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Samsung Memoir Review

Samsung Memoir

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User Interface:

Samsung has tried to bring innovation with its TouchWiz UI, but at times it can be clunky and gimmicky.  If used in the right way it can be useful; we preferred to keep the homescreen clutter-free and use the side bar much like you would the launcher in OS X.  We have a feeling this isn’t exactly what Samsung had in mind, but when you start dragging widgets onto the homescreen there just isn’t enough room, and since most of them act simply as launchers themselves they’re not particularly useful.  Some of the better ones are the Weather widget, which pulls info from The Weather Channel and the music player widget.

Home screen - Samsung Memoir Review
Samsung Memoir Review
Main menu - Samsung Memoir Review

Home screen

 

Main menu

As a launcher, however, the side bar became very useful.  Since it is customizable- you can choose the content it displays as well as rearrange the order- it allows you to set it up exactly as you want, making for quick access to your most-used features.  At times widgets are helpful on-screen, for instance if we are using it as a music player we would drag the music widget out during that time which allowed us to easily control playback.  It was almost like being a little kid: when we were done playing with something we would put it away, dragging it back onto the launcher.  Since the launcher itself could be hidden we were able to maximize screen real estate for wallpapers.

At the bottom of the screen are four static items: Phone, Phonebook, Web and Menu.  These are fairly common items, but given that the phone can be launched simply by pressing the Talk button and Web is on the launcher by default we would have liked to see some customization options here as well.  This is a relatively minor gripe, however.

The menu is pretty much what you would expect.  There the user can tweak his settings, create a message, launch the web and music player or pull up the full list of applications.  With the TouchWiz sidebar we couldn’t help but feel that a traditional menu was there just for the sake of tradition, as these items either are or could easily be incorporated within the launcher similar to how Android handles it.

One issue we had is that placement of the sidebar.  On the left side of the screen, most users will have to reach their thumbs across the screen to access everything.  This may seem minor, but when reaching across the screen then is partially obscured by your hand.  It really feels as if this UI was set up for lefties, and we feel moving the bar to the right- or at least giving users the option- would feel more natural.


PIM Functions:

The phonebook on the Memoir is pretty great.  It gives users plenty of options, and while the Memoir is not a smartphone the phonebook would suggest otherwise.  First off, there are dedicated first and last name fields, something we’ve seen before but still very uncommon for dumbphones.  It allows you to save a nickname for the user, mobile home, work and “etc” numbers along with other standards such as a custom ringer, caller ID picture, URL and up to 4 emails.  It goes beyond this however, with spots for an AIM, ICQ (seriously, people still use this?), Windows Live and Yahoo Messenger names, birthday and anniversary dates, address field and last but not least notes.  There is even a widget that pulls the birthday information, giving you the option to call or text the birthday boy right from the homescreen.  To top it off, your phonebook is automatically backed up online (through T-Mobile) every time you make a change.  Nuance handles voice dialing as well as ever.  We like this phonebook!

Adding a new contact - Samsung Memoir Review
Adding a new contact - Samsung Memoir Review
Adding a new contact - Samsung Memoir Review
Adding a new contact - Samsung Memoir Review

Adding a new contact



Samsung Memoir Review
The calendar is also pretty darned good, allowing you to do most things as you would on a smartphone such as set recurring events and add locations.  The big drawback is that there is no computer sync, which is key to a good calendar.  Still, for users who don’t care about this the Memoir proves to be very smart.  You’ll also find tasks- which can be sorted by priority, status and due date- and a simple memo pad.  Other standards, like a calculator, world clock and converter are also present.  All and all a very solid effort by Samsung on a media oriented device.

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PhoneArena rating:
9.5Excellent
Display240 x 400 pixels TFT
Camera8 megapixels
Size4.17 x 2.11 x 0.55 inches
(106 x 53.6 x 14 mm)
4.40 oz  (125 g)
Battery1000 mAh, 5.5 hours talk time

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