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Been there, heard that? Not with the S300

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It is so easy to use superlatives when describing most of the new multimedia mobile phones pouring into the market nowadays, it has become a pointless exercise deciding which is best. Ultimately, it comes down to how much appeal a phone has for a particular user. With the Samsung S300, there is no shortage. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK reviews a real head-turner.

Not quite. Since date and time are prominently displayed on the external screen, you would feel compelled to set it up at the start. Finding the right menu option casts an immediate pall over the multicoloured proceedings ‚ it should be a default option at the start.

Samsung users and those used to toggling between brands won’t have a problem, but the majority of SA users, who reside in the comfort zone of the Nokia menu system, will find the arbitrary menu maddening. Most users will find the predictive text equally frustrating ‚ it’s hard to predict just what you have to do to get it to function in a standard way.

To start with, the colour quality is deeply satisfying. I found myself at times switching the phone on and off purely to show off that gorgeous multicoloured, animated butterfly wallpaper arrive and depart. It gets users of rival phones demanding things like ‚Give me graphics or give me Samsung‚ . Deep in the night, however, the graphics are forgotten as the green signal light insists on flashing its presence brightly in the darkness (which could explain shortage of battery life). That makes it the only phone you have to hide away just to catch some sleep. Voice tags and dialling, on the other hand, seems to be cunningly hidden away without human intervention. The ring tones, powered by those 40 polyphonics, are, well, music to the ears. The default, a kind of ‚beam-me-up-Scotty‚ sci-fi tone, halted all conversation in my vicinity every time the phone rang. Oh yes, it’s perfectly adequate for voice conversations.

Here Samsung have done their homework, and then some. It’s not so much the individual features as the combination of features that make this one of the most powerful packages on the mobile market. The dual screen system, the voice polyphonic ring tones, downloadable Java games, receiving MMS, GPRS for fast data access and downloads, personal organiser, an updated version of WAP for text browsing and selecting downloads, tri-band reception, vibration alert, and much more add up to one of those ‚gimme‚ gadgets that the technophile cannot resist. The absence of a camera is a blessing in disguise (yeah I know it’s in fashion, but the quality and the utility is generally pure hype), but the inability to send MMS is puzzling.

You may think twice about getting this phone ‚free‚ on a 24-month airtime contract only for the sake of showing it off. If you’re not a heavyweight messager, think once more ‚ it’s definitely a phone that could make you feel third time lucky.

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