headphones seeing that the box does not include them.

Viewing videos was tolerable, but nothing like what you would see on the iPhone or Storm. YouTube users will be pleased to know that you can watch streaming videos on the device as well. We were able to load a clip in 320x136 H.264 format on the Samsung Impression with surprisingly smooth frame rates and good detail. The device will only play it in landscape view with no option for portrait. Sounds that accompanied the video were clear and audible.



Samsung Impression is a quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and dual-band UMTS (850/1900 MHz). It does not support 3G access overseas in Europe.

The web browser is exactly the same that was found on the Eternity. Web sites loaded up pretty fast thanks to 3G connectivity in our location. When loading complex sites like ours, everything displayed fine with images rendering quickly. It’s quite usable for surfing the web while we wished that there was some sort of page overview to give us a quick glance at an entire site. The only other display option available is the mobile view that optimizes web sites for a single column view; eliminating the need to scroll left to right.



For travelers on the go, using AT&T Navigator will provide good turn-by-turn directions while offering plenty of local points of interests. The Impression’s IM client allows you to choose from AIM, Windows Live Messenger, or Yahoo Messenger. Just with other recent phones, you can jump back to the home screen while the IM application runs in the background.

The Impressions comes loaded with 189 MB of storage memory out of the box. You can supplement the storage memory with microSD support for cards up to 16GB.

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