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New phone does everything except the dishes

Category: Hardware Published on Wednesday, 18 March 2009

The Samsung M500: A Little Giant

Michael L. Berman's Blog
May 8, 2007

It's faster than a speeding Web browser.

It can leap from playing your favorite tunes to checking the latest news stories in a single bound.

It's a camera. It's a multimedia player. No! It's superphone!

Weighing in at less than three ounces, the new Samsung SPH-M500 digital phone (from one cent to $325, depending on how you purchase it) replaces tons of geek toys in a sleek, small package and performs every task better than the average multimedia device.

This is actually a beefed up version of the Samsung SGH-T619 phone that Samsung built for the T-Mobile network, offering a couple of new features not found on the older model.

The M500 is being marketed exclusively for Sprint subscribers, which means it can take advantage of the network's fast EVDO service, which is able to deliver music, videos and other online services faster than other networks. Also the clarity of calls seems to be a bit better than other phones I've tested.

Its newer features include a slot for a mini-SD memory card, where you can save any of the music, photos or other files you've downloaded via the Internet, a beefed up phonebook that allows for more data but fewer names (500 entries instead of 1,000, but you can enter more details about each contact), a 1.3 megapixel camera/camcorder that offers tons of new features - - - white balance, color backgrounds and several presets - - - (but only four resolutions instead of six), decent (but sometimes pixelated) video and adequate sound quality for your favorite tunes, provided you use earphones instead of the built-in speaker, which isn't adequate to reproduce the tinny sounds of grandma's old Gramaphone records.

Although some folks have found the phone's keypad to be "flat and slippery," I had no problem with it and found it extremely easy to access all of its features using its navigation buttons. The display is a lot brighter than most of the smaller phones I've seen and everything, including the keypad, can be easilly used with only one hand.

The only BIG complaint is that the cover for the mini-SD memory slot wouldn't stay shut when I had a card inserted in it. But, weighed against all of its features, that's a minor inconvenience.

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