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Saturday, 20 September 2008 01:03
Samsung SGH-x475


Samsung SGH-x475

Overall rating:  Product Rating: 3.0 
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Samsung x475: It's Just So Pretty! (And Sounds Great, Too)
Mar 31 '05 (Updated Apr 20 '05)

Pros
Excellent sound from earpiece; elegant design; beautiful (if not superlative) screen

Cons
Ringer volume can only be adjusted by going into the menu; can't re-label phone numbers

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a basic flip-phone without a camera, the Samsung x475 may be the best phone out there. Looks great, sounds great. Very nice!

While looking for a no-frills phone (i.e., with no camera), I tried a Motorola v180, and found it basically unusable. So my T-Mobile sales rep suggested the brand-new Samsung x475, and I've been very happy with the switch.

* THE FEATURES:

The Samsung x475 doesn't have a camera. It does include WAP browsing, voice memo recording, and instant messaging (AIM and ICQ). It's also World-Class Capable, and comes with a voltage converter. Also included are a charger and a hands-free set which sounds excellent and has a button that lets you answer and hang-up calls.

The Samsung x475 also doesn't have a couple of features that the Motorola v180 had: USB connectivity and Speakerphone.

* THE LOOK:

The Samsung x475 is cute and small, and it's silver with light-blue accents and a good-sized black-and-white LCD exterior display. The phone's general size and shape is identical to the Samsung e315, except that the x475 has no antenna. The inside panel is identical to the Samsung e315 as well. (Except of course, there is no button for the camera.)

The x475's screen looks fantastic - incredible clarity and brilliant colors. I can't say it's the best cell phone screen ever, because higher-end Samsung phones will obviously have screens at least this good or better. But it's a really good-looking screen, and makes the x475 a pleasure to use.

The x475's antenna-less design and its clamshell shape make it feel kind of like a bullet in my hand - it's got a smooth and solid texture. Even its various orifices (the headphone jack and the power-in slot) are covered with a cap which is attached to the phone by a little rubber strip. Granted, some may find it annoying that you have to open a little cap on a regular basis to charge the phone up. But it really adds to the aesthetics. This phone has clean lines. Howard Hughes would have liked it.

The interface and menus are very well laid-out and customizable: you can program the menu views into three different styles (Icons, Bar, Page), and program the shortcut buttons. However, the two "soft keys" which access the Menu and the Phonebook cannot be programmed.

* THE SOUND:

Talking:

The earpiece sounds fantastic. The reason I switched from the Motorola v180 to the Samsung x475 was the bad earpiece on the Motorola v180. In comparison, the Samsung x475 sounds terrific, and the conversations are clear on both sides.

The reception is also excellent. I've used another T-Mobile phone before (Sidekick II) which didn't get the best reception in the world and often dropped calls. I thought that was because the T-Mobile service itself just had spotty coverage. Now that I switched to the x475, I get excellent reception with T-Mobile. I can even continue my conversations in the parking garage, and even in elevators, which I've never been able to do before.

Ringing:

I'm not a huge stickler for a sonorous ring. If it's enough to get my attention and doesn't sound too terrible, that's usually good enough. But the x475 can play Hi-Fi and polyphonic ringtones. The phone comes with a handful of ringtones, and they sound as good as Muzak versions of classical tunes ever could - the harpsichord trills sound quite pretty. And with the volume set at the maximum, it's loud enough to hear when the phone is shoved inside my bag.

One constant quibble with all Samsung phones is the absence of a plain-vanilla "Riiiing!" sound. Yes, Vivaldi is great and Liszt is fabulous, but how about a good old-fashioned telephone ring? (Well, I guess you can always download one.)

* THE CONS:

Ringer Volume Adjust?

The toggle key on the left side of the x475 functions efficiently in almost all the right ways. When the phone is closed, it illuminates the LCD screen (you have to hold it down for a second), and it also silences the ring. When the phone is open, the toggle acts as an alternate up-and-down key while you're in the Menu, and it also adjusts the speaker volume while you're on a call. So far, so good. But ...from the main screen, the toggle key adjusts the "Key Volume." Huh? Who cares about the Key Volume? That's one of those things that you generally program once and don't fiddle with often. How about easy access to adjusting the Ringer Volume, as with many other models? That would have made more sense.

Silent Mode?

The x475 does however feature a one-button shortcut to "Silent Mode" which sets your phone to "Vibrate." This is fine, except ... as anyone who's ever used a cell phone should know, "Vibrate" does not really mean "Silent." Ever set your phone on "Vibrate" and then put it on a desk during, say, an office meeting? Or at the library? You get a call, and then the phone just starts bouncing around and makes quite a racket. Not silent at all.

