The Samsung SCH-i730 is among Verizon Wireless’ newest Windows Mobile smartphones to come on the market.Â The i730 is a slider style phone that is black in exterior color.Â The slider, when engaged, displays a full QWERTY keyboard.Â Like the Motorla Q9M, the i730 runs Windows Mobile 6.Â However the Samsung phone runs the full Professional edition, whereas the Q runs a more stripped down SmartPhone edition.
The SCH-i730 includes bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera, touch navigation, a music player, and on-board Wi-Fi capabilities.Â With a 2 year contract, the phone is currently $350 from Verizon Wireless’ website.
Where one would describe the iPhone as sexy, brilliant, even chic; the Samsung SCH-i730 is the polar opposite.Â The clunky and cluttered exterior is tattered and distracting.Â The front of the device is dominated by a large LCD screen with send and end buttons adorning the left and right side of the middle part of the device.Â The number keys are squished and I found them very hard to use.Â The rest of the keypad is made up of awkwardly placed function keys and a directional navigational pad that looks like a minature compact disk.
I found the keys to be very difficult and tedious to use.Â Once you slide out the keyboard, a full keyboard is revealed that is slightly more usable than the main function keyset found on the face of the camera.Â The screen switches (slowly) from portrait to landscape mode when you slide the keyboard out.
As a final note, this device is bulky and heavy.Â It is definitely not made to fit comfortably into a pocket and will not draw the looks of passers by when you want to whip out your smartphone.Â The buttons on the phone are adequately backlit for easy use in dark environments.
While Microsoft made efforts to make Windows Mobile 6 more appeasing to the eye, there is still much to be desired.Â In a market where the iPhone’s user interface dominates in terms of beauty and functionality, Windows Mobile is paltry in comparison.Â Even Symbian OS is a figure of beauty and functionality compared to Windows Mobile 6.
However, I did find text both in the phones menus and inside applications to be very readable, showing the LCD’s display quality.
I found the performance of the i760 review unit to be terrible.Â The response time when pressing keys and navigating menus is slow and annoying.Â The touch screen is not responsive at all as it did not recognize numerous taps with the included stylus. However, the screen was very readable.
The Samsung i760 has poor cell phone reception capabilities.Â I have numerous Verizon cell phones and am fully aware of areas where reception is strong or poor.Â Being in an area where I know I get four bars with every other phone, the i760 continually dropped the signal and was unable to make or receive phone calls.Â It was until I restarted the device that it re-gained connectivity on Verizon’s network.
When I was able to make a call on the i760, the sound was tinny and contained many echos, resulting in my having to ask the other to repeat themselves.
Also, battery life was terrible, even for an EVDO smart phone.Â I was only able to squeeze out 2-3 hours of talk time, compared to 5-6 hours of talk time on other Verizon EVDO smartphones.Â This poor battery life was displayed at a time in which I wasn’t employing the onboard Wi-Fi.
Overall this phone has many drawbacks, too many to justify its high price.Â Even though the touch screen is large and vibrant, its lack of response makes it at times unusable.
As stated above, calls on this phone are full of echos and tinny speech.Â The i760’s cannot retain cell phone reception which makes the use experience immensely frustrating.