Samsung SCH-U550 Review

Software and Features:

By default, the Main Menu is categorized into Get it Now, Messaging, Contacts, Recent Calls, and Settings & Tools. Even though there are only two themes included (Classic and Pastel), the Pastel theme allows for three viewing modes (Tab, List, and Grid), and the List and Grid mode allows you to choose from two different layouts (Messaging or Personalizing). Using the Pastel theme and Tab mode, you have the familiar Verizon UI, but using a more pleasing color scheme. When changing to the List mode, all the menu choices are shown in a list from top to bottom, while the Grid mode shows all 9 icons on a 3x3 grid. The extra icons, when choosing the Messaging layout, are for My Ringtones, E-Mail, VZ Navigator, and Mobile IM, and for the Personalizing layout the icons change to My Picture, Games, and VCast music. We are glad to see that Verizon is now allowing more choices and viewing customizations of the phone’s main menu, yet it still has a way to go to equal that of menu designs used by other carries. One other note is that the U550 does not come with the Living Wallpaper feature that is used by the Gleam and FlipShot, so you’ll have to use a wallpaper of your own, or one of the defaults.

The Phonebook remains unchanged and is identical to the Gleam and FlipShot, with up to 500 Contacts being able to be stored, each with their Name, Mobile 1, Home, Work, E-Mail 1, Group, Picture, Ringtone, Mobile 2, Fax, E-Mail 2, and Notes. After a contact is saved, you can assign them to one of 999 speed-dial locations.

Having an integrated 1.3MP Camera is pretty standard among entry-level phones, and the U550 is no exception. Image quality is lacking, with poor color saturation and soft edges. However, we do feel that the U550 takes better images than the LG VX8350, since it does not suffer from the purple fringing and poor auto white balance that plagues the VX8350. There is also no flash for the camera, which makes taking pictures in low light nearly impossible. You should only look at using the camera for taking quick images while on the go. It will by no means replace your standard digital camera, and my no means comes close to images taken by the V9m, Maxx Ve, and Voyager.

Camera Settings:

  • Color Effects: Normal, B&W, Antique, Negative, Aqua, Green
  • White Balance: Auto, Sunny, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent
  • Memory: Phone, Card
  • Auto Name: On, Off
  • Preview Mode: Full Screen, Standard Screen
  • ISO: Auto, 100, 200, 400
  • Metering: Average, Center, Spot
  • Icon Display: Display All, Partial, Guidelines, No icon
  • Sound Effects: Ready Sound, Shutter Sound
  • Night Shot: On, Off
  • Self Timer: 3 sec, 5 sec 10 sec off
  • Quality: Fine, Normal, Economy
  • Resolution: 1280x960, 1024x768, 640x480, 320x240, 160x120, 128x96
  • Multishot: Series, Divided

Unfortunately, the music player uses the same outdated interface that is used by most other Verizon phones. Playback quality is not as good as the Gleam or FlipShot, due to there being only one speaker that is located on the back, which somewhat muffles the sound. We do not understand why Samsung would replace the two stereo speakers on the front of the U540 with only one mono speaker on the back of the U550. Music played though it is not as loud as other phones, and does not seem to produce as good sound quality. Located on the front are the touch-sensitive music control buttons for rewind, play/pause, and fast-forward. They only light up red when they are touched, and it can be rather difficult to find them in the first place. A better idea would be to have them stay on while listening to music, so they are easier to see. There is also the option to connect a Stereo Bluetooth Headset to the U550 using the A2DP and AVRCP profiles.

Other software features include Mobile Web 2.0, VCast Music downloads, VCast Video streaming, and VZ Navigator for GPS guided directions. You can also download a wide variety of games and other application using Get it Now. The only problem that we encountered (just like with the FlipShot) was when using the Mobile Web program and going to large HTML sites, such as The page would stop partway during download and display an “out of memory” error message, causing us to either restart the browser, or to view the page without any graphics. When going to smaller sites (Google) or WAP pages, the browser was able to work without problem.



1. robo87 unregistered

Unit has a semi-reflective clear outer face that will likely suffer from scratching if not protected. Nice feel, now avail at Costco

2. Shannon unregistered

I picked this phone out for my mom. It's great for the generation of cell phone users who are not looking for a phone with a big learning curve attached to it. The screen is big, and the contrast is great even when you're out in the sun. Adequate camera. I love how most of the newer phones that have been released lately have ICE in the contact list. My mom has some health problems, and all of her info is saved in the phone. It has given me a better peace of mind. Good voice quality, and has just enough features to excite my mom, and not overwhelm her. No, it's not an extra high tech it's not extra durable...but it has traditional cell phone users in mind. The users that like to talk on their phone...and that's about it. It still gives the options to do add mp3s with bluetooth stereo capability. Bluetooth stereo capability is an option that the alias (formally known as the sch-u740) doesnt even have. Plus 8 gigs of memory...something a lot of phones dont have right now. I can't wait to show her how to use all of the features once she's ready.

3. Dianne unregistered

I originally purchased the LG 8350 and Hated it! Granted, I am a very basic cell phone user but still, the 8350 felt like a cheap piece of plastic in my hand. I did not like the keyboard either. I thought the buttons were small and hard to navigate when texting. Most importantly, when I would hit the end button to end a call, sometimes the phone would shut off. Mind you, this was not my first cell phone so I do know the difference between ending a call and powering it on and off. I thought perhaps it was the first phone, but even my second, exchanged 8350 did the same thing. So, I went back to the Verizon Wireless store and traded it in for the U550. I have a similar Samsung as my work phone and it has worked just fine, with very nice reception. Everything about this phone seems better already, from how the phone feels in your hand to the clear sound quality. I am in my 40's so the eyes don't see the small print as well as they used to, so I really like that I can enlarge the font. The phone is much more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than that ugly, dull matte 8350! Although it does seem that the shiny coating on the front of the U550 will scratch if dropped so I put the leather cover on it just to be sure. The battery on the 8350 didn't hold a three bar charge for very long, I have been working on the 2 bar charge from the store now for a couple of days! So, so far, so good. For what I need for now, I think the Samsung U550 will be just perfect.

4. Kenny unregistered

I love the sch-u550... EXCEPT the external display shuts off and displays nothing after a few seconds in order to save battery life. There is no option to make it stay on permanently, making the external display perfectly useless. You have to open the lid or hold one of the outer buttons for 5 seconds to make it light up. I've already go to where I just open it to see what time it is. I bought it because it uses micro sd cards to hold more photos, and because i thought the roman numeral clock looked nice. Well, the sd card works geat, but the external display stays off, rendering itself useless, and taking away from the cool appearance it has in every sales picture of it.

5. takled1

Posts: 1; Member since: Dec 05, 2009

I love this phone. Just one problem, I am on my second one and it is doing the same thing. It just randomly shuts down. I'll take it out to call and it will be off. Pretty annoying when you are expecting a call. If this could be fixed I'd be really satisfied.
  • Display 2.1" 176 x 220 pixels
  • Camera 1.3 MP
  • Storage 0.032 GB
  • Battery 800 mAh(3.53h talk time)

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