Other phones I've used had a silent mode where the phone doesn't vibrate, but only lights up when you get a call or a message. And there is a way you can make the x475 do that, but you have to go to another branch on the menu (Alert Type) instead of Ringer Volume. But the problem with this is, you also have to separately silence the Alert Types for Messages, or else your phone will still make a sound when someone leaves you a voice mail. And there are two types of Message Alerts you have to program: Text & Picture, so if you want your phone to be totally silent, you have to turn both alerts off. So you see, it's possible to set your phone to "silent but blinking," but it's not really worth the effort.

However, the alerts are very customizable, so you can program a different sound for the different types of messages you get, and even program different sounds for the messages you get from different caller groups. It's good to have all these options, and they are pretty user-friendly. But I do still wish there was a quick way to simply silence the phone without turning it off.

Phone Book

The other complaint I have is about the Phone Book. While you can store several numbers under one entry, and label each number (Mobile, Work, Home), there is no way for you to change the label on a number unless you re-enter it. Kind of annoying! Sometimes you want to change the label, especially since it you upload your phone numbers from the web, it automatically designates all the numbers as "Mobile." (I think that has something to do with storing numbers on a SIM card. Once, I removed my SIM card from my phone and put it back, and all the numbers I'd stored on my SIM card were re-labeled as "Mobile.")

One other thing about the phone book: if you're using Ringer-ID with the x475, you need to organize your numbers into Groups, instead of assigning a Ringer to each individual listing. It was same way for the d415. I complained about this a little when I reviewed the d415, but I've since come to feel that the Group system is actually more efficient.

* CUTE? OR ... WEIRD?

The phone has some very unique features which I thought were odd. One is the ability to program the sound of the keypad (Voice, Piano, Tone, Beep). For example, when you have it set to "Voice," a lady robot voice speaks the number every time you push the keypad. Weird! Naturally, it makes me wonder: does anyone need this? Well, of course not. But it's pretty neat. It's like ... hey, they thought of everything.

Another cute thing about the x475 is that when you're dialing a number, you see a full-color animation of the phone itself bobbing up and down and it looks like it's ... blowing multi-colored bubbles. Wacky! And when the call connects, the animated phone opens up. Once again, is this a necessity in life? No. But it's just one of those little extras that make this phone a bit more special. You either love it, or you find it annoying.

* THE IMPROVEMENTS:

The Samsung x475 has improved on a few of the quibbles I had with my previous Samsung phone, the Samsung d415 which I'm quite happy about:

~ The button in the center of the 4-way navigation goes straight to T-Zones from the main screen. But it functions as an OK button while you use the menus. Excellent! (On the Samsung d415, the button only worked as a shortcut to T-Zones from the main screen, and didn't do anything while you use the menus.)

~ This phone has Auto Update option for Date/Time. Hurray! (You had to manually set the time on the Samsung d415, which I thought was lame.)

* T-MOBILE IN GENERAL:

I've been a T-Mobile customer for about 6 months now, after having used mostly Sprint (personal use) and some Cingular (work use) for several years. And I've had a pretty good experience with T-Mobile so far. The customer service has been consistently courteous and helpful. Also, T-Mobile plans have the best prices, they have one-year contracts, and a reasonably generous equipment upgrade policy. My only quibble with them in the past was their spotty coverage ... or so I thought. I think the phone I was using (Sidekick II) just had poor phone reception. But since I've switched to the Samsung x475, I've had nothing but excellent reception. So it looks like a problem was with the device, not the network.

The My T-Mobile site (www.tmobile.com) is pretty useful, and includes all the usual stuff, like managing your accounts, checking your minutes and balance, etc. It will give you a detailed usage within 12 hours or less which includes the number, time, and duration of calls. (I find this quite useful, and this was not available on Sprint.) One of the things it lacks is the ability to download a PDF version of your bill, or an option for paper-less billing. As I mentioned above, it also lets you type in your phone book entries which automatically saves them to your phone. There are limitations (they automatically label the number as "Mobile," and saves the number to your SIM instead of your phone), but it was useful to me when I had to transfer my entire phone book.

* CONCLUSION:

I am really enjoying the Samsung x475. I just love using it. The size is convenient, it looks great, and best of all, it sounds excellent. There are a couple of things I would change about this phone (one-step access to true silent mode, easy re-labeling of phone numbers), but other than that, it's just about perfect. If talking is what you do most with your phone (instead of e-mailing or picture-taking), you can't go wrong with the Samsung x475.

Recommended
Yes

Amount Paid (US$): 120
Recommended for: Stylish Trendsetters - Hip and Trendy

 

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