A PDA-phone hybrid with a huge color display and a built-in camera, but no integral keyboard, powered by Miscrosoft's Pocket PC operating system. Samsung's designers made the decision to sacrifice a built-in keyboard in favor of an extra-large touch-sensitive display. It's up to potential users to decide if the trade-off is worth it: can you get used to tapping out messages with a stylus, or training yourself to print so that software can read your writing, or are you too accustomed to the feel of a push-button keypad on your fingertips? One point in the i700's favor is that the graphic-user interface phone pad is life-sized, so at least fingertip dialing is possible. Another point is that an accessory external keypad is available, made of flexible vinyl. If you have a hard surface in front of you, this could be a good solution for inputting text, but will cost extra.
Except for being too wide to feel natural held to your head, the i700 has better mobile phone features than most mobile phones. Calls can be made by suing the unit as a handset, with a headset, or by speakerphone. What really stands out is the i700's voice-dialing feature, which uses software from Voice Signal Technologies, and requires no special "training" to work. The i700 also supports SMS.
Compared to the competition, the i700 is superior in processing power, memory, Web browsing and multimedia. For e-mail retrieval, some business users might be better served by the BlackBerry family, but anyone else will be satisfied. The processor is a 300MHz PXA250 XScale Intel, matched with 64MB of RAM. Users have two data storage options: the on-board 4MB SafeStore Flash ROM, or buying a portable Flash memory stick and plugging it into the SD IO slot. Web browsing and multimedia work smoothly thanks to the i700's combination of hardware and software, although users must note that browsing performance depends as much on their service provider as on the unit. The same rule applies to checking e-mail: while the i700 features full support for Windows e-mail and popular file attachments, including e-mailed photos, users will have to investigate their provider's service plans and coverage areas. In terms of built-in support for e-mail, the i700 is only surpassed by the BlackBerry line, which supports IBM Lotus accounts as well as Windows.
Easily the most striking feature of the i700 is its brilliant 3.5-inch, 65,000-color TFT display. At present, no other PDA-phone hybrid has a screen this large: this is a true PDA as well as a full-featured mobile phone. Users can adjust brightness through five different settings, although in practice, the default (middle) setting is sufficient for all conditions except direct sunlight. In the sun, the i700's display washes out quite badly, more noticeably than some of its competitors.
The i700's built-in 0.3 megapixel camera is one of the unit's best features, and a real design accomplishment. Located at the top left of the handset in a wheel that can rotate to face toward the user or through a 270-degree arc to point out the back of the unit, it is easy to aim and snap pictures with, and comes with a variety of adjustable settings.
Samsung have done a good job with most of the i700's miscellaneous features, and the package as it ships comes with lots of high-quality extras. The unit ships with two batteries: a slimline model and an extended-life version. The headset included is stereo, with separate volume controls for each ear and a number of built-in controls: not only is it highly functional, the sound quality is high enough that you won't need new headphones to use the i700 as an MP3 player (Windows Media Player also comes installed). The SD IO slot will accept Bluetooth cards as well as GPS, Wireless LAN and others. Only one accessory that should have been included is missing: a screen protector, which you will need since most operations use the touch-sensitive screen. Third-party protectors are available, and users are strongly recommended to buy one and protect their investment.
Prices (Where to Buy)
Samsung released the i700 on December 24, 2003.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Samsung i700 user manual here.
Samsung backs up the i700 with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your i700 has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Samsung support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Samsung's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.