Samsung Messenger review

May 22nd, 2010

Here’s the Samsung Messenger. It’s a Windows Mobile 6.5 phone with a QWERTY keyboard, 320×320 display and a 3.2MP camera. It’s available on Bell for $0 on a voice an data plan or $50 on Rogers.

With Windows Phone 7 just around the corner it’s hard to get excited about WinMo 6.5 phones. That was my initial reaction when I got the Messenger (I took it out of the box and then forgot about it). Later I realized some people are used to WinMo 6.5 personal/Microsoft Smartphone and aren’t interested in moving to a new platform.

Like I mentioned the Messenger runs Windows Mobile 6.5. I’ll be honest I haven’t used many WinMo Personal (MS smartphone) devices lately. I do own a HTC Snap but to be honest it was so boring I don’t remember where I put it nor do I remember anything about it other then that the the keyboard was nice. The last MS Smartphone I used for a time was a Motorola Q9h which was running 6.0.

Smartphone has not aged well at all and while it has decent basic functionality it feels really dated. It’s like when my sister in law makes a big turkey. First we all enjoy it, then after 4 days of eating turkey left overs we’re sick of it. That’s how I feel about Smartphone.

While it’s powered by a 528Mhz processor (standard stuff), device speed feels adequate to slightly sluggish at times. I do wish it would scroll faster in Internet Explorer. One nice upgrade is that you get a 320×320 display instead of the usual 320×240 – so you can see 33% more. It’s still not enough but it is a welcome change.

Check out my unboxing and hands on video to see the Messenger:

The keyboard is very good. The keys stick out a lot and have a nice feel to them. I thought about the keyboard a lot about how the keys stick out compared to the keyboard on a Blackberry Bold 9700. At first I thought I liked the Samsung’s keys better but after typing on it for a while I realized the 9700′s fretted keys are better for fast typing because it’s harder to accidentally press neighboring keys. I wish there were a few more shortcut buttons as I’ve always found Smartphone’s menus to be a mess so being able to skip the menu is always a nice thing.

The home screen is customized with Samsung’s WizPro (sounds like something you’d find in a men’s bathroom) software. With Wizpro the home screen is split into different sections which you can scroll between sideways. There is a home section, communities, contacts, music, photo, shortcuts, settings Yahoo finance, Yahoo search  and AccuWeather.

The home section shows information like the date/time, new text messages, missed calls, new emails and Windows Live messenger messages. Communities has a link to a Facebook application along with links to the Friendster, Myspace, PhotoBucket, Flickr, Picasa and YouTube websites. Contacts is actually more of a speed dial where you choose your favourite contacts. I find the contacts feature to be pointless since typing in someone’s name on the today screen is faster. Shortcut allows you can define your own shortcuts to any programs on the Messenger.

While I didn’t fall in love with WizPro it isn’t a bad feature -especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of time setting up your phone. That said I did find it slightly laggy at times plus it also makes the home screen a bit of a mess.

Like I mentioned you can start typing in a name or number from the home screen and the Messenger will automatically search your phonebook for matching results.

Samsung includes some extra programs:

  • Alarms (so you don’t have to go into settings to setup an alarm)
  • Anniversary (no idea why Samsung included this since there is already a built in Calendar which syncs with Exchange)
  • Smart Converter (a unit converter)
  • Smart Reader (business card scanner)
  • Tip Calculator
  • World Clock
  • Photo Slides
  • Podcast
  • RSS Reader

I tried Smart Reader and got mixed results. It works really well with simple business cards but doesn’t work so well with cards that have backgrounds. That said it tends to save time if you get a lot of business cards.

The camera has a resolution of 3.2 megapixel with no flash.  You can start it up using the camera button on the right side. Image quality is not terrible but the autofocus takes a very long time to focus. There are a lot of camera functions available including burst mode and ISO settings. The camcorder records video at a resolution of 320×240 so it’s nothing special.

After you’ve taken a picture you can do basic stuff like email, MMS, or Bluetooth it. With the communities app you can also upload them to Picasa, Facebook, MySpace, PhotoBucket and Flickr.

The Messenger is a WinMo phone so you get the standard Exchange and Hotmail push email support plus IMAP and POP. There is support for threaded SMS.

Browsing is handled by Internet Explorer. While it’s better than nothing I found it to be slow at rendering pages plus it’s very slow at scrolling.

You get Mobile versions of Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Word which are useful for editing and viewing attachments.

Like I mentioned before the Messenger lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack so you’re stuck using micro USB headphones (or using a microUSB to 3.5mm adapter).

Battery life is not terrible, you should get about 1.5 days to 2 days of battery life so it’s best to charge it each night.

I found the Messenger sounded a bit fuzzy. Maximum earpiece volume is good.

I compared the Messenger’s RF performance with a Motorola Milestone. I found that the Milestone was noticably better in areas with weak signal. When I simultaneous placed calls and went somewhere with poor network coverage I found the messenger would blank audio where the Milestone still sounded fine.

In the end if you’re someone who really likes Microsoft Smartphone/Windows Mobile Personal, Maybe you have a HTC Maple/Snap, HTC S620, Motorola Q9h, Samsung Jack, etc and don’t really want to switch platforms give the Samsung Messenger a shot. The bigger screen alone makes it worth the upgrade. That said that that doesn’t describe you then you’re probably better of trying something else.

Howard Chui
05.24.2010

Entry Filed under: Bell Mobility,Phones,Rogers Wireless,Samsung

1 Comment Add your own

    Anonymous  |  January 3rd, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    HI, i have a samsung messenger phone and I like your describtion of it, i think now that i saw this review I understand the phone better. Although if you can answer this question, What is Smart Reader and what is it for?

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