I test lots of phones -most of them are of the ‘SmartPhone’ variety. What those of us immersed in the SmartPhone world sometimes forget is how really ‘Smart’ some of the standard issue Cell phones have become.
Case in point – the Samsung SCH-U740. With all the technology out there – it is a rare phone that really innovates and makes us say ‘wow.’ Samsung is making some killer phones these days – super slim cell phones, the BlackJack SmartPhone and now, the SCH-U740. Ok, let’s get this out of the way first – who named this thing? When you have a phone that can do everything this phone can, you gotta give it a better name.
I think this phone has a lot to offer. Read on for my full review. The SCH-U740 is a Verizon exclusive and offers some real innovations. Today’s cell phone user not only wants to make clear calls, but we want to text-message with ease, watch videos, download music, IM and play games. fortunately, the SCH-U740 allows you to do all that and more.
Let’s take a look at all that comes standard with this phone:
Camera/Camcorder 1.3 Mega Pixel Digital Camera/Camcorder with Flash and Digital Zoom
Capture Video Clips or Still Pictures
Self Timer: Off, 2, 5 or 10 seconds
Color Effects: Normal, B/W, Sepia, Antique, Negative, Green, Aqua, Cool, Warm, Sketch
Multi-Shot Mode: Series, Divided, Auto/Manual
Resolution Adjustment: 1280×960, 640×480, 320×240, 160×120 Picture ID
Shutter Sound selection
Mobile Media V CAST Music Player: MP3 and WMA
V CAST Video
Mobile Web 2.0 Capable
Email, Mobile IM, and Chat Capable
Wireless Sync Capable
Get It Now(r) Capable (BREW 3.1.4)
Picture and video messaging
V CAST – Music and Video
VZ Navigatorsm Capable with Turn-by-Turn Directions
Text, Instant, Picture, and Video Messaging
3D Games, Ringtones and Wallpaper and More
Sports, News and Email with Mobile Web 2.0
Wireless Sync Capable
Tools Personal Organizer: Calendar with Scheduler, Notepad
Tools: Alarm Clock, World Clock, Calculator, Stopwatch
Phone book with up to 500 Entries with multiple contacts
Chaperone Parent Capable
Voice/Audio 72-Note Polyphonic Ringers
Advanced speech recognition
General Unique 2-Way Flip Form Factor
Integrated Qwerty Keyboard
High Tier/EVDO Digital Only/EVDO High Speed Connectivity
Bluetooth(r) Capable for the following profiles: Headset (HSP), Handsfree (HFP), Serial Port (SPP), Dial Up Networking (DUN), and Object Push (OPP) for vCard
microSD(tm) Expansion Slot
Dimensions: 3.84′ (H) x 2.04′ (W) x 0.58′ (D) with battery
Weight: 3.6 ounces with standard battery
SAR: Head- .684, Body- .496
Usage Time: Up to 210 Minutes OR
Standby Time: Up to 200 hours
Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating = M4
Handset Insurance available: Yes
Phone does not support a 2.5mm Headset Jack.
Headset Adapter is included in box.
System Requirements Card Slot: ExpressCard 34/54
Disk Drive: CD ROM
Hard Disk Space: 14MB
Internet Browser Software
OS Support Windows(r)2000/XP/Vista; MAC OS 10.4.8 or higher
Dimensions 4.41′ (H) x 1.34′ (W) x 0.19′ (D)
Weight: 1.4 oz
What makes the SCH-U740 stand out from the crowd is its unique design. At first glance, this is a very classy and thin phone. It is a champagne color with black accents. There are soft-touch music controls right on the front as well as the lens for the camera.
On the right hand side is a slot for a micro-SD card for holding all your pictures and movies. Along the left, you find the volume rocker, headphone jack and hold button.
Open the phone like any flip-phone to make your calls. The thin design makes it easy to grip this phone and the button layout is good for making calls. The buttons are a little small – but there is a full QWERTY keyboard and number keyboard contained in a very small space.
