Well laid out QWERTY keypad
Superb audio quality
Plays DivX and XviD videos with no issues
Quiet few useful functions
Decent battery life
UI is a bit sluggish
Should have come with more social Networking apps
Fashion fans might find it a delight that Samsung has finally launched a special edition branded handset i.e. the Samsung Giorgio Armani B7620. This is their third handset that comes with the famous fashion house’s branding but the first to actually make it to the Indian sub-continent. Here’s a quick look.
I presumed that the B7620 Armani, considering that previous models and the name it bears as well as the one who designed it Mr. Giorgio Armani himself, would be suave and sleek. That’s half true. It looks suave, sure, but it’s not sleek. In fact it’s quite a large bulky, heavy handset. The bronze-gold trim does add a bit of jazz to the overall look and the Giorgio Armani name above the screen gives it that extra edge. Think of it as a ‘name-drop’. The 3.5-inch AMOLED resistive display is clear but not always finger friendly. There’s no stylus included to help balance it out. The slide out Keypad slips out easily and is very well designed for comfortable prolonged use. I like the way the individual keys are raised just enough to be easy on the fingers. The display portion can also be lifted so that it’s facing you rather than it being just flat and parallel to the keypad. This makes for easier viewing like the Nokia N97.
It has a universal microUSB port on the same side as the camera’s shutter release and the screen lock. The handsfree adapter also bears the bronze-gold trim and is equipped with a 3.5mm socket so if the bundled in-ear earphones aren’t your thing you can use your own. A microSD card slot is located on the other side just above the volume/zoom keys. This will allow you to boost the memory from the existing 8GB of internal storage up to an additional 32GB.
Essentially this Armani is based on Samsung’s B7610 OmniaPRO handset. I have to admit, even with its bulky design form the black and Bronze-Gold trims do give it an elegant and stylish appeal.
Features and Performance
I was quite annoyed to discover that the B7620 was using a Windows Mobile OS, even if was upgraded to v6.5. However, Samsung’s TouchWiz UI complete with drag and drop widgets and multiple desktops is built right on top of it and there’s minimal evidence that this is a Windows mobile handset. Samsung’s 800MHz processor and dedicated graphics accelerator do make the handset’s UI look really good but unfortunately didn’t seem to help with speed.
In portrait mode, the corner options at the bottom of the screen were inaccessible and I found myself sliding open the keypad to switch orientation to access them. In landscape mode the Composer app has a neat little shortcut bar to all the features that allow for typing viz. messaging, email, calendar, Notes etc. Very handy. The UI was quite sluggish and not very finger friendly. I did like the Task Manager feature though that allowed for quite a bit of multitasking. However, in case you’re wondering, even with no background running apps it was still quite slow.
The handset’s audio quality was superb. Samsung’s list of EQ presets from their WOW HD engine to their DNSe enhancements add quite a bit of additional ‘oomph’ to the overall tone output and clarity. The video player reads all popular video formats which include –DivX, XviD, MP4, 3gp, H.263 and H.264. That’s always been my favorite thing about Samsung handsets. Just dragging and dropping videos for instant playback. The radio’s reception was quite good as well. The media managers for the device are very well designed and dare I say it, better than the iPhone’s. Samsung’s also thrown in their video and image editors to play around with. It also supports TV out.
An app called Midomi is preloaded and functions like Sony Ericsson’s TrackID. It records part of a tune, sends it to a server, traces it and send you information on the name, artist etc. This app, however, also allows you to hum or sing a tune.
There are plenty of connectivity options available. The B7620 offers Wi-Fi, 3G with HSDPA (up to 7.2Mbps), EDGE/GPRS, Bluetooth with A2DP and of course USB 2.0. It’s also equipped with Home file sharing via DLNA. Opera Mobile is the default browser and is of course extremely handy and easy to use. The IE Mobile browser is also available. Samsung’s Communities app allows you to connect to a few of the popular image sharing sites like Picasa and Flickr etc. Oddly though this Armani handset comes with a just a Facebook shortcut for the desktop that takes you to the mobile website. It has no dedicated application. There’s no app for Twitter or Orkut either. Even the YouTube option is just a shortcut. There are similar shortcuts to sites like Yahoo! CNN, etc. and Google’s App is also available for Gmail and Google Maps. The handset also has support for POP and IMAP emails.
It is of course a WinMob device underneath so all standard apps like MSN Messenger for mobile, access to the Windows Mobile Market Place and the My Phone backup system are all available. It comes equipped with a GPS module but I couldn’t find any GPS software to use with it. You’ll have to stick to good old Google Maps. It does support GeoTagging of images taken from the on-board camera.
Aside from the usual games like Solitaire and Bubble Breaker, There’s really nothing extraordinary provided with this handset. It’s strictly a WinMob 6.5 device not unlike any other such handset. Samsung’s Mobile Tracker is on board and believe me for the price of this handset you’ll need to keep it activated. Pocket Office allows you to read and create MS documents on the go. One very handy feature was the Smart Reader. It’s not just a simple Business Card reader (that’s very accurate and quite automatic) but you can also copy documents and it even has an English to French (and vice versa) translator. It allows you to take a picture of a document in either language and it translates the text into the other language. It’s not entirely accurate but it’s quite handy for basics.
Like other Samsung handsets this one can also be used as a Digital Photo Frame. It also comes with a Dictionary and a Voice recorder. A Trend Micro Mobile Security client is also preloaded.
The 5 megapixel auto focus shooter loaded onto the back comes with an LED flash and features that include all of Samsung’s standard camera features for their high end handsets. Those include face and smile detection, wide dynamic range, image stabilization and an auto-stitch panorama shot and much much more.
Image quality was really quite good in most conditions. Macro shots didn’t come out so well though. Videos can be recorded in a VGA format (640 x 480 resolution @30fps).
The 1500mAh battery can dish out quite a bit of talk time. It averaged in at just about 5 hours. What does diminish this is the heavy burden of running background apps especially email. On a single charge it’ll give you about two days of usage before the battery completely runs aground.
The Bottom Line
The Giorgio Armani B7620 comes with a hefty price tag of Rs. 40,000. That’s a bit steep even though the handset does have quite a bit to offer in terms of media and functionality. It’s not however designed for the average mobile users that need an everyday phone to use while commuting via train or bus or even cab for that matter. The Armani is designed to cater to the elite class whose handset is more of a status symbol rather than a tool. It’s just that in this case, the Armani B7620 is both. It’s great for both work and play, if you can afford it.