* Prices may differ from that shown
The Look & Feel of it: Firstly, this phone is very sleek looking. It comes in two colours - silver and blue For a phone that is about 4cm Nokia, this has a relatively large screen to it, with a full 128 x 64 pixels In the middle are the scroll keys, to either side of the scroll-up button are selection keys (used to select options on the screen). Below the scroll-down key is the clear and WAP key. To the left of that key is the talk key, and to the right is the on/off and end talk key. Below all these is the usual dial key-pad. Pretty straight forward looking, isn't it. The Sound of it: it uses the older technology of monophonic ring tones, so there's nothing particularly exciting about how this phone will sound when you get a call. What's more, the tones that the phone come with are pretty lame - I mean, their "Big Ben" type tone is a sad four notes only. And then there are only 20 to chose from. Then they further confuse you by not giving the tones names, but rather just numbers, so you have to go through the whole list just to figure out which of the tones you want to use. Of course,you can download new ring tones However, the phone only gives you three slots for saving the new, downloaded ring tones.
When we finally decided that our old car was costing us too much to keep up, and had the funds to purchase a newer second-hand car, we also lost our hands-free for my old Nokia 5110 phone. This meant that I could finally upgrade my phone, so off to the Orange store we went in search of something snazzy and modern. I was actually looking for another Nokia - in particular the 3310 which is what my husband had. Unfortunately, they were only selling that one for use with pre-paid cards, so that was out of the question. The other Nokias were either just too ugly for words, too expensive, or didn't have a car hands-free available to go with them. Sad, that, really. So, with Nokia now no longer an option, I had to took a look at other companies. Knowing that I was going to have to put out for a new hands-free for my car, I didn't want to put out too much money for the phone. First they tried to sell me a Motorola phone, but after a very bad experience with my son's T250, I decided not to even consider it. The Sendo's are just boring, so I had no choice but to go for a Samsung. What I came out with was the Samsung SGH-R210/220 (known here as model 514, for some strange reason, though I can't think why, because it clearly says SGH-R210/220 underneath the battery. By the way, the R220 is sliver and the R210 is blue like the one in the picture here) the same kind I had purchased several months ago for my younger kids. Now that I've gotten used to this phone myself, and having had one in the house for quite some time, I think I can now tell you all about this particular phone. And as for starting, as with most phones you need to charge this up for about 16 hours to begin with. After that, I've found if I let it run down until it starts crying at me (which is, apparently, recommended for the first three times - as it increases the battery life), it seems to continue to work for about 3 days, with only the last day showing any reduction in charge on the screen - that's not bad, considering that my Nokia usually didn't make it past 2 without dying on me. UPDATE - when I was abroad, and took this phone with me. I left early in the morning on Monday, meaning the last time the phone was charged was when it was in my car on Sunday afternoon. I didn't use the phone for much besides getting SMS messages, looking up numbers (I was given a local cell phone for my stay) and using it as an alarm clock. Throughout the trip the battery monitor showed it as being full until close to my flight home on Thursday, when it showed one bar less power - and I never bothered to turn the phone off except for when I was on the plane to and from my destination (each of the two flights were less than 3 hours long). Only this morning (Friday at 10:30am) did this phone finally begin to cry at me that it needed being charged. That means that actual standby (with very little use) for this phone is a minimum of 5 days! I'm sure if I was making calls, I'd have had less battery time, but I still think this is pretty damned good! Firstly, this phone is very sleek looking. It comes in two colours - silver and blue (the blue one is pictured here above). Since my kids have the blue one, I got the silver one, so we wouldn't get confused. For a phone that is about 4cm shorter than my old Nokia, this has a relatively large screen to it, with a full 128 x 64 pixels - in fact, it seems larger than my old Nokia's screen, but is actually almost the exact same size. Of course, this means that something has to be smaller to compensate, and in this case, it's the keys that are smaller. As you can see from the picture, just below the screen are a set of seven keys. In the middle are the scroll keys, to either side of the scroll-up button are selection keys (used to select options on the screen). Below the scroll-down key is the clear and WAP key. To the left of that key is the talk key, and to the right is the on/off and end talk key. Below all these is the usual dial key-pad. Pretty straight forward looking, isn't it. You might notice from the picture what seems like blue lettering on the keys. In actuality, it isn't the lettering that's blue, but the back light that shines through the clear letter-windows that's blue. When the phone is unlit, all of the lettering actually looks black. This is one of my first problems with this phone. The bright blue on the silver background is pretty, yes, but I find it a bit difficult to read. It well may be that this was meant for younger eyes than mine, but I'm not sure that this was the most practical of choices. I found myself wanting