Further points from a user
I've been lucky enough to have one of these phones since mid December and have had a little time to get to know the phone now. In the main I agree with the review points, but can maybe make a few more for those considering purchasing one (or upgrading for free as I did on my Vodafone contract).
My desktop OS is Ubuntu, and as such, sync has proved impossible. My PIM is Egroupware, so I can at least use the web browser to get my diary up and thats acceptable when I'm in 3G coverage, but not being able to sync my contacts is a huge disappointment. Samsung insist on shipping their PC Studio software, which is from my previous experience on W2k, a painful app.
There is an option hidden in the phone's menus to sync with an http server, but after much emailing between Samsung and myself they have still not released the specs on the http sync spec, so I can't write a patch to sync over 3G with EGW. This is a major knock against the phone for a Linux Fan Boy. I'm not up to speed on the iPhone, but if that can be passably sync'd with Lin apps then maybe I should have switched phone network and gone for one of those.
Video has been a real ache to get working. As previously mentioned, I can't get PC Studio working on Ubuntu so getting video in the right flavor was a real nightmare. It is possible to completely crash the phone if you feed it the tiniest bit of wrong video so many hours were spent getting this right. I tried using the phone to record video, and then playing that back in Mplayer to get the format information, but the camera records in such a low res the video I ported to this format was unacceptable. I finally got video acceptable on the phone with this Mencoder command :
mencoder "infile.avi" -vf scale=440:240 -oac faac -faacopts mpeg=4:raw:br=128 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg4:vbitrate=1200:mbd=2:cmp=2:subcmp=2:trell=yes:v4mv=yes:aic=2:vglobal=1:aglobal=1 -ffourcc mp4v -of lavf -lavfopts format=mp4:i_certify_that_my_video_stream_does_not_use_b_frames -o "outfile.mp4"
This makes for decent video and I have shoved a new Torchwood onto a card and watched it on the phone without any probs.
The earphones are named as Bose manufactured, and that sold me initially. Bose and Wharfdale are my favorite manufacturers of audio kit, so thats one reason I brought the phone. I agree that the phone lacks post processing for playback, but to be honest, if a file is encoded half decently, the sound quality is good. There is a rich bass, and treble that is not tinny enough to grate teeth. The genius inclusion of the 3.5 jack however allows any other set of headphones to work. I've found the phone quite happy driving a set of over-ear Altec Lansing cans without any problems. However I'd look a bit silly going out wearing those, so the Bose in-ear buds are good enough.
The phone also works very well with Asterisk's Chan_Mobile driver, so when I'm home and have the phone on charge all calls are ported into my home Asterisk system without any problems. Audio quality is good, however I only use this bridge for incoming call routing so can't comment on outgoing solutions. What is slightly annoying however is that as soon as you plug in USB to copy on any video/music, the phone kills it's Bluetooth access. So this leaves me having to remove the MicroSD card, plug that into it's adapter, and then plug that into the PC to copy stuff about. Why I can't leave the phone always on USB as a Storage Device, and still have Bluetooth up and running is anyone's guess. Also, as the review mentioned, the messing about removing the back of the phone to access the SD card is another fiddle. A very little fiddle, but a 'messy' solution in my mind.
Otherwise a good enough phone. Not a phone I'd immediately recommend to people, it has good points and bad points (like any device). The Document reader is terrible, so I have taken to dumping documents into html and using the browser to read them, which makes life a little more bearable. Would I buy one knowing what I know now though? No.