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Being a “two faces” handset, Samsung F500 disposes of two separate user interfaces, conformable to the functions and securing maximum convenience of control.

From the media part, the following functions are accessible: Video and music players, Album (for photos and clips), Documents and Settings. The interface is consistent with the spatial orientation of the unit (the position of holding it) and the icons in the main menu (there are six of them) are located horizontally. They are arranged in a row at the bottom of the screen; the presently selected one is enlarged and displayed in the middle. The menu is intuitive, but in case you might find it difficult to get used to it, we would recommend reviewing the tutorial of F500, which is to be found in the settings menu.

It is most surprising that the multimedia section cannot operate without a SIM card, which will remain unexplainable and illogical to us. It is not normal not to be able to make use of the above functions without the availability of a card. For all that, the two faces are evidently not that self-dependent.

The rest of the functions are concentrated in the phone section, where the icons are arranged in a grid of 3 x 3 and the currently selected position is enlarged and displayed on the right. They are animated, so the overall look is traditional for Samsung models – it is almost the same as in U 100 and similar to that of U 300 and U 700.


The phone book has a capacity of 1000 contacts, each of them capable of accommodating several phone numbers, an e-mail, a web address, notes, dates of birth, and also photos and ring-tones, etc. At an incoming call, the photo, which has been associated with the respective contact, appears in a small window. When you dial a number, the image is not displayed. In case someone rings while you are using the multimedia section, the call is automatically transferred to the phone part, Once the conversation is over, you can continue from the point of interruption. Sorting of the contacts is done by first or last name with the option to search only by the name, belonging to the respective type of sorting.

Like with Windows Mobile 6 phones and Sony Ericsson K850, the F500 starts looking for coinciding numbers in the phonebook and the call records simultaneously when one starts typing a number on the keypad. The results are displayed in a small window. What is different here is that only coinciding numbers, and not names of the phonebook, are shown. This is a very easy way to make a call to a friend, whose number you may know only partially, or to check its availability in the directory. This is indeed a very convenient function, so we are convinced it will be appreciated. This is here, that we can note one of the restrictions of the small display: in case one types more than 5 digits, the window with the search results will hide the rest of the number, so the whole number remains invisible.


In the applications menu, you will find calendar, memo, task, voice recorder, world clock, calculator, converter, timer, stopwatch and memory status (for tasks and memos). The calendar has different viewing options – by days, weeks, months, and its resources are standard. You can set an appointment or an anniversary and each has a field for assigning an alarm. Up to 20 memos with no more than 100 symbols each can be memorized. The number of tasks is the same, allowing for 15 symbols in the title and 100 symbols in the text. The voice recorder enables the user to record voice notes with the option to set their length at up to 1, 5, or 30 min.

Special attention has been paid to the alarm: it is directly accessible from the main menu. There is the option to set five alarms and five additional ones, to which the user can even ascribe an arbitrary name (Wake Up alarm, for example). Settings for each alarm are very detailed: there is the choice of various music, type of alarm (melody, vibration, or both), volume, repetitiveness with the choice on which day exactly, as well as snooze settings (on/off up to ten times).

The memory of Ultra Video is divided as follows: 20 MB for the phone section and 350 MB – for the multimedia one; according to official data, the phone can support a memory Micro SD card up to 2 GB, though we presume it will cope with a 4 GB one as well. In our set, there was 1GB card, which enabled us to dispose of about 1350 MB ready for taking in favorite films and tracks.


Options for sending messages are altogether standard – you can compose text, multimedia messages, and e-mails. The memory is sufficient for saving up to 200 text messages, 30 templates, 100 push messages, whereas for the multimedia ones and e-mails are kept in the phone memory.
In emergency situations one may send the so-called SOS messages, provided their options for sending and content have been set beforehand. This might prove very useful in critical situations, since sending can be done with the keypad locked by fourfold pressing of the volume button. We hope you may never need to send such messages, yet they can be effective when necessary.


Samsung SGH-F500 is a tri-band GSM/GPRS phone (900/1800/1900 MHz), supporting UMTS/ HSDPA 3G (2100MHz), which comes to show that it has been mainly targeted at European users. We call the attention of our USA readers to the fact that the sole usable frequency there will be 1900 MHz, which means a rather limited application. We would like to remind that some time ago Samsung released a CDMA version of a dual face device, called UpStage, which is being offered by Spring and can be used trouble-free and unrestrictedly. Regrettably, the latter model does not feature the same functions, but at least its design is identical.

The complete HTML Internet browser smoothly downloads WAP, as well as normal Internet pages; our attempt to download was a success and the visualization was correct, without any mistakes. However, it is a pity that the small display of the phone is utterly insufficient for convenient content viewing and there is no option to use the large screen of the other face to that end. Such nonsense shall be considered inexcusable nowadays, when Internet access is an inevitable everyday necessity. It would be much cozier if one were able to browse on the big display with the help of the sensor buttons: one would dispose of everything there – enough space, easy control, and, of course, a 3G phone. Alas, complete bliss is unachievable.

There are two ways to connect the unit to a computer: Bluetooth 2.0 or a cable. Small files are transferred more easily the wireless way, whereas for larger ones, requiring faster connection, we would recommend the cable, available in the set. When exchanging information with a computer by way of the latter, one can use three modes of connection: PC Studio, Media Player and Mass Storage. The PC Studio mode uses Samsung’s software for file exchange and synchronization. In Media Player mode, the F500 is recognized as a portable one (PMP), which only enables the exchange of musical files and synchronization with Windows Media Player. The name itself of the last connection mode – Mass Storage – speaks of itself. In it, both the multimedia section memory of the device and the additional memory card are recognized, so one gets access to files and folders, as with every one information storage device.

Fastest transfer (about 2MB/s) is achieved in the last two modes, so bear this in mind when moving large amounts of information. For instance, an entire DivX movie (700 MB) will be transferred within 6-7 minutes, while doing so with a song (10 MB) will only take around 5 seconds.

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