Samsung sure seemed to have wowed one and all (counting us) with its recent Corby mobile phone series. It now looks like the company has one more product portfolio that it can scream about, its Metro line-up. Off late, the company released the Metro 3G while earlier the S5200 and S3500 phones were among the Metro handsets to be released. We’ve scanned through the S5200 which appeared to be more chic and stylish as compared to the S3500. Hop on for a comprehensive review of the phone.
Announced in India around mid-January this year, the Samsung Metro S5200 handset literally came strolling into our environs. We got no box and simply received the phone with a charger in tow. While we’re not really complaining, we would have appreciated being supplemented by the USB cable and headset. One look at the phone in its neat black and red chassis however compelled us to put aside our grouse. Surprisingly, the phone fits really well in the palm and is super light. In fact we were quite amazed at how light the phone was. It bears a glossy plastic chassis in black accented by a reddish-maroon colored keypad and the combination is an instant hit. The red jaw on the front face of the phone when the slider is closed adds to its stylish appearance. The phone is also available in a blue and black combination.
The compact Metro S5200 with the Samsung logo below the decently sized screen reveals four buttons surrounding the central circular navigation pad. The navigation button has a circular ring in red with ‘OK’ inked in large letters. Sliding the phone down reveals a simple alpha-numeric keypad. The left edge of the panel includes a microSD card slot and a volume adjust button. The right edge reveals the USB/earphone port with a dedicated camera key painted bright red right next to it. The phone’s back panel is brushed in a red and black gradient. We simply loved the feel of the phone in the hand and it not just sits comfortably in the palm but also snuggles in the pocket with ease.
We took the next most obvious step of inserting the SIM. Switching the phone on allowed us to choose the language much like other phones. What’s different is the ‘Welcome to the Profile wizard’ message that pops up immediately. We hit continue and were taken to a ‘Select Theme’ option that includes Translucent Glow, Fireworks and Sensory themes for displaying the menu interface. Next, we were taken straight to the Time Zone function that let us set the time and date. We could then select our profile to be among the Normal, Silent, Driving, Meeting, Outdoor and Offline. Next, we could also set a greeting message more like a welcome message on other phones. Weirdly after completion of the process, the phone gave out a message that told us our SIM profile was not found. Ticking the ‘Remain stored profile’ instead of ‘Delete all’ however took us straight to the main screen.
The main menu interface is uncluttered with aptly spaced and large icons for each function. We noticed it took quite some time to highlight between functions even if we were just hovering over them. We can’t really claim messaging through the keypad to be a breeze with the flat keys incorporated. Though tangible we didn’t really find it comfortable for typing and it was just above average. However you can opt to keep the keypad backlighting on/off to save battery power. The messaging function however bundles in a host of interesting attributes normally found in a high-end device which is quite nice. In fact the advanced option lets you customize your emails and messages completely. Input languages supported by the phone include English, Deutsch, French, Italian and Netherlands. We found the multimedia message template to bundle quite an array of different text messages which were actually quite a move away from the standard templates. Some of these were ‘Funky’, ‘Happy Birthday’, ‘I Love You’ and ‘Enjoy’.
Contents in the phone including images, videos, sounds, music and others are all saved in the My Files folder. Data can be viewed by list or thumbnails while it can also be sorted by date, type, name and size with the List by function. For images the Bluetooth visibility of a particular or even all images can be enabled. There are handy functions to copy or move contents to any other desired location in the phone. Next we hopped on to the Music function and found the audio quality through loudspeaker to be pretty nifty. Music files can be played either through the phone or by pairing up the phone with a Bluetooth-enabled single or dual headset. Among the music settings, you can tweak the Repeat mode, Background playing, Sound effects, Skin type or choose to keep the shuffle on/off. Music is sorted on the basis of Albums, Artists and Genres while you can even create your own playlists. Enabled for Podcasts, the phone handles audio quite well.
Much unlike other phones that have a separate folder for media files, images are bare on this handset. An Images folder in the menu lets you play around with Image files where they can be viewed in full screen, zoomed, rotated and set as caller image or wallpaper. You can even view the images in a slideshow. The homescreen can be personalized as per your fancy and you can set a desired wallpaper, choose the calendar display or the type of clock with the Images option. Should you opt for the Use Theme attribute, the calendar display is off by default while the default wallpaper is Fireworks. You can also choose to alter the text display, the dialing display and so on.