to change that colour to one that might be a tad easier to read, but that isn't an option, unfortunately. On the other hand, the screen has the same blue lighting, which I find very easy to read. However, when the light is off, I do have a difficult time seeing what is on the screen. Strange, isn't it? To tell the truth, this really only bothers me when I want to send an SMS message, since the letters are even smaller on my phone than on the standard R220 because mine comes with both English and Hebrew letters, in addition to the numbers. But the numbers are twice the size of the letters, so they're very easy to read, and that's what's most important, isn't it? Oh, and I should mention that there's a little light just above the screen on the left. That's called the "service light" and it flashes when the phone is turned on, even when all the other lights are off. What good does this do? I'm not totally sure, but there is an option to change the colour of this light. It can be blue, green, orange, red or violet. In fact, you can actually assign a service colour light to certain people in your phone book. That means that when, say, your spouse calls you, it suddenly flashes red instead of blue, or when your kids call you it flashes violet. Kind of fun, but hardly something essential, from what I can see - but correct me if I haven't thought of why this could be important. Aside from this, you'll find that although this phone is fairly small, its actually larger than its more sophisticated brother, the N620, and as you can see from the picture, it has an external antenna, which doesn't bother me, but might not be great for those who like to clip their phones onto their trouser belts, as the antenna might jab them when they sit down. Still, its far from being the smallest phone on the market these days (100 x 46 x 23.5 mm), and its certainly slimmer and much lighter weight (only 99 grams with a standard battery) than my old Nokia. My only other problem with this phone is that the keys seem very stiff to press, but I'm hoping that this will ease up with time, since it seems to have done with my kids phone after a while (even though they do much more SMS messaging than I do). All in all, I do like the way this phone looks and feels, even if the keys are a bit more difficult to read than my old Nokia. I'm sure that one of the reasons why this phone was so inexpensive is because it uses the older technology of monophonic ring tones, so there's nothing particularly exciting about how this phone will sound when you get a call. What's more, the tones that the phone come with are pretty lame - I mean, their "Big Ben" type tone is a sad four notes only. And then there are only 20 to chose from. Then they further confuse you by not giving the tones names, but rather just numbers, so you have to go through the whole list just to figure out which of the tones you want to use. Frankly, none of the tones that came with the phone were particularly appealing to me, and I felt pretty cheated that I had spent all that money and didn't even get one ring tone that was fun enough to make my default tone. Of course, with this phone you can download new ring tones - an option that I never had on my old Nokia 5110, so that was a plus for this machine. However, the phone only gives you three slots for saving the new, downloaded ring tones. Three? How simplistic is that? But I really shouldn't complain as it still is better than my 5110, right? Yeah, sure. Except that now with all the fancy polyphonic tones out there, the selection of the monophonic tones is getting less interesting. For instance, I really wanted the theme song to "Six Feet Under" but couldn't find one that suited my phone (mind you, I have to download from the Israeli site, and that's even more limiting). Luckily, when you do download songs, they are saved with their proper names and not simply "tune 22"! Then again, if you're very ambitious and can figure out the techno-music things of these machines, then you can compose your own tunes. I succeeded in composing an acceptable version of the chorus from the song "Mellow Yellow" (which, besides "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", has one of the easiest chorus tunes I can think of) on my phone. Mind you, this phone also doesn't give you a hell of a lot of composition possibilities either, as you're only given two slots to save your own songs on. But, at least they can be given names instead of numbers when you save them. You can also assign any of the tunes (built-in, downloaded and composed) to specific phone numbers, so that you'll know who is calling you when you hear that specific tune. But with the limited selection of tunes, this isn't always practical, so you should probably save giving specific tunes to only the most important people in your phone book. For instance, my son who is now in the Army has the theme song to the James Bond movies (downloaded), my husband is my personally composed "Mellow Yellow" and my younger kids are the theme song to "Monty Python's Flying Circus" (also downloaded). That leaves the theme to the Adams Family (downloaded) as my default ring, until I can compose or find something better. Of course, if you really get disgusted with the tones, you can turn this phone to just vibrate. You do this by just pressing on the pound key (#) for a long time until it tells you that the silent mode is activated. When you want to hear the pants tones again, you just do the same thing and you'll re-activate the tones. I like this better than my old Nokia which had no vibrate option at all, and if you put it onto silent or discreet mode, you might forget that you had done it and miss an important call. This way, you can put it in your pocket and you'll feel that the phone is ringing but no one else will know. I used that