Samsung FlipShot SCH-U900

Samsung’s FlipShot for Verizon Wireless is also called the SCH-U900. It has a wide selection of features that are aimed towards making this phone a great camera. It has a flip phone design and hence its name FlipShot says it all. This phone has a user-friendly design and an extremely good camera. It also has a stereo Bluetooth profile, a business card scanner and music controls below the external display.

The Samsung FlipShot SCH-U900 has a lot in common with its predecessor, the SCH-A990. It has a basic flip phone design with sharp angles and straight lines. Thanks to the large camera lens and flash, it bears a resemblance to a standalone camera when viewed from the back. One of its interesting features is a swivelling display, which can rotate 180 degrees and allow maximum use of the camera. The display acts as a viewfinder and hence if you want a self portrait, open the front flap, and rotate it clockwise so that the display faces the back of the phone. To take the regular photographs, just close the phone such that the main display is facing outwards.

Although FlipShot has an extremely wide range of features, it is not bulky or ungainly. It weighs 3.88 ounces and its dimensions are 3.76 X 1.83 X 0.73 inches. This phone is not too thin and thus is easier and more comfortable to handle. It also fits into a pocket with ease. All in all, the phone is extremely sturdy. Centred in front is the external display, which has 65,000 colours. The display shows photo caller ID and all other information but is a little small at 1.25 inches (128 X 96 pixels).

The music player has touch controls, which are placed below the display. Activating and turning off of the player is via the Play/Pause button. The speaker is positioned on FlipShot SCH-U900s left spine. The charger port and 2.5mm headset jack is also placed on the left spine. The right spine is where you will find the second speaker and all the other exterior controls. When FlipShot is in normal mode, you have the volume rocker, a key that can lock the exterior controls and a button, which can control the flash for a brief period, enabling it to be used as a flashlight. However, when FlipShot is in camera mode, the volume rocker acts as the zoom control, while the locking button gives you access to the camera’s menu.

The main display is 2.25 inches (320X240 pixels) and its size is conducive to taking photographs, navigating menus and playing games. This display has an excellent resolution.

The controls are a little less tactile and are flush with the phone’s surface, however the keys are large. The primary interface tool is the four-way toggle and it can be used to act as a shortcut to four functions you define. Around the toggle are the two soft keys, a speakerphone, shortcut to camera or camcorder, Clear key and Talk and End buttons. The dial pad is also flush with the surface of the phone, the keys are large, the numbers on them are also large and the backlighting is nice and bright.

Some of the features on the FlipShot SCH-U900s phone are:

· 500 name phone book. Each contact has room for 5 numbers, 2 e-mail ids and notes.
· Callers can be saved in groups and paired with photograph for caller ID. Personalised ringtones can also be assigned to them.
· Vibrate mode
· Text and multimedia messaging
· Voice recorder
· Speakerphone
· Calculator
· Calendar
· Alarm clock, stop watch, world clock
· Notepad

Other than these basics it also offers
· USB mass storage
· Speaker independent voice commands
· Instant messaging
· Web-based e-mail
· Bluetooth Stereo profile

The camera features are
· 3 megapixel camera. Pictures can be clicked in eight resolutions.
· 3 quality settings, 3 colour effects and 3 white-balance settings
· Digital zoom
· Spot metering
· Auto- focus
· 3 multishot models
· Flash
· Self-timer
· Brightness control
· Settings for portrait, landscape, daylight, night etc

The camcorder takes pictures in two resolutions and it has a good set of editing options. Although you can shoot for up to 10 minutes, clips for multimedia can be 30 seconds long. The photo quality given by the camera is very good.

The battery life on the FlipShot SCH-U900s is 4 hours talk time and 14.6 days standby time.

FlipShot SCH-U900s call quality, photo quality and music quality is good. Although its business-card reader is not very good, the rest of the features provided are good, especially the speakerphone. At $199 with service, it is definitely worth buying if you want a great camera phone.