Samsung i5700 follow up

25.05.2010 21:39

Here's the follow up post about Samsung i5700 I've bought two weeks ago.

Factory reset solved the random reset problems I complained about last time. But reliability is still way lower than in my previous "dumb" Ericsson phone (when it was in its best years, of course). Every two days or so a box appears on the screen saying "Sorry, but process some.java.class.name stopped responding.". Sometimes this doesn't affect anything apparent, but sometimes this means no more wireless LAN connectivity or GPS until the next reboot.

On a related note I also discovered that the phone will repeatably crash on a specific location in Ljubljana. Perhaps it's because of a particular wireless LAN or a GSM cell. Certainly something that would be interesting to explore in more detail.

To move on to more positive things, I like the messaging feature, automatic threading and conversion to MMS when you attach an image to a short message. Certainly the most sensible application of MMS to mobile messaging I've seen in a phone.

The contact management is nice when it works. I like how they solved the problem of merging equivalent contacts from different databases. Not that it isn't flawless: when I imported my contacts after the factory reset I ended up with each contact in three copies each of which I had to manually unmerge and delete.

Another thing I like is the calendar. It's actually starting to compete with the paper one.

It's easier to type text on the on-screen QWERTY keyboard than using the numeric one. However the phone doesn't support Slovenian characters in a useful way out of the box - you can only type them in if the whole interface is in Slovenian and the horrible translation makes that a pain to use.

The AnySoftkeyboard application provides an usable replacement, but has other issues. I only manage to make the swipe gesture for switching layouts on the second or third try. The failed tries are equal to bashing your head on a laptop keyboard (i.e. insert several random characters), which is a big problem when entering passwords (how many dots do I need to delete now?). Why does the mighty smiley deserve its own button (which replaces the original layout switch button)?

A few words on the touch screen. It's light years ahead of a LG touch-phone I tried before buying i5700, but it can still be annoying as hell. After two weeks of practice I still happen to click on a menu entry or a link on a web page instead of scrolling.

Interestingly, it appears to work much better when there is something conductive on the other side of the phone. For instance a hand or an anti-ESD mat. It's practically unusable when the phone lies on a wooden table and you're dabbing at it with a single finger.

The phone doesn't support the pinch-zoom feature. Instead it has a touch-hold-drag gesture for zooming. However: every zoomable window always has visible zoom buttons, which take precious screen real-estate, making the zoom gesture redundant. Even worse, the gesture makes it impossible to slowly scroll text (say in the web browser) while reading, because it will start zooming instead! It's one of those "features" that compete with Microsoft Office assistants in user irritation.

An finally, the actual phone application. It's surprisingly good, considering how many years it took Ericsson to get it right on their phones. However one thing is unforgivable. It takes ages (OK, like 5 seconds) for the dialing interface to come up. What is it doing? The web browser takes less time to start up!

In retrospect I probably wouldn't buy this phone again. All the thousand little paper cuts just don't overweight the benefits. This is no longer a phone. It's a full-blown computer. And that brings all the issues with software versions, applications, application upgrades and crashes. All of the things I don't want to deal with on yet another device. I would somehow excuse this if I wouldn't need to jump through hoops (i.e. root the phone and risk bricking a phone I'm stuck with for the 2 year contract) to actually do some interesting stuff on it. It's all the problems of the computer with very little of the freedom.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Life

Comments

About slovenian keyboard problems, you could try TipkeSi keyboard with slovenian keys. Application will be available to Android users on www.tipke.si in a few days. If you would like it sooner write email to info@tipke.si.

I copied this post of yours to let other know the experience of this stupid phone..your link has been added to my site. Thanks for letting us all know that samsung is a crap phone build with stupid features...I hate Samsung products.

rooting is easy and usually not a problem. just don't go upgrading the radio sw...

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