recently when I was at my husband's annual office dinner and the kids were at home alone, and the concert made it impossible to hear the phone ring. My son called and I felt the call come in and was able to answer it after frantically running outside to enable myself to hear him, of course! Finally, there are 10 tones (again, numbered only) for when you get an SMS message. This is better than my old Nokia which had only four, but I still haven't found one that I like of the ten that they've given me. However, you also have the option of getting this to vibrate as well as play a tune, or just vibrate or you can turn off the tune and vibrate altogether and the phone will just light up instead. Not bad, that. Speaking about sound, you might be interested to hear how good the reception of this phone is. So far I've found that this phone gets slightly better reception than my old Nokia. Before, with my Nokia, I had a problem with reception while I was sitting at my desk at work, and would sometimes have to go downstairs or even outside to catch a call. Not so with this Samsung, and that means I don't have to worry about losing my family in mid sentence while talking to them on my cell phone at my desk. Of course, they could use my regular work line, but that's not the point of what I'm telling you here, is it? However, there is one problem with the sound. I've noticed that if I put the phone too low or too high against my ear, the quality of what I am hearing is greatly reduced. This means that the little slit situated at the top of the phone (which is the incoming speaker) has to be placed precisely at the right spot on your ear, or people will sound muffled. Also, if you hold this phone slightly away from your cheek, like I prefer to do, then people might not hear you so well, either. So, the tiny hole at the bottom of the machine (which is the microphone) has to be as close to your skin as possible. This is no where near as good as my old Nokia, which had a bunch of holes at the top for the speaker and seemed to have no visible microphone (one assumes its at the opposite end of the phone from the speaker) but was long enough to come quite close to my mouth, even when I held it away from my skin. Tsk, Tsk, Samsung! (And did you even hear that?) So, as far as the sound of this phone goes, I have to say that its only fair to middling, and certainly nothing to write home about (or call... Or SMS, for that matter). I can't imagine that I really need to give you all a guide to using a cell phone. Basically, we all know that you push on the numbers and hit the dial button (in this case, the one with the little green phone handset pictured on it). When you're finished, you either hit the button with the red phone handset pictured on it, or the button above it which is just below a menu option on the screen that says "end". Simple enough. Its also pretty simple to receive and even send SMS messages with this phone. One thing that's very nice about it is that you have a few options when you go to send a text message. You can either just send it and not save it, you can send it and also save it, and you can also send it with a picture. As for the latter, I'm not all that keen about the idea of sending pictures with messages - I really don't see the point. But perhaps I'm just an old fuddy-duddy and like to use words to express what I'm saying and not depend on someone's idea of a pixel version of a window (I've chosen the worst of the 10 built-in options here). Hell, I can't even stand sending emoticons (you know, those punctuation renditions of a smile and a wink, etc.), and never have seen the point of them. But for those who go for that kind of thing, I'm afraid that while all of this is certainly a possibility, this phone is pretty limited in its selection. There's a nice option when writing SMS messages on this phone which allows you to write in all caps, all lower case or where the first letter of the message or first letter after a symbol is in caps. You can turn the caps on and off easily by pressing the button that has a little upward pointing arrow, which is on the star key. If you press it twice, you're automatically in all caps mode, and you'll see on the screen an arrow pointing up with a line under it, to show you this. One more press of that button and you're back to lower case letters. There's also a symbol menu and - for only people who use these phones in Israel, there's even a Hebrew mode. (I believe there are some phones here that also allow you to write in Arabic and Russian as well, but not this particular model.) As for the phonebook, this phone saves 100 numbers in its own memory, and the remainder are on your SMS card (but I'm not sure how many that takes). Not a huge amount, but certainly enough for my uses, and my old Nokia didn't save any numbers on the phone at all - only on the SMS card, so I'm pretty pleased about this (especially since I didn't lose any numbers when I changed phones). In general, a very useful phone for doing what a cell phone is meant to do - communicating with people in one way or another. With all the basics now out of the way, I think I should tell you about the other features to this phone. There are those which seem pretty standard, such as voice mail (for getting voice messages on your phone when you don't answer a call, of course) and call register (for telling you who where the last 10 people you called, the last 10 who called you, the cost of your last call and the duration of your last call), the place where you set up the tones and phone for the way you want it to work (like turning off the noise when you press a key, and things of that ilk). But there are some other features which are totally superfluous but which we've all come to not be able to do without. Here's a short rundown on those features: