Announced just one month after the iPhone's momentous launch, the Samsung SGH-F700 bears a striking resemblance to Apple's phone. Touted by some pundits as the iPhone killer, the F700 has yet to fulfill the expectations since its launch last year.
Without a doubt, the F700 is a looker of a phone. The glossy finish of its exterior manages to conceal the plastic origins of its chassis while you can replace the back cover with a non-glossy version if you can't stand unsightly fingerprint smudges.
The relatively sparse front profile is complemented by side buttons which give quick access to volume and camera functions. The lack of the usual keypad is remedied with an on-screen touch version and a QWERTY keyboard that easily slides out with a whoosh. The USB data connection and earphone jacks are located at the top of the unit, while the microSD expansion slot that supports up to 4GB's worth of data is hidden behind the back cover, which is slightly inconvenient if tolerable. The 3.0-megapixel camera is also located behind, but it lacks a protective lens cover.
Functionality wise, the F700 has it in spades, though it is missing a key function that would have made it the perfect phone, namely, the lack of WLAN support. With free wireless networks located almost everywhere in major cities of the world, the lack of built-in WiFi may come as a deterrent for some users. Alternatively, users may find the EDGE/GPRS connection adequate for their needs while speed addicts will love the F700's HSPDA connection to bits.
Text messaging is a breeze with the QWERTY keyboard, though it does take some getting used to. The touchscreen keypad however, was another story altogether and it's pretty hard to use the good old 'one-thumb' typing style of yore here. You're probably better off using your index finger instead. It may take a while initially but soon enough, you'll be switching between the QWERTY keyboard and the touchscreen keypad like a pro.
Users will love the intuitive and responsive UI. The added haptic feedback feature is also a nice touch by Samsung. While the camera did a decent job, it's nothing to shout about. Music playback was decent and the speakers were clear, though it didn't really handle bass that well. Headphone output however was delightful. Speaking of which, the included headphones are really short in length, so be sure to get your own pair if playing music is top on your list. Video playback was something the F700 excelled at and it natively supports both H264 and MPEG-4 formats.
Despite some physical similarities, Samsung's SGH-F700 is no iPhone clone or killer, but it's nevertheless a phone to be reckoned with. With its stylish looks and user friendly interface, the F700 is a phone that you'll want to be seen with, no doubt to the envy of your less fortunate friends. Due to hit stores in mid April for S$698, the F700 will be available in Singapore first, then around the region, so get your wallets ready.