Samsung Solstice A887 Review

Software and Features

We noticed the somewhat slower performance of the TouchWiz UI on the Highlight. That wasn't the case with the Solstice's quicker speeds; especially noticeable in the menu transition effects. It's the same exact interface we've seen with the Eternity and Impression. The only widget that stood as being new was the Facebook one – which launches the browser to the web site. Placing widgets, some being useful, on the home screen will give you a personalized look. Although the speed was faster on the Samsung Solstice A887, it's the same old interface we've seen on the Eternity. We just would've liked to see something a little more fresh as opposed to the same interface we've seen previously..

Creating contacts is a simple procedure that anyone can accomplish. It offers more information to be inputted than other basic handsets – phone numbers, email addresses, home address, ringtones, and screen names can all be saved. Memory won't be an issue because the Solstice will retain up to 2,000 contacts.

Depending on the user, touch screen phones can be just as swift when it comes to text messaging. The virtual QWERTY is responsive with vibrations accompanying each press. There's also a handwriting tool that we found quite frustrating because it does not accurately register what is written on screen. Finally, you can use the dialing pad for a more traditional way. Sending an MMS is integrated with the SMS application and allows for images, sounds, and videos to be sent.

The Instant messaging client allows for AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger to be used. In addition, the email application offers users a variety of popular providers like Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo, and AOL to use. It's the typical Mobile Email app we've seen for AT&T and there isn't an option to manually input specific providers.

Third party software is in abundance on the Highlight – some of the apps are useful while others you may never use. Some of these include Mobile Banking, MobiTV, MobiVJ, My-Cast Weather, Where, and XM Radio to name a few. For people on the go, AT&T Navigator is loaded for location based services and should get you to a destination in a timely manner. As usual, standard tools like the calculator, world clock, timer, stopwatch, and alarms are all available at your disposal.

The 2-megapixel camera on the Samsung Solstice A887 is by far the lowest on any TouchWiz device we've seen. Alhough it doesn't pack a punch in the numbers department, it did produce mediocre outdoor images that were taken in  good lighting conditions. It does lack fine detail and looks more like a painting when you view the pictures up close. Colors were on the neutral side while indoor shots were fuzzy. The interface is a facsimile of what is found on the Highlight of course – so there are two columns of icons to change the settings.

No surprise with video quality on this one – pixelated like no other and blurry when moving the camera to pan on something. Two resolutions are available with 320 x 240 being the maximum; so detail will be at a minimum. Audio was decent enough to make distinctions between two voices, but lacked depth in their tones. The Solstice is a video share enabled device, but we were unable to test out that feature. In the end, it's best to take videos for MMS use.

There is a slight layout change on the music player for the Solstice, but still clearly resembles the one we viewed on the Highlight. All the functions are there as well as useful information like reverse, play/pause, forward, repeat, and shuffle. We had to almost cover our ears when playing a song on the loudest setting because it was screechy sounding. It was definitely more pleasing to hear it on a middle setting – at least it was endurable at that level.

Watching videos was a breeze for the Solstice – results were similar to previous TouchWiz devices.  Movie trailers we used in MPEG4 320x240 and H.264 320x136 format played smoothly without any noticeable lag. There isn't an option to switch screen orientations so it will only play in landscape – nothing found in the menu settings to change that. Sound from the videos produced similar results to what we experienced with playing music. The screeching sounds are prominent again when it's on the loudest volume and lacks any vibrancy.

Taking the handset to other countries for voice calls won't be an issue with it's quad-band GSM capability (850/900/18000/1900 Mhz). For data use, the dual-band UMTS device (850/1900 Mhz) will get 3G speeds in the US.

Complex web sites loaded up in a good amount of time over 3G connections with scrolling still an issue. It doesn't have that smooth feel to it when you're trying to get to the bottom of a page. The one thing that the Samsung Solstice A887 had that was missing on the Highlight was a page overview option. It's actually a minimap  loads up as your begin to scroll extensively. The browser works well for a device not engineered as a smartphone.

There is 189MB of shared memory available if you plan on saving media directly on the device. To support that, it can accept microSD cards of up to 16GB in capacity.


1 Comment

1. behold--me

Posts: 679; Member since: Jun 22, 2009

the solstice is better hands down the highlight is the most hideous colored phone from t-mobile the only thing the highlight is better at is a slightly better camera.
Solstice SGH-A887
  • Display 3.0" 240 x 400 pixels
  • Camera 2 MP
  • Storage 0.189 GB
  • Battery 1000 mAh(5.00h talk time)

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