Samsung U700 Ultra 12.1 Review
On the back of the upper slider, the Ultra U700 has a 3.2 megapixel camera with auto-focus, mirror and LED flash. The portrait-oriented interface starts for 4 seconds and uses the whole display as a viewfinder. Pressing the left soft key a small settings menu appears over it, from where you can select:
- Switch camera:
- Rear Camera
- Front Camera
- Shooting mode
- Single shot
- Mosaic shot
- Panorama shot
- Size (6 resolutions)
- Flash (off/on/auto)
- Timer (off/ 3/5/10 sec)
- No effects
- Black & White
- Frames: (no/select)
- White balance
- Viewfinder mode
- Fullscreen view
- Fullscreen view and indicator
- Fullscreen view and guidelines
- Camera shortcuts - view
Additionally from the right software key you can go to Settings mode where additionally can set the quality (compression), night-mode, exposure (matrix/spot), saving options, shutter sound, zoom sound, brightness sound, storage, default name.
A strange thing is that our unit does not focus when the shutter key is pressed. It just takes photo, as if the camera is with fixed focus, doesn’t give any indication for auto-focus action. But even like that, it was very slow - takes 6 seconds until the captured image is shown and another 6 to show back the viewfinder, which is total of 12 seconds between two images, or less than 6 images in a minute!
The Quality is mediocre. In bright outdoor light, the images have realistic colors and exposure, but previewed at full size shows artifacts, noise and small amount of detail. Don’t shoot close-up objects, as they will appear blurry – the camera isn’t suitable for Macro. When shooting indoors, the valid rule is “The darker it is, the lower quality of the images is” and the flash can help at close distance, but it gives for unrealistic color representation.
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The phone can also capture video clips but the maximum resolution of 176x144 pixels (QCIF) makes them unusable! We would have like to see at least a QVGA (240x320) at minimum 15 fps and MPEG4 H.263 quality in a phone like that. The smaller U100 and U300 can capture QVGA and CIF videos.
Media Player sorts the multimedia files by: Last played / All / Recently played / Most played / Artists / Genres / Albums / Composers / Playlists, similar to other music players of modern phones, like the Walkman of Sony Ericsson for example. We would have liked to see sorting by rating, but it is missing. The user can create playlists, add music from the memory to it and reorder the added tracks. When a track is played, the interface displays the Album Cover, the file name, Artist, rating, options (shuffle/repeat), duration and the d-pad keys' function. From the menu you can rate the track, transfer the music to Bluetooth and turn the shuffle and repeat on/off. Unlike the U100 and the U300, this phone doesn't feature Equalizers and "3D Sound" options.
The video player doesn't play QVGA video, displaying "unsupported resolution". This is stupid, as most videos for phones are encoded in this resolution as most modern mid- and high-level phones use QVGA displays, just like the U700.
Samung SGH-U700 Ultra 12.1 is not a smartphone, but it supports JAVA MIDP 2.0, so third party applications and games can be added to it. Straight out of the box, it comes with Google search application which acts as shortcut to the site, and we find useless even inconvenient, as replaces the shortcut to the phonebook from the home screen. It also lacks any games, and comes only with JAVA application Google Maps, which uses the Internet to get the data from.