Samsung Ultra Smart F700

Destined for iPhone comparisons, the F700 makes its mark with a 3-megapixel camera and a slider form which reveals a QWERTY keyboard under the hood.


9.7
User Rating

View more from Samsung »


Whether it's pure coincidence or a case of planned marketing, it's without doubt that people will compare Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 with the Apple iPhone. While the designs of both handsets look strikingly similar, the F700 delivers on many aspects that the iPhone lacks. The best part is that it should be released well before the iPhone whose availability is still hanging in mid-air. We managed to wrestle a prototype during a visit to Samsung's headquarters in Seoul recently to give you a preview of the handset. Do note that this hands-on is written based on a non-commercial set of the F700 and actual specifications may vary with the final version.

Upside
The single most glaring similarity between the Ultra Smart F700 and the Apple iPhone is the central hardware key below the LCD screen. Pressing it calls up a grid of shortcuts for commonly used applications such as the music player, dial pad, Web browser, messaging and main menu. Alternatively, a blinking square in the center of the standby screen also allows the user to get to the shortcuts.

When we first laid hands on the F700, several things struck us immediately. Firstly, the size of the handset fitted comfortably in hand and the unit was surprisingly light. The latter works both ways. While it's unimaginable for a phone to weigh like a brick these days, we feel some users may associate the feather-light feel as a direct result of "cheaper" construction. Although the F700 we have with us is still a prototype, we had no issues with its build quality even though the handset is made from plastic.

Given its dimensions, it's a real surprise that Samsung managed to hide a slide-out QWERTY keyboard under the hood. The keyboard slides out to the left (the 2.78-inch screen to the right), aided by a spring-loaded mechanism which makes the whole action a smooth and fluid one.

The square keys with round borders resemble those on the Apple MacBooks. Each button has adequate spacing to the adjacent key, and the good tactility makes it a breeze to use the keyboard. In addition, the letters have a white backlight to them with the symbols and numerals showing up in blue. So typing in the dark shouldn't be an issue.

To put it bluntly, first-time users who are jumping onto the touchscreen bandwagon may find the F700 a culture shock, just like any other similar handsets with the same feature. For those who are still grappling with the fact that they no longer have a hardware alphanumeric keypad, the F700 offers an onscreen alternative. To lower the learning curve, there's haptic feedback on the F700. So whenever you tap on the handset, a short pulse of vibration lets you know that a letter or numeral is pressed.

As someone who's not a big fan of touchscreen devices, the usability of the F700 actually came as a big surprise. The generous size of the onscreen alphanumeric keypad helped ease this reviewer into typing on a touchscreen LCD. So much so it made the available space left for displaying text--when typing a message--puny in comparison. Scrolling on the panel took a bit of getting used to. But once mastered, it should become second nature.

The F700 is rather clean along its edges. Besides the camera shutter, volume bar and manual lock switch on the right edge, only three other controls (power switch, charging port and 3.5mm A/V jack) reside on the top of the handset. At the back, a lone 3-megapixel auto-focus camera sits beside the built-in flash.

Downside
Our main gripe with the F700 was with its glossy surface which tended to pick up fingerprints easily. Not only did we have to constantly wipe it clear of grease, the handset is prone to scratches when left unprotected in a pocket.

Unlike handhelds with touchscreens, the F700 doesn't come with a stylus and everything is done using fingertips. We were actually pretty cool with that since that's one less thing to worry about losing, although some people may not agree with that.

Outlook
We won't be going into a full-blown feature-for-feature comparison with the Apple iPhone since this is after all an early look. But suffice to say, aside from a smaller screen, the Ultra Smart F700 tops the Cupertino cellular on many counts, including better connectivity, a higher-resolution camera, haptic feedback and full-size hardware QWERTY keyboard, to name a few.

Although it may take more than just an overall better feature set to convince an Apple fanboy to switch camps to the F700, for the rest of the crowd, the F700 may just be the handset to own. A full review can be expected once we get hold of a working commercial set.

Previous Story

Nokia 5610 XpressMusic

Mobile Phones
Next Story

Sony Ericsson's Walkman phones



Add Your Review 32


* Below fields optional


Post comment as
 

hjs posted a comment   

The Good:i really like the look of it and mostly all the comments i have read are good

The Bad:the only bad thing would be the touch screen how it picks up fingerprints

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?!? CAN NOT FIND IT ANYWHERE!!!!

 

INKA TECHNOLOGY posted a comment   

Yeah I mean the phone looks like nice. I had the phone for around about 4 month maybe not even that & I had problems with picking up calls as I had to constantly press the screen before it would answer the call. I didn't think when in a call the sound was very loud, even when the phone was ringing. It wasn't very loud.

 

taela posted a comment   

The Good:great looooks!!

The Bad:it stopped working after 4 days for no reason

its awesome
but i found i cant upload pictures to my computer unless i have a SD card. which SUCKSS.

 

The nedanator posted a comment   

The Good:Is just awsume

The Bad:Umm qwerty slide jiggles a bit but mehh

Pretty good phone

 

The nedanator posted a comment   

The Good:Is just awsume

The Bad:Umm qwerty slide jiggles a bit but mehh

Pretty good phone

 

when is it coming out in australia posted a comment   

The Good:when is it coming out in australia

The Bad:when is it coming out in australia

when is it coming out in australia

 

Goddess posted a comment   

The Good:it has cool looks

The Bad:the HIGH price

It'd be nice to have, but not everyone can afford it.........

miss gorgeous
9
Rating
 

miss gorgeous posted a review   

The Good:love that it has both touch screen AND a qwerty keybord

The Bad:suppose the scratches, but does it really matter?

lovin this gorgeous phone n it looks pretty easy xxx

Jazzitup4E
9
Rating
 

Jazzitup4E posted a review   

The Good:Pretty, like the touchscreen and slide out hardware keyboard

The Bad:Hate the fingerprints being seen but i could deal deal

I'v really wanted a slide mobile with a hardware QWERTY keypad for ages and i comeacross one called the Samsung Glyde which is a previous version of this one i think?? not sure but this one looks cool. ANY IDEAS FOR A SLIDE WITH A QWERTY KEYPAD PLEASE REPLY!!! thanx :)oh and one thats alreay released in aus cos i want to get it ASAP :)


Sponsored Links
CNET's latest

User Reviews / Comments   Samsung Ultra Smart F700

  • hjs

    hjs

    "HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?!? CAN NOT FIND IT ANYWHERE!!!!"

  • INKA TECHNOLOGY

    INKA TECHNOLOGY

    "Yeah I mean the phone looks like nice. I had the phone for around about 4 month maybe not even that & I had problems with picking up calls as I had to constantly press the screen before it would an..."

  • taela

    taela

    "its awesome
    but i found i cant upload pictures to my computer unless i have a SD card. which SUCKSS."

CNET Speedtest
WHERE TO BUY

More Mobile Phones

Recently Viewed Products