Samsung's made a splash of late with more uprange touchscreen phones like the Tocco Ultra Edition and Pixon. In these credit-crunched times, though, sensibly it's been busy, too, at the more cash-sensitive end of the mobile phone spectrum, with models like the S3500.
The Samsung S3500 reworks that stylish slimline sliderphone template that proved so popular with the Ultra mobile series, delivering a handset with a serviceably sharp design.
The features rundown of the S3500 is, of course, more modest than the recent headline-grabbing devices. The S3500 doesn't do 3G or touch-control, but covers the mobile multimedia essentials with a music player, MicroSD card expansion slot, FM radio, and a 2-megapixel camera that also supports video-shooting.
Its functionality may be more solid than pulse-racing, but the S3500 is tidily equipped on the design front. Its silver slider profile allows room for a reasonably sized 2.2-inch screen, a bright and clear 16-million colour QVGA (240x320 pixels) display.
Under this is a conventional set of Samsung control buttonry on a classy smooth brushed metal control panel, and a large central 4-way navigation control pad. An assortment of softkeys offer quick access to a shortcut menu and phonebook functions, plus there are regular call and end buttons. As usual, there is a selection of user-definable shortcuts accessible from the navigation pad.
More out of the ordinary, however, is that one of the shortcuts is designated for Fake Call – press it a couple of times and you can get an incoming call alert you can answer.
You can even chat to a self-made recording, so you can pretend you're taking a call. The idea is that it may get you out of tricky conversations, meetings, embarrassing situations, and so on – though it could be more embarrassing if someone catches you out.
The menu system is regulation Samsung, with a main icon-based grid set-up, and subsequent numbered lists of sub-menu options. Straightforward to operate, with the slider down you can also select options by pressing a number rather than scrolling.
The slider action is well executed – smooth but solid - and the numberpad is sensibly spaced. Curved rows and raised row spacing trim separate the keys enough, and although flush on a single panel, they feel adequately responsive for texting.
At an all in weight of 95g and measuring 100(h) x 48(w) x 13.9(d)mm, it's well balanced too with the slider open or shut, and slim enough to be unobtrusive in your pocket.
There's a reasonable set of features to play with. The music player is familiar Samsung software, organising tracks into regular category types in a presentable user interface that's straightforward to operate via the navigation pad. It can sync with a PC, using the supplied USB cable and Samsung PC Studio CD software, or you can drag and drop into the phone or a memory card.
The phone has around 45MB of user memory, though you can slot in MicroSD card up to 8GB (none is supplied in-box). You can transfer tracks and other files by Bluetooth too.
Bluetooth stereo headphones can be used as an alternative to the in-box earphones, which are an average quality set with handsfree capability. You wouldn't expect a phone like this to have a standard 3.5mm headphone socket, and the S3500 doesn't surprise, with Samsung's multi-connector slot on the side taking care of business for charger, USB and earphones.
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