Samsung Memoir Review


25.05.2009

The Samsung Memoir is one of the best camera phones you can buy at the moment. With a design that makes it look more like a camera than a phone, you will enjoy its design while taking advantage of the easy navigation and the impressive quality of the pictures you can take with this device.

Too bad that the presence of some flaws stop this phone from being an excellent device. First of all, price is a little high, at least for a phone that offers no Wi-Fi connectivity. And then you have to notice that the Web browser could be a lot better and that it takes some time to get used to the touch screen interface.

All things considered, Samsung Memoir is the best camera phone you can get in the U.S. and the price is high, but worth it if you are interested in combining your camera and phone into a single gadget.

Buy Samsung Memoir

OVERVIEW

The highest megapixel camera phone that you could buy from an U.S. carrier has been, until recently, the Motorola Zine ZN5, with an optic sensor with 5 megapixels. Shredding a major part of the competition, with the 8 megapixel camera featured on the Samsung Memoir means you will have to pay a little more than you would for your regular camera phone.

With a 2 year contract, you can buy the Samsung Memoir for $249.99 at T-Mobile USA. The price is well reflected in the quality of the photos you can take with the phone, and one might even say that there are a lot of standalone cameras that do not offer the same quality.

If you add the fact that the Memoir offers features like a full HTML browser, 3G connectivity, and a GPS, $250 might not seem that much.

Buy Samsung Memoir

The Design

The Samsung Memoir looks and feels a lot more like a camera than a phone. The positioning of the shutter button and zoom controls, the positioning of the lens and flash so that it prevents you to block them with your fingers, the faux leather that covers the part of the device where your fingers will be placed while taking a photo, all these things might make you forget that the call keys and T-Mobile logo are present because it is actually a phone, not a camera.

Its dimensions are 4.2 inches long by 2.1 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick. The black and silver combination and the impressive 2.6-inch touch-screen display work towards making the phone an elegant phone/camera.
There is some basic customization that can be done, but the screen needs some accommodation to before you won’t accidentally launch other applications and such. The built-in accelerometer will make the interface rotate clockwise by 90 degrees if you rotate the phone while in some applications.

There are two virtual keyboards that you can use to navigate the phone. The first is being shown when you hold the phone like you normally would, thus displaying alphanumeric keys and some shortcuts. The QWERTY virtual keyboard will be shown while the phone is tilted horizontally during texting.

You can write messages with both keyboards, the QWERTY one being obviously a lot easier to write on. The layout is spacious, and the feedback is decent, although not as good as with the iPhone.

The interface is based on Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz interface. Thus, you can add widgets to your home screen and use the tray to launch them with a single touch. There are multiple widgets you can choose from, but you are limited to a certain point.

There are three physical keys placed under the display that serve the Talk, Back and End/Power functions. The microSD slot and charger/headset jack are placed on the left side of the phone while the right side features the shutter and the screen lock keys and the volume rocker.

Buy Samsung Memoir

The Features

Like we have mentioned before in this article, the main attraction of this phone is the camera. There are seven resolutions you can choose from as well as multiple color effects and other basic settings you can find in most camera phones. The advanced features are what makes this camera phone one of the best.
These advanced features include adjustable ISO and exposure metering, 12 scene presets, an antishake mode that will make sure you won’t get blurry pictures if you are moving, a smile shot that will take a photo only when a person is smiling, a blink detection and a panorama mode.

The same optical sensor can take short video clips in two resolutions (640×480 and 320×240) and in three modes: normal mode, picture message mode, and slow-motion video mode. The settings are pretty much similar to the still camera settings.

The picture quality is great, the colors are represented correctly and there is almost no background noise. After you took a photo you can decide to store it in the phone or on a microSD card (the phone can work with cards up to 8 GB). Another interesting thing is that you will be able to upload it to an online sharing site such as Flickr, Kodak Gallery, Photobucket, and Snapfish directly from you phone.

Other features include a music player, a 2000 entry phone book, a speakerphone, calculator, notepad, voice command, PC syncing, GPS support and Bluetooth, among other basic features.

Even though this phone lacks Wi-Fi connectivity, you can still connect to the internet using T-Mobile’s 3G. While the browser is not the best you can find, it is still better than most, providing a fairly decent experience.

One minor downpoint of this phone, considering the fact that the Memoir is targeted around entertainment is that it comes with absolutely no game at all.

Buy Samsung Memoir

The Performance

The call quality is great, with no static and natural voices coming from the speaker. There are some reports that on the other end you might be “transmitting” some background noise, but nothing too severe. The speakerphone is well implemented.

The music quality is good, but you should really use a headset to experience the best audition.

As with the internet speeds, the T-Mobile 3G network will reach speeds of about 1MBps, which is great.

The battery that is fueling Samsung Memoir will keep you talking for 5.5 hours, with the standby time being around 12.5 days.

Buy Samsung Memoir

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