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Samsung MM-A800 Surprises (And Disappoints)

Multimedia, Web, Screen Savers, Ringers, Games, Messaging And Picture Mail

If you decide to pay for My Picture Mail, consider going all the way by spending $25 a month for the Multimedia Pack. It includes My Picture Mail, the Web, which I had assumed was just a great part of the phone until digging into the price menus, plus unlimited e-mail and instant messages from America Online and Yahoo, and unlimited Sprint TV - audio and video clips from the likes of Discovery Channel, FOX Sports, and The Weather Channel and NBC. There weren't a lot of games yet. Premium TV and games are charged separately, and Voice Command, remember that costs $5 a month, is not included.

There's a lot of room on the MM-A800's display, but visual multimedia content such as movie trailers play out in a space about the size of the "star" 3-cent postage stamp. They're enjoyable, but tiny. The shrink factor becomes most noticeable on screens with a lot of text. The phone's headset jack comes in handy for video sound tracks and music channels.

The Sprint manual claims up to four hours of continuous digital talk time for the Lithium Ion battery. I tested the battery with a TV talking into the Samsung in the living room, and my office phone listening on speaker. A TV in the office had the same channel on, with no sound, as I worked on some laptops in the office. When the "sound" in the office failed, I immediately checked the phone in the living room. The Samsung said the battery was low and was shutting down. Times: 7:14 PM to 10:41 PM - less than three and a half hours.

Conclusions

The Samsung MM-A800 is stuffed with features - more so if you shell out an extra $25 to $30 a month over your service contract. Being able to jump on the Web from a phone is nice. The phone isn't equipped with Bluetooth, doesn't have speakerphone and lacks the international CDMS/GSM duality of the Motorola A840 camera phone on which I recently reviewed the game Shadowgate Classic