Samsung is eager to show it can do GSM as well as it does CDMA. The South Korean manufacturer, which is already dominating the young 3G market in the United States, just launched the first Korean-made, EDGE-capable phone—the Samsung P777—and made it available exclusively for Cingular customers.
It’s a solid first effort. I’ve been using the P777 for several weeks, and have been impressed with its versatility and quality. Most impressive is the phone’s 100 megabytes of storage capacity. Despite the tiny footprint—the 777 is the latest in a long line of Samsung slider phones—the phone can store up to an hour of video on-board, or scores of MP3s for use on its built-in MP3 player. Samsung is positioning the P777 as a multimedia phone, and it doesn’t disappoint. The integrated 1.3 megapixel camera, which can zoom in considerably, thanks to the high-quality lens, takes great pictures—on par with Sony Ericsson’s S710, which takes arguably the best pictures of any camera phone available in the US right now. The tri-band GSM phone also offered speedy access on Cingular’s EDGE network—regularly hitting speeds of around 80 Kbps—making it a breeze to download ringtones and surf the web.
The P777 is also a good MP3 player, though you won’t be leaving the iPod at home anytime soon. While the audio player itself is not bad—able to capture the highs and lows of most songs I played—getting music on and off the phone was a pain. The P777 doesn’t have any removable storage, and forces you to connect the phone to a PC via USB. Unfortunately, the included Easy Studio File Manager file-transfer software is buggy, and never seemed to work properly on my Windows 2000-based machine. This was a bit of an annoyance—especially since Samsung positioned the phone as a multimedia phone, able to store and play lost of music.
The only other real problem with the P777 was its lack of Bluetooth. Unfortunately, this seems to be a familiar refrain. While Cingular, unlike Verizon, has been less afraid of Bluetooth—which they don’t want consumers using to offload or circumvent data traffic on their networks—its clear they are forcing phone makers to use Bluetooth\sparingly. The 777, especially, could have benefited from an easy way to transfer files via Bluetooth. Still, at just $299 or less, depending on your contract with Cingular, the P777 is one of the most affordable feature-packed phones available.
Review by Matt Maier, wireless and gizmo correspondent for Business 2.0 magazine. Subscribe to his Weekly Wireless Report.