In the Menu transition effect, we took an instant liking to the Door effect. The feature gives a closed door feeling when you return back from the functions and an open door appearance when functions are dived into. There’s also a traditional Slide effect while the feature can also be turned off. The phone also presents an option of maximizing the LCD brightness. Languages supported by the phone include Dutch, English, Italian, French, Spanish, Irish, Turkish, Portuguese, Netherlands and Automatic. You can assign shortcuts to the circular navigation pad or make the most of its slide form factor by set the Up slide to Accept Call or None. There’s also a word suggestion feature while the Organiser throws in the regular functions of Calendar, Memo, Task, World Clock, Calculator and Converter.
The Applications feature was loaded with a plethora of enthusing attributes as well. We first laid our hands on the Image Editor that lets you put in an effect to captured pictures. Options proffered include Filter, Style, Warp and Partial blur. The Auto level, Brightness, Contrast and Colour of the image can also be adjusted. The Transform feature will let you Resize, Rotate or Flip an image. Choosing the Crop function will let you chop off undesired parts of the image while images can also be embellished with Frame, Image, Clip Art, Emoticon and Text. When in the Image Editor, its funny how the phone takes you straight to the applications menu when you go back after loading the image. So you’d have to go through all the functions again as in reload the image and all if you hit back for a particular feature. The video editor was fun and we could import or export a maximum of 4 videos or themes. The latter function though took quite some time to process, the final results after editing the videos were rather amusing and we thoroughly enjoyed combining different videos.
Next, the Games and more attribute revealed a wide array of games that we couldn’t wait to span through. We started with Cannonball that let us bounce a ball between two skateboards for points. Tetris Mania from EA was incorporated as a free trial game and the locked version only let us play Cascades. To enjoy Sticky and Fusion, you’d have to buy the game which really did not stand in our wish list. Interestingly, a blueprint of whether the approaching cascade would fit in the line is an enhancement from the conventional game. Gameloft’s Midnight Pool was also bundled in as a free trial game and right when we were in the middle of enjoying the combo shot we scored, the game asked us if we’d like to purchase it. We hope it heard us say ‘No!’ Diamond Twister is the next game which again was a free trial version and by now we literally wanted to pull our hair out. Brain Challenge Vol 2, Millionaire, SuperActionHero and BrickBreakerRevolution are the other games offered as trial versions. Boling down to it, there’s actually then just one game that can be played in completion without having to purchase it. Putting in games that are mere trial versions of the original doesn’t really serve the purpose of having them in the first place. We fail to comprehend why manufacturers do this.
The included Voice Recorder function works well and delivered good results. The Samsung Metro S5200 phone’s 3.2 megapixel camera comes complete with single LED flash and includes Autofocus. Images are snapped in decent quality though they might appear to be a wee bit too exposed to photography lovers. As for the video recording, it’s spruced up in QVGA resolution and shouldn’t disappoint you when capturing the moment is essential. There’s FM Radio in the phone too, though we couldn’t try our hands at it due to lack of headphones. Around 50MB of internal memory and a 1GB memory card should suffice you basic storage needs. For more, you can always depend on the microSD memory card slot that’s expandable up to 8GB. Embedded with a Google tool that includes shortcuts to Google Search and Google Mail, the incorporated WAP Web browser is plain and simple, might we add boring too. The browser lets you mark Bookmarks, keep a tab on the history of the sites visited and more. Its settings further let you handle cache and cookies effortlessly.
The form factor of the phone definitely did it for us. We were astonished at how comfortably the phone fits in the hand. Add to it, the stylish appearance and you should be ready to show off the phone as a crowd-pleaser.
Battery was more than satisfactory as we enjoyed just about two days of power on a moderate usage.
The feature-rich handset is affordable indeed and the price tag attached should work in its favor.
A 3.2 megapixel camera incorporated in a phone that’s not overtly priced sure ups the quotient. We hope competitors are all ears.
The Games and more is one quarter that truly disappointed us. Why add trial versions of games that are not really desirable enough? Just adding about two or three games in completion would have done fine instead.
With the kind of advancements the Web is making, Samsung could have certainly added more than just the plain WAP browser.
The slide is not smooth and needs more than a gentle push to open up the phone.
Samsung could have used the hidden keypad area to offer a little larger screen. That’s just an afterthought, though on the whole the Samsung Metro S5200 with its neat build and intuitive interface makes for a good investment. Particularly its Rs. 6,500 should accommodate most budgets and eggs on us to give it a thumbs-up. If you overlook the not so good browser, it’s definitely one of the best sliders we’ve seen from Samsung. We ratify the phone at around 9 out of 10 for simply giving us practically everything we’d have desired in a phone under Rs. 7,000.