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Hands-on with the HSDPA-ready Samsung Z560

Globe gave us a couple demo units of the new flip-top Samsung Z560, dubbed to be the first HSDPA capable phone in the country and probably in South East Asia. The unit was aimed at heavy users and individuals who want fast mobile connectivity to the internet so they’re bundling it on several packages, one of which includes an IBM laptop on a monthly plan.

The highlights:
Network: HSDPA / GSM 900 / GSM 1800 / GSM 1900
HSDPA-capable (up to 3.6Mbps )
2 megapixel built-in camera (1600×1200 pixels, autofocus, video)
Secondary VGA video call camera
20 MB shared memory
TFT, 256K colors screen (240 x 320 pixels, 2.3 inches)
2nd external display TFT, 65K colors (96 x 96 pixels)
Mini SD Card slot
Polyphonic (64 channels), MP3/AAC/AAC++/WMA player
3G, EDGE, GPRS
Bluetooth 1.2, USB
Talk Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes (up to 320 hrs. standby)
(Complete specs here.)

Samsung Z560

When Marc and I were first shown the units, we thought it really looks like a Motorola RAZR. The external LCD screen shows a fancy analog clock so I thought it was designed for the ladies. The phone churns out some melodious tone whenever when using the keypad that sometimes it becomes annoying not only to you but prolly the person next to you.

One of the most valuable use of the was unit for connecting your laptop to the net, what with the 3.6Mbps HSDPA feature. I tested the connection and compared it with Smart 3G and the speed results were significant with Globe reaching up to ~700Kbps and Smart just over 400Kbps (peak bursts) on several online bandwidth meters.

There was one issue we couldn’t miss though — the phone warms up even on regular use. It’s normal if you’re just charging the unit but kinda fishy if it heats up while using it to make calls and browse the net. When I first got the unit, I didn’t have the wall charger but I was surprised that the USB cable can actually charge the phone while connecting it to your PC or laptop. Most, if not all, Nokia phones don’t charge using the USB cable.

Directly browsing the net with the 240 x 320 pixels display screen can be a little awkward but the browser has option to increase or decrease text sizes. Google loads in less than 4 seconds but the installed Mobile GMail client would get stuck with the loading screen. Logging in to WordPress blogs is also close to impossible.

Being a Nokia guy most of my mobile life, it could get some getting used to the keypad layout. I never got to try logging to my Yahoo Mail because there wasn’t any underscore (_) available in the special characters (or maybe I just didn’t know where to look for it).

Overall, the unit might be a little expensive with a retail price of Php24,000 but the HSDPA feature is a unique one and might attract the power users (read: hungry for bandwidth). Globe told me they’re targetting 1,000 cell sites to be 3G-ready by end of the year so maybe with a wider coverage, it could be an attractive package.

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  • jgotangco

    the web browser used by Samsung is pretty good for wap sites, but not for full blown websites even if it supports XHTML. It’s best to install someting like Opera Mini to be able to get a full mobile internet experience.

    It’s not that much of a problem for Nokia phones running Symbian S60v3 though, because the browser itself is based in Apple’s Webcore and the robustness of KHTML.

  • Hanging mobile GMail on Globe? You need to switch APNs. I saw that on many blogs especially Max Limpag’s post.

    The S60v3 Browser – now that makes 3G useful!

  • @ jg

    I directly downloaded and installed Opera Mini into the unit but I get an error when running it.

  • jgotangco

    Ahh right, the phone is not on the supported list at this time, probably because its so new. I thought the whole Z5** series would only use one binary file.

    There’s a beta version of the Mini browser available but I cannot say it’s already compatible with the device.

  • banana

    looks like a nice phone, but its quite expensive for mainstream users, definitely worth it for bandwidth hungry people. =)

  • makki

    yeah. quite expensive. Hope the package would drop price soon!

  • adam

    looks to be a very kool mobile phone. but it is very difficult to beat nokia and sony ericsson mobile phones. tell me some good sites about mobile accessories like this Mobile Accessories