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Samsung SGH-a657 Review

Samsung SGH-A657

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team



Home screen - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Main menu - Samsung SGH-a657 Review

Home screen

Main menu

The software used to power the Samsung SGH-a657 is pretty much the same one found on the B2700. Surprisingly, there are some personalization options to make it stand out from others. You'll have your choice of either a grid or list view for the menus. In addition, there is an option to allow you to make custom themes for both beginners and experts. The phone will guide you on making different selections when you choose the easy theme creator. But if you really want to take control of everything, picking the expert mode will allow you to modify just about everything. It's definitely a great thing for those with creative talents to make well balanced themes that perfectly suit their taste. The main menu will display nine icons to get into the commonly used applications. No complaints with the swift and very easy to navigate interface used on the phone.

You can store up to 1000 contacts on the a657 with a variety of information being saved for each. When creating a contact for the first time, it limits you to some basic information to input. But you can add more things later on if you need to.

Sending text messages will be a breeze to anyone using the phone. Additionally, you can use the Mobile Email application to send emails to people. Unfortunately, it is plagued with the limited accounts that we've seen on other devices. If you use generic accounts such as Yahoo or Hotmail, you won't find any issues getting your email. You're out of luck if you do not see you provider on the list though. Would you rather instant message someone on the phone? Well, you'll get your choice of IM clients from AIM, Yahoo, or Windows Live Messenger to choose from.

Messaging on the Samsung SGH-a657 - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Messaging on the Samsung SGH-a657 - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Messaging on the Samsung SGH-a657 - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Messaging on the Samsung SGH-a657 - Samsung SGH-a657 Review

Messaging on the Samsung SGH-a657

AT&T Navigator - Samsung SGH-a657 Review

AT&T Navigator

Where - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Where - Samsung SGH-a657 Review


There are a lot of other programs that can be useful for the everyday traveler. AT&T Navigator is available to quickly give you turn-by-turn voice navigated directions. The software loaded up promptly and we were able to use it to find points of interests around us. Other GPS oriented applications such as Where, TeleNav Track, and Xora Time Track can be found on the phone as well. Some other useful applications found under the Tools Menu are the Stopwatch, World Time, Timer, Converter, Calculator, Tip Calculator, Notes, Tasks, Calendar, Alarms, and Audio Recording.

Converter - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Calculator - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Tip Calculator - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Calendar - Samsung SGH-a657 Review



Tip Calculator


Music player - Samsung SGH-a657 Review

Music player

A rugged device might not be centered around media features, but the Samsung SGH-a657 does provide it nonetheless. Loading up an MP3 song on the media player displays the title, artist, and album. You can pause, rewind, and fast forward by pressing the corresponding buttons on the player. It's simple and easy to use, but exiting the application will cause the music to stop playing, instead of continuing to play in the background. Seeing that this is a push-to-talk enabled device, we were impressed by the audio quality produced by the single speaker. The sound had some strong tones with clarity being top notch. We had no problems distinguishing the audio when placed on the middle setting. Luckily, we did not hear any crackling noises when setting it on the maximum volume setting. On the downside, you'll have to buy an adapter if you want to use your own pair of head phones. The a657 does have a stereo Bluetooth option if you prefer to listen to your music wire-free.

The a657 does not throw out video playback from its list of features to concentrate on making it a tough phone. We tested it out by streaming a YouTube video on the phone. Viewing it on the two inch screen may pose a problem for some with loss in detail and text can be hard to distinguish. We managed to watch with a steady framerate without any hiccups or lag during play. It will automatically start to play in landscape view, but you can change it to portrait through the options menu.. Audio quality was also superb thanks to the speaker.

Playing videos on the Samsung SGH-a657 - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Playing videos on the Samsung SGH-a657 - Samsung SGH-a657 Review

Playing videos on the Samsung SGH-a657

World travelers will be pleased to use the quad-band (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) in almost any part of the planet. The dual-band UMTS (850/1900 MHz) will only allow to get fast 3G service in North America. Bluetooth 2.0 is on board to allow for a variety of wireless transfers and pairing it with a wireless headset. 

The NetFront Browser v3.4 is loaded with the Samsung SGH-a657 to provide a decent web surfing experience. The load times were pretty quick on the phone with even complex web sites like ours taking under one minute to fully load up. Even scrolling horizontally and vertically came without any lag or slowdown. We were just impressed at how well the browsers runs on a non-smart phone device. Using the navigational pad will highlight each link accordingly as you scroll. If you want to go further down a web site faster,  the volume rocker will scroll down the page in equal portions. The only thing missing was just a page overview mode which could help for those really big sites. Nonetheless, we were still pleased with the performance of the browsing experience we received.

It looks like the phone comes with 105 MB of memory out of the box to store files. You can easily supplement that capacity by adding microSD cards up to 8 GB.

Internet browser - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Internet browser - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Internet browser - Samsung SGH-a657 Review
Internet browser - Samsung SGH-a657 Review

Internet browser

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PhoneArena rating:
Display176 x 220 pixels TFT
Size4.53 x 2.05 x 0.77 inches
(115 x 52 x 20 mm)
4.34 oz  (123 g)
Battery1420 mAh, 3 hours talk time

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