Samsung i200 Review
Available: SIM free from Clove
Reviewer: Shaun McGill
In The Box
Samsung i200, Battery, Mains charger, User guide, Software CD
The box is sparse, but comes with everything you need to get started. Surprisingly the words “My very first smartphone” are emblazoned on the front and this is sure to put off hardened smartphone users straight away. The point of the i200 is not to attract long term smartphone users though, but to attract new people to the market.
The contents are good enough quality and roughly equivalent to what you would get with a Samsung feature phone- as usual the proprietary connector is used for power, synchronising and audio which is a bit of a pain, but there are adaptors available to get you around the audio part.
While I was doing my unboxing video I discovered some positive points immediately. The build quality is very high indeed and it feels as though the i200 could survive more than a few knocks. It is not the smallest smartphone in the world and could be described as a slab of black plastic with the keys and screen in perfect proportion to the overall dimensions. The design is modern and quite plain, but does not give away the low price tag afforded to the i200. Let’s take a look at the hardware first.
The front keyboard is one of the best I have ever seen and the buttons feel natural on the very first use, and get even better over time. The navigation key looks great as well and the standard call / end keys and shortcut buttons also work as well as the numeric keypad. On the right there is a shortcut key (preset to camera) and on the left the volume keys which are halfway up the phone. The on / off button on the top is fairly standard and works well enough to round off what is a well proportioned and perfectly situated set of buttons on the i200.
The screen is QVGA and at 2.3” is just large enough to deal with PIM management and web browsing. Landscape screens tend to work better when they are this size, but I would class the i200 as being too small. It works well in almost all conditions and I had no problems using outdoors in bright sunlight.
Performance is fairly snappy and I found that even with multiple applications open things chugged along quite nicely. Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard is the default operating system and this is of course quite efficient, even with lower speed processors.
You will have to search around a lot to find the actual specifications and they appear to be low at first look. Samsung quotes 20MB of user memory available and there is also support for microSD up to 8GB. The processor speed is even more difficult to find- I am sure that if I looked around long enough I could find it, but there is obviously an attempt to just offer the features that the consumer would like rather than detailed specifications that smartphone users tend to judge a device by.
I have been quite happy with the i200, but would not be looking to install lots of third party applications because this could have a significant effect on performance. If you keep this device clean you should get the performance you need.
Samsung does not have a great history with batteries, at least in my experience. Here we have a battery which is quoted at offering 7 hours talk time and 300 hours standby. At this time I am not in a position to offer a voice in this area, but it seems to struggle a little under heavy 3G use. Having said that, don’t all smartphones?
Well, it is a nice to have but will not set the world alight. It is only rated at 2MP and has a 2 x digital zoom. In reality it is good for quick snaps, but not a lot else. The video camera is not great either, but this is a smartphone after all and at this price I can forgive that.
3G is included alongside Bluetooth 2.0 and that’s about it. There are no real omissions here and download speeds are impressive. Expecting Wi-Fi and GPS here would be a bit of a stretch.
Samsung has added quite a few applications to the i200 package and many of these are very useful. Examples include World Clock, D-Day, Smart Converter, Smart Search, StopWatch and the list goes on. There is nothing ground breaking included, but it is all good quality and well worth having.
Operating System – Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard
Display – 2.3" TFT (240x320)
GSM Bands – GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, HSDPA 2100
Connectivity – Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP USB 2.0
Expansion – microSD
Camera – 2 Megapixel, Secondary VGA Camera
Battery – Lithium-ion , removable
Dimensions – 50.8 x 116.7 x 11.8 millimetres
Weight - 103.5g
The i200 is never going to be the ideal device for anyone approaching ‘power user’ status, but it is more than capable of holding it’s own against the big boys. It does exactly what it says it should and with adequate speed. The more I use it, the more I like it and it has quickly become one of the most likeable devices I have used this year. For the price it is an absolute steal and well worth owning as a main device or secondly as a back up unit.
Build Quality- 9
Ease of use- 7
Screen clarity- 8
Value for money- 9
Total score- 91%