Roundup: 5 Smart Phones for Summer

Samsung Impression

The Impression is a little different from the rest of the devices thanks to its AMOLED display. While the rest use LCD screens, the standard for cell phones, LED displays are more accurate and precise, and AMOLEDs use organic material to make images brighter and richer. AMOLED screens also use less power, but they are harder and more expensive to manufacture. We may soon have many handsets with AMOLED screens, and based on the Impression, it will become an excellent trend. The screen is bright and brilliant.

Interestingly, the Samsung Impression also has the lowest resolution screen, even at 3.2" and 240x400 pixels. In our tests, the screen resolution made little difference. In fact, it may have improved watching video because videos on the Impression, streaming or otherwise, take up more of the screen. The Impression functions both as a touchscreen only and a slider handset, yet it’s the combination of both that makes it a powerful device. It feels good in the hand and has a nice, solid weight, and a strong sliding function.

Under the screen are the talk, back and end buttons, and a small, barely noticeable proximity and light sensor sit to the right of the receiver. The top of the device holds Samsung’s proprietary power/headphone jack, making it the only phone in our roundup without a 3.5 mm audio jack. This means users can only charge the Impression or listen to music on it, but not both simultaneously. 

On the right side is a recessed lock button, which is infuriating to press and almost always requires using a nail to push properly. Below it is the dedicated camera button. On the left is the volume control and a quick-menu button, which brings up six common applications or menus. Finally, the back has a 3 MP camera without flash and a mid-sized speaker. The back slides on and off easily, and beneath the SIM card holder is the microSD slot, which does not require the battery to be removed to access.

The touchscreen Samsung employed for the Impression was much more sensitive than both the Instinct S30 and Nokia’s N97. While it too is a resistive touchscreen, the sensitivity can be adjusted. It too requires a slight push, though the difference between using the Impression’s screen to the iPhone’s is much less significant than the S30 or N97. Web browsing is more difficult because it isn’t as sensitive as a capacitive screen, so the difference is noticeable.

The menu system is similar to the Instinct’s, but the front page is completely customizable. A sidebar allows instant access to applications using widgets, or small icons that launch applications. These widgets can then be placed directly on the home screen and activated, without opening any menus. Alternatively, the bottom (or right side, if placed in landscape) contains instant access to the phone dialer, contact list, and main application menu.

For Web browsing, the Impression can be viewed in both landscape and portrait, and does not require using the physical keyboard. Using the physical keyboard is much more convenient, but the option to use the virtual, on-screen keyboard is available. The Web browser also has the option to load either in full Web pages or in mobile mode, where pages are scaled down for faster load times and easier navigation. While speed tests can be seen on page 8, the Impression did seem to conduct downloads in Edge mode often, instead of 3G, which did prolong downloads and buffering time for streaming media.