Sunday, January 08, 2006

Review: Samsung SPH-a680 - Initial Impressions

After Christmas, I decided it was time to retire my old Audiovox CDM-8500 cell phone. The protective screen on the external display had a crack through the middle, the case was beat up, the reception was lousy and well, my wife had a better cell phone then me. I saw that my carrier, Bell Mobility, was having a "sale" on cell phones so I did some quick research online and headed out to the Bell World store at Tecumseh Mall.

Despite some of the shortcomings of the Audiovox phone, I like the size and weight of that phone. It wasn't too thin nor was it too light. So the Samsung SPH-a680 caught my attention. It has an internal and external color display, digital camera/camcorder (10X zoom), voice-activated dialing by digit or name, internet ready and data capable, 2-way text messaging (including picture and video messaging) and downloadable ringtones, screensavers, games and other apps. Picked up the phone for $79.99 for a 3-year contract. I kept my existing corporate plan ($20 per month for 200 minutes plus free message center, caller ID and call forwarding).

I have only had the phone for two weeks. Early indications point to good battery life and excellent signal strength. The menu system seems straightforward, but options or settings are a little scattered. You cannot use the same phone number in different phonebook entries. There is no speakerphone option, which defeats the purpose of having voice-activated dialing - the phone has to be up to your ear to hear the prompts. Kind of silly. The camera is well, more of a toy than anything else. You can take a picture of people and add it to a phonebook entry. When that number calls, their picture will appear on both the external and internal display. First impressions: the phone meets my needs.

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