Samsung Reality U820 Review
There are a few software improvements included with the Samsung Reality U820 that are not found on the Rogue U960. The first is that the Reality comes with 3 homescreens, somewhat similar to the LG Versa, which you can swipe between by moving you finger from right-to-left or from left-to-right. When the display is unlocked, the homescreens will shows four icons along the bottom for the dialer, contacts, message, and menu. The TouchWiz 2.0 sidebar is still present, and when selecting it (the small arrow on the left side) the widget bar opens up. From there you can scroll the list, choose to run a program, or drag the icon directly to any of the 3 homescreens. There are a few extra widgets that are included on the Reality that aren’t on the Rogue, such as a mini music player, Bing search and WeatherBug. Overall, the TouchWiz on the Reality is easy to use and it worked rather smoothly, just like on the Rogue.
The main menu on the Samsung Reality has 12 icons and is displayed in a 3x4 grid. Unfortunately, there still are no themes to choose from, but now you can move the main menu icons to other locations on the grid and even replace them with other icons (such as Bluetooth, Alarm Clock, and My Pictures). Other customizations include selecting the 3 homescreens' wallpaper, clock format, and the font size, color and style.
No changes have been made to the phonebook, as the Reality allows you to store up to 1000 contacts, each with the name, 5 phone numbers, 2 email addresses and IM screen name, birthday and street address.
The appointment calendar on the Samsung Reality U820 is also a clone of the one included with the Samsung Rogue U960. It begins by showing the current month with the date highlighted in blue. Once the desired date is selected, you can add an event with the appointment name, start and end time and date, recurrence, alert tone, reminder, and alert time.
Since one of the main features of the Samsung Reality U820 is the QWERTY keyboard, most users will opt for this method of typing messages, but there is still T9 predictive for use with the touchscreen. Threaded messaging is also included, which will group all your messages together by contact, number, or email. Additional messaging options include Mobile Email, which allows you to send and receive email through your POP or IMAP account, as well as Mobile IM, to connect to people on your AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo! buddy lists. For those of you who use social networking, there are direct links in the Communities menu that take you to the mobile web sites for Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, Photobucket, Friendster, and Twitter, but you can also do simple profile updates and picture uploads from the Communities menu as well. This is nice to have while on the go, but its functionality is limited and doesn’t replace going to the real social networking sites.
Multimedia and Camera:
One feature we are glad to see not carried over from the Samsung Rogue U960 is the outdated “red” music player. Thankfully the music player on the Samsung Reality U820 is similar to the one found on the Samsung Intensity U450 as you have 4 skins to choose from: simple, album artwork, visualizer, and lyrics. Furthermore, the music player can be used in background and will add a small widget to the home screen. This way you can enjoy listening to your music while sending and receiving messages. When we listened to MP3 files, the LG enV3 sounded louder than the Samsung Reality U820, due to its stereo speakers, but the Reality still sounds clearer than the Intensity.
The 3MP camera that is included on the Samsung Reality is a nice surprise. Even though it lacks autofocus, which is on the Rogue, images taken outside during the day have good color representation and have sharp edges, although some bright areas have a tendency to be overexposed. Naturally, when used indoors and in lower-light conditions, images have a tendency to show more grain and aren’t as sharp, as longer exposure times are used. Since the camera lacks a flash, don’t expect any passable results in the dark.
Other software features include Mobile Web with a quasi-HTML browser (as it likes to reformat the way web pages look – called “optimized view”), VZ Navigator for GPS guided driving directions, VCast Video and Music, and the ability to download games, ringtones and other applications. The Samsung Reality uses EVDO Rev 0 for data, instead of the faster EVDO Rev A, which means download speeds aren’t as fast as they are on the Samsung Rogue or LG enV3, but it is still quicker than using the 1X connection on the Samsung Intensity and LG Cosmos.