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The Samsung Widescreen promises a better mobile TV experience with its 2.3-inch widescreen and lightning fast download speeds when connected to Telstra’s Next G network. We take a look at this dual flip phone to find out whether it will change the way people watch shows on their mobile.


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Watching mobile TV or surfing the Internet on your mobile phone can be hard and may be taxing on the eyes, especially if the phone is not designed for it. Samsung’s SGH-A821, better known as the Samsung Widescreen phone, aims to solve that problem with its dual flip design that transforms your screen from portrait to landscape with a simple twist of the screen.

The Samsung Widescreen is a clamshell-type phone that sports a two-tone silver fascia. Up front, users will find a 2 mega pixel camera, a 1.07-inch external display that shows information like battery life, signal strength, and time, and three touch-sensitive music controls (previous, play/pause, next) that is used for the phone’s music player function. The volume adjust button and proprietary port can be found on the left side of the unit, while its camera button and microSD slot can be found on the right side.

Opening the phone reveals a 2.3-inch widescreen display, a front-mounted camera for 3G calls, dual stereo speakers (placed on top and below the screen), and a unique keypad that can serve as a number pad or a full QWERTY keyboard.

 


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Performance:

Like the SGH-A11 that we have reviewed, users can access their Phonebook, Call Logs, Messages, Calendar, Files, Unit Settings, Music Player, Browser, Camera, Alarm, and Applications (Voice recorder, Memo, Task, Converter, Timer, Stopwatch, World clock, and PocketNews) by pressing the OK button.

Users can also access various BigPond services (like BigPond TV, News and Finance, Weather, and e-mail) or access the Mobile Foxtel service by pressing the BigPond or Foxtel hotkey in the front menu.

The A811 also has a Document Viewer software, Bluetooth connectivity, and e-mail functions (POP3) for office productivity on the go, as well as a music player that supports MP3, AAC, and MWA formats in case a user gets bored.

The Samsung SGH-A821 also has two cameras (external and internal) that can take photos (up to 1600 x 1200 for external; 640 x 480 for internal) or shoot videos (both sensors handling up to 176 x 144) whenever the need arises. Finally, users will not have a problem storing all of the photos and videos taken as the unit can store a number of photos and videos with its memory card.

The Samsung Widescreen can be used like a regular clamshell phone when it is flipped open. The number keys are colour-coded (silver), which may help users when they press the buttons. In this mode, everything will be displayed in portrait, and it is only until flipping the unit to its widescreen/landscape mode that will make mobile TV viewing and Internet surfing more enjoyable.

 


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The large 2.3-inch display and QWERTY keyboard made it easier for us to compose text messages and e-mails, surf the Internet, and watch various Foxtel shows. The landscape mode displayed shows from channels like Sky News Business and CNN in full screen, with the unit’s speakers providing loud and clear audio, resulting to a pleasant mobile TV viewing experience. A user can also use the Foxtel TV Guide to record programs to your Foxtel iQ direct from the mobile phone, giving you the chance to record your favourite show / sporting event at the last minute.

The SGH-A821 was also able to load various websites, shows from Telstra’s Mobile Foxtel service, and even YouTube videos to the phone in a matter of seconds, thanks to its 7.2Mbps connection via Telstra’s Next G Network.

The Samsung Widescreen will give users a talk time of up to 180 minutes or a standby time of up to 250 hours (roughly 10.5 days). However, battery life will be significantly shorter if a user watches Foxtel shows all the time. We therefore recommend users to bring their chargers along with them in case their batteries run flat in the middle of the day.

 

Conclusion:

The Samsung Widescreen will give you a unique mobile TV viewing experience with its 2.3-inch widescreen display, fast download speed, and mobile Foxtel service. Its QWERTY keypad makes text and e-mail input faster, while its ‘normal’ flip mode allows for normal phone usage. If you want to watch telly during your commute or just surf the Internet at fast speeds, then the Samsung Widescreen SGH-A821 is a phone well-worth considering.

Specifications:

Network:
– Tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900, 1800, 1900MHz
– UMTS/ HSDPA 850MHz

Internal Screen: Widescreen 2.3″ 262K QVGA display (320 x 240 pixel resolution)
External Screen: 1.07″ 65K STN display (96 x 96 pixel resolution)

Dimensions (L x Wx H): 102.5 x 53 x 17.5mm
Weight: 115g

Internal Memory: 25MB
External Memory: MicroSD Memory Slot

Multi-media:
– 2 Megapixel Camera
– Video record and Video telephony
– Stereo MP3 Player (MP3 / AAC / AAC+)
– Telstra BigPond music player
– Dual stereo speakers

Standard Battery: 1000mAh Li-Ion
Talk Time (Max):
– 3G: Up to 180 mins
– 2G: Up to 210 mins
Standby Time: Up to 250 hrs

Connectivity:
– Bluetooth 2.0 (A2DP, AVRCP, BPP)
– USB 2.0

Other:
– uTrack / Black GUI
– Flight/Offline mode
– Speakerphone
– QWERTY keyboard
– Document Viewer
– Samsung SOS message

Retail Pack:
– Handset
– Standard Battery
– Travel Adapter
– Headset
– Data Cable
– PC Link CD
– User Manual
– 3.5mm Headphone Adapter

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Samsung Widescreen (SGH-A821) | $899 |  | www.samsung.com.au

For: Widescreen mode; QWERTY keypad; Loud speakers; HSDPA connection resulting to fast Internet downloads and video streaming
Against: The QWERTY keypad and the number pad may be small for some; Expect battery life to be short when watching mobile TV
Verdict: A widescreen phone that is perfect for mobile TV viewing so long as you bring your charger to avoid a dead set.

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