Samsung Seek M350 Review

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Introduction and Design
Introduction:

It wasn’t too long ago when the touchscreen marked was the pinnacle of cell phone achievement.  They represented the best of the best with the spec sheet to match, but like anything in the gadget world this once high and mighty piece of tech has crept down to the mass market.  Meet the Samsung Seek M350, probably the lowest-end touchscreen device to date.  Though wrapped up in an attractive package with a full QWERTY keyboard, the Seek offers otherwise low-end features like a 1.3 megapixel camera and 1x data.  Included in the box (which doubles as a return container to recycle your old phone) you’ll simply find a 1000 mAh battery and microUSB charger.

Design:

The Samsung Seek is a rather small phone with a 2.6” QVGA resistive touchscreen.  The front of the device features the same three buttons as the Instinct- Back, Home and Phone- but this time they are actual buttons instead of touch-sensitive.  The left side of the phone has the volume rocker and microSD slot, whereas the right is busier with the Lock/Power button, microUSB port and camera key.  A 3.5mm headset jack can be found on the top of the Seek, and the back simply houses the 1.3MP camera and the phone’s single speaker.




The Seek opens thanks to a very solid spring-assisted mechanism and reveals a full 4 row QWERTY keyboard.  The keys are a bit flat and slick, but offer a strong click when pressed and tapping out a message is generally a pleasant experience.  Since the Seek is shorter than most sliding QWERTY phones the keys are spaced closer together which means less stretching to reach them and an more pleasant overall experience for the general user.



You can compare the Samsung Seek M350 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The 2.6” resistive touchscreen performed as one would expect.  It was arguably more responsive than the LG Rumor Touch, and about on par with what we’ve seen on the Instinct s30.  Build quality is very good on the Samsung Seek, much better than one would expect for a device of this class.  Given that this is a more basic phone, the size is nice and compact and the keyboard is very usable.  The touchscreen gives users more display than typically seen in a low-end device which sweetens the package.  While the Seek is aimed at the low end market, it doesn’t do so at the expense of quality.

Samsung Seek M350 360 Degrees View:





Interface and Software:

When the Instinct was released back in 2008, Sprint touted the new UI, promising that it would be seen on other devices, but outside of the Instinct lineup this never came to fruition.  The Seek rectifies this with a near identical port of that original operating system.  There’s not much more to say about it, given that we’ve already covered it with the Instinct and Instinct s30.  There are a few minor tweaks here and there and it’s not quite as comprehensive, but by and large it’s the same OS.  Although there's a bit of lag present at times, tt runs fairly smoothly and is well ahead of any other dumbphone UI found out there.


The phonebook is slightly more advanced with options to save an address and birthday for contacts, as well as the standard numbers, emails, URL, IM name and memo.  It does offer Nuance’s voice dialing but does not have a dedicated button nor the neat Live Search feature we liked so much on the Instinct.


The Samsung Seek focuses on social networking with pre-loaded Facebook, Twitter and MySpace apps.  These are all similar to what we found on the Instinct HD and offer a decent but unpolished mobile experience from the respective services.  Since this is a 2G phone, Samsung did not go to the trouble of using the Opera browser, instead it's sticking to a more conventional mobile one.  Opera Mini can, of course, be downloaded for free by the user which we recommend.

Unfortunately the Samsung Seek does not have support for Sprint Navigation, though it is compatible with Sprint’s Family Locator.  The latter is probably more important as we imagine this device is intended mainly for the young audience who have parents that may want to keep tabs on them.

Multimedia and Camera:

The Samsung Seek has a basic 1.3 megapixel camera that is incapable of recording video.  It offers some basic features such as brightness, white balance and color tone, but in general is what you’d expect from an entry-level device.  Colors were decent, but images had a general fuzziness to them.



The music player interface is decent for a dumbphone, much better than the one on the LG Rumor2 for example, but still has issues.  For starters it recognized our mp3 files just fine, but not our m4a test album.  It failed to read tags on two songs as well, resulting in an unknown artist and album.  But its fatal flaw is that you cannot play music in the background, curious considering the 3.5mm headset jack and the fact that other apps like Facebook can be sent to the background.  The Seek does support microSD expansion but does not ship with a card.  We don’t figure that many people will be using the Samsung Seek as a media player however, so these issues aren’t deal-breakers.



Performance and Conclusion:

Callquality was good with the Samsung Seek, earning an 8/10 rating fromcallers.  They stated that we sounded slightly hollow but otherwisegood.  To us they were bright and crisp with good voice reproduction. The rated 5.8 hours of talk time will be more than adequate for themajority of users.

The Samsung Seek is a fine device for what itis.  It has some drawbacks such as a subpar music player and nonavigation, but this phone is aimed at a market that likely isn’tdriving yet and already owns an iPod.  It is a much better phone thanthe similarly-equipped LG Remarq even with a price tag that is $30higher.  The Seek is a good first phone and the touchscreen and fullQWERTY keyboard will appeal to the younger crowd who is more concernedwith appearance than substance.

Software version of the reviewed unit: M350.DC27

Samsung Seek M350 Video Review:





Pros

  • Good size and feel
  • Advanced UI for its class
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • No support for Sprint Navigation
  • May get overlooked by more advanced phones like the Rumor Touch at a similar price

PhoneArena Rating:

7.0

User Rating:

7.7
20 Reviews

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