Games - where would a cell phone be without games, right? Wrong! No, its not that this phone doesn't have games, its just that the games here are stupid. You get Casino, Mole and Snake with this phone. Well, since I'm not a gambling woman, the Casino game doesn't interest me. Mole is just banging on the keys to "smack" a mole back down into its hole. Snake is the old favourite game that seems standard on practically every phone these days - where you tell an ever-growing line where to go to eat the apples that appear on the screen until you make the snake bite itself, or smash into one of the walls of the screen. BORING! Sorry, but that's how I feel. And I'm also missing my old favourite "Logic" from my old Nokia (a version of the old Master Mind where you have to guess which shapes are in which positions - something that uses a bit of brain power). Really pretty pitiful, this selection and I'm avoiding going to the doctors because I'll have nothing to amuse me in the waiting room, now. There's also an "organizer" on this phone. This has already become one of the most useful bits of this phone for me. This menu is broken down into the following options: Scheduler - with this you get a whole calendar and you can set yourself meetings, and alarms and reminders and events. I've used this to remind me to do all sorts of things, and you have the flexibility to set the alarm to as early or as close to the meeting or event as you want. Alarm - here you have a possibility of setting a daily alarm - one that will go off every day (like wake up), a one-time alarm - for a single alarm need (like call to remind your spouse to pick up the kids), and a weekly alarm - to remind you of something that happens only once a week (like turn on your favorite TV program). In this section you can also choose the special alarm tone. In truth, I like the alarm tones a bit more than the regular phone ringing tones. Calculator - silly to put this option in this particular section. I liked it better as a separate menu item on my Nokia, and it took me quite a while to find this. You see, I truly need a calculator because how else can I figure out my bowling average? This calculator has all the needed functions and I'm assuming you all know how to calculate things. World Time - here you set the time for either the city you live in or the city you're visiting. You can also shuffle through different time zones to find out how far behind or ahead of you those cities are. So, for instance if Jerusalem is set as my city, I can find London and see that it is two hours behind me. Clock - here is where you set the date and time for your phone, as well as the format for the date. Good to have, actually. Mind you, as the phone gets older, it does tend to run a touch slower than it should. Why this would be is beyond me. After that, there's the SIM Center. This is for when you want to use WAP applications and in this menu you can choose your home page, set up bookmarks, and set up "go to" pages. Since this costs way too much here in Israel, I haven't bothered to check these options out, and if you decide to mark me down because of it, I'll understand. I'll just say that WAP means, I think (but don't quote me on this) "web access phone" and you can get news, weather, play games, chat and even get icons, ring tones and other fun stuff and information from the Internet through your phone. The only thing I've done with this is get myself a new ring tone, but since I can also do it from my computer, I don't think I'll bother much with this. If I have to sum up this phone, I'd say that its very nice looking, lightweight and compact, and has all the basics one needs for a phone, but nothing amazingly exceptional. Moreover, the tones and games are pretty poor, and I have noticed that if you don't put it absolutely right against your ear and flat against your cheek, you might not hear very well, and people might not hear you, either. But my kids haven't succeeded in killing this one with all the bumps and bashes that they've given it, so it is a durable item. So my title here of "Samsung Blues!" is not just because of the blue screen, but also because using it might not totally send your blues away. Sorry! (And does anyone know how my title is also a pun on an old song?) Bottom line - its not a bad phone, but its not the greatest I've seen - three stars out of five. Thanks for Reading! @@@@@ UPDATE Just got a hands-free car kit for this phone because there is a law here about using mobile phones while driving. It cost me about 80 quid, but its well worth it. This works perfectly except for two tiny problems. Firstly, the keypad makes noise after I turned that option off for regular use, and all sorts of other beeps seem to have returned as well. Secondly, it stays lit ALL the time - and that distracts me while driving. Otherwise, I'm glad I have it - can't be too safe these days on the road, now can we! @@@@@ (PS: I don't think that this exact phone is available anymore in the UK, but I think that this review will give you an idea of what these types of Samsung phones are like, and in case you see one for sale second-hand, hopefully you'll know in advance if you'll like it or not from my opinion here.) ~~~~~ Technical Stuff: I purchased this phone through my network (Orange) and it cost me about £100 (which I pay in 36 payments through my regular bill). The official web page of Samsung in the UK is www.samsungelectronics.co.uk/ and their head office is located at Samsung Electronics (UK) Ltd., Samsung House, 1000, Hillswood Drive, Chertsey, Surrey KT16 0PS, Tel: 01932 455000. They say you can call 0870 242 0303 Open from 9am to 6pm weekdays, and 9am to 1pm Saturdays. I couldn't figure out their email address, however, since I kept getting an error message when I tried to click on that link. ~~~~~