Now, the very cool part of the design. The SCH-U740 has a dual hinged cover – that means that in addition to opening like a standard flip phone, it can also be opened horizontally – which puts the phone in a landscape display with the QWERTY keyboard laid out for perfect typing.
The pros of a design like this is that typing emails and text messages are much, much easier on a full QWERTY keyboard in a landscape mode. The screen shifts whatever image is on it to a nice landscape display as well.
You can still dial phone calls in the landscape mode – but talking is awkward in this mode unless you are using a headset.
The SCH-U740 is a feature rich phone. You can manage your contacts and even take advantage of wireless Sync Email. SMS and MMS messaging is supported as is the full Verizon Get it Now experience. That means easy downloads of music, ringtones, pictures, videos, games and news and information via the modified web browser.
One of the things that was both brilliant and somewhat annoying is that some features are only available in the ‘Rotated’ mode – the landscape mode. Once you remember which is which, it was really no big deal. This phone really shines in the messaging features – both Text and IM were handled beautifully.
In short, there was very little that this phone could not do. It won’t handle your business contacts and email like a true SmartPhone, but that is not the intended audience for this device.
Media features were really top of the line on this phone. While the camera was a 1.3 megapixel instead of 2.0 found on some newer devices, it took very good and clear photos and offered lots of options for photo imaging – Brightness, Timers, Flash, Color Effects, Resolution and more can be adjusted when using the camera.
Music sounded great – even on the little built in speakers – loud and clear. When a headset was attached, the sound was on par with quality MP3 players.
Video was very smooth – the screen could have been sharper – but the frame rate was very good.
I have always found that Samsung phones sport excellent call quality and this phone was no exception to that. Calls were very clear and the speaker is plenty loud. Callers had no complaints when I used this phone.
Bluetooth was very good on this phone. It was quite easy to pair a headset and call quality did not suffer. In addition to standard Headset use, the SCH-U740 also supports Serial Port (SPP), Dial Up Networking (DUN), and Object Push (OPP) for vCard – very sophisticated features for a standard cell phone. One feature missing was support for A2DP – Bluetooth streaming Stereo – this would have been particularly useful given all the media features of this phone.
As I stated earlier, this phone really excels at messaging – all types. Text messaging was really what this was designed to handle well. It was very nice to be able to use a QWERTY keyboard on a standard size phone. The keys are a little small, but they were very responsive. The location of the D-pad (which is on the side in landscape mode) did sometimes lend itself to mis hits which would send me out of the messaging screen. Overall, this was the best non-smartphone texting experience I have had.
Email and Web:
Wireless Sync is available for email delivery which is very nice. Composing emails was fairly easy using the keyboard. The OS menu commands require a few too many clicks for my taste to send emails – but if you needed to email in a pinch, you can do it from this device. Again, I wouldn’t trade in your BlackBerry for this device – but for occasional email it is fine.
Web pages loaded quickly and looked good. The screen resolution was not quite as sharp as other phones out there – but colors were good as was the speed of the EvDO network.
Lots of games are available for download off of the ‘Get it Now’ screen. Games were pretty typical cell phone games. They looked good, ran quickly and were nice to play in the widescreen mode. Some of the small keys were a disadvantage in ‘Key intensive’ games.
Over all Conclusions:
This is a great all around phone. I can see this as the next ‘gotta have it’ phone for teens and young adults. It is very capable in the messaging and media features – all of which are becoming so important in that demographic. The ability to flip open the phone for calls and ‘Rotate’ the screen for messaging and web browsing is a great feature and what really gives this phone a high ‘coolness’ factor to it.
I do wonder how the rotating hinge will hold up over extended use – but only time will tell. From what I can tell, this is a very high quality, highly capable device. It won’t replace your smartphone, but it is most likely a worthy upgrade to just about any other type of cell phone you are currently using.
Final Grade: A-
Pros: Great design, very cool, great media capabilities, very good messaging ability
Cons: Very easy to accidentally push the music buttons on the front, screen resolution is not as clear as other Samsung phones
The Samsung SCH-U740 is available at www.verizonwireless.com for $149.00 with contract – other deals can be found at various providers on the web.
Written by Gary