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.

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  • SlyMaelstrom
    Where's the HTC Touch Pro 2? It's superior to all of these phones and will be available on all major US carriers by the end of September. It's already out on T-Mobile.
  • jamezrp
    HTC Touch Pro 2? Keep your eyes peeled on this site...
  • jamezrp
    HTC Touch Pro 2? Keep your eyes peeled on this site...
  • georgeb45
    HTC Touch Diamond 2 rulez them all. HTC Touch Pro 2 is the most advanced smartphone but is too large. Diamond 2 has the perfect size and works great. I'm using it for 3 months now and i'm very satisfied with it.
  • nerdherd
    This is a strange review...comparing a Palm Pre to a Samsung Instinct? Why don't we compare apples to apples, like mentioned above where are some HTC phones like the Diamond 2 and the Touch Pro 2? Not to mention some kind of Android or Symbian based phone...
  • Where's the G1? By far the best phone out... Better than all the phones reviewed in this. I would've liked to see it compare against these phones...
  • moullas
    "There are currently three major players in the touchscreen operating system business for cell phones: Apple with the iPhone OS, Google with Android, and Palm with webOS."

    ?? Is this supposed to be an unbiased review? Forgetting Windows Mobile with the largest userbase seems a bit suspicious
  • Noobster15
    Why wouldnt a Iphone be considered a Smart phone?
    It could own all of those Phones
  • Boxa786
    your name says it all, iphone is not classed as a smart phone when compared to true smartphones due to its crippling features, such as;
    No MMS
    No Video recording

    the latest iphone 3gs has many improvements over its predessors, but it still lacks some features compared to the rest.

    Although all these phones mentioned are great, there are other handsets available which should have been included in this review, such as the latest HTC and not forgetting the world number 1 for business users, RIM handsets!
  • kyeana
    If im not mistaken, the pre's app are done entirely in html/javascript, meaning that if they open the app store up to everyone, we should see apps flowing into it in no time.
  • kyeana
    Also im not sure if this has been addressed yet, but the pre did have a bug in is messaging app that caused the battery to drain faster then it should. Perhaps that could account for some of the battery life issues (but of course not all of it, i still would have loved to see a bigger battery in there)
  • Tomsguiderachel
    nerdherdThis is a strange review...comparing a Palm Pre to a Samsung Instinct? Why don't we compare apples to apples, like mentioned above where are some HTC phones like the Diamond 2 and the Touch Pro 2? Not to mention some kind of Android or Symbian based phone...

    There is a Symbian unit in this roundup.
  • Tomsguiderachel
    Thanks to everyone who commented on this article. Here's some insight into our editorial process: we can only include articles for which we have review units in any given roundup. We did not have the HTC Touch Pro 2 when this roundup came out, but we had those 5 phones so we reviewed those. But now, we finally have the HTC Touch Pro 2, so check out: http://www.tomsguide.com/us/Toshiba-TG01-HTC-TouchPro2,review-1386.html

    Please keep this in mind when you make comments about missing products in roundups. Not every product is available to every review at every moment in time. We do try our best!