By June 22, 2008

Review Samsung SGH i780 Windows Mobile Phone

samsung i780 Another device turned up in the post for us to take a look at and this one is the Samsung SGH i780 Windows Mobile Professional device. This phone impressed us from the moment we opened the box and switched it on. The form factor is fantastic combined with a great front facing Qwerty keyboard.

Whats in the box

  • Samsung SGH-i780
  • Getting started disc
  • Quick reference guide
  • USB sync and charge cable
  • Mains charger
  • Samsung Headphones
  • 2 batteries
  • Desktop battery charger

    The Samsung SGH i780 is a Windows Mobile Professional touch screen device with a front facing Qwerty keyboard and a square screen. The major difference with this and other square screen devices is the screen resolution. All previous square screen devices we have seen followed the 240 x 240 resolution but this phone has a 320 x 320 display which makes for a much better viewing experience.

    samsung i780  samsung i780


    Looking at the exterior of the phone starting at the bottom its totally clear except a small hole for the microphone. The top only has the device on / off button and access to the stylus, oh no, another one of those awful telescopic ones.

    samsung i780 samsung i780

    The right hand side has a button for quick access to the media player, micro SD card slot and access to the charging port and headphone socket. The charging port is not mini USB, come on Samsung nearly every other manufacturer has adopted the mini USB standard for charging phones now, another bad point is the headphone socket is the same socket as the charging socket so again don’t consider using your good quality headphones your stuck with the included Samsung pair unless you buy an adaptor.

    The left hand side of the phone has the earpiece volume up and down rocker switch and the right side has access to the Micro SD Card slot, charging / headphones port and a quick launch button which can be assigned to any application or action you want.

    samsung i780 samsung i780

    The front of the phone has a 0.3 Megapixel video camera for UMTS standard video calls, a full Qwerty keyboard, two function keys, phone send and end keys, windows start key and an OK key.

    The D-Pad is interesting, no it’s extremely interesting as this is no normal D-Pad, its a highly sensitive mouse trackpad complete with onscreen pointer. The thought of using this on a Windows Mobile phone was quite off putting but I think this makes the device extremely easy to use. Navigating menus and clicking programs and links is so much easier and I still haven’t had to get the stylus out, a major thumbs up from me.

    samsung i780 samsung i780

    If you find you can’t get used to this mouse revelation fear not as Samsung has covered all the bases and a simple setting change can turn the trackpad back to the normal D-Pad, very sleek!

    The back of the phone is made of a dull black non slip plastic and houses the 2.0 megapixel camera lense, its a typical camera on these type of phones and produces reasonable pictures but nothing outstanding see below for a couple of example shots.

    samsung i780 samsung i780


    Booting the phone for the first time was surprisingly quick, no bloatware, no patches just a very quick start up, the usual screen calibration and then it detected my O2 Sim card and automatically configured the data connections, very impressive.

    Samsung have customised the home screen with shortcuts to contacts, email, SMS and speed dials although it looks quite basic it is very functional. The phone runs a pretty standard version of Windows Mobile Professional version 6.0 which has been superceded by version 6.1, at the time of this review the 6.1 update is not available however Samsung do state that an upgrade will be available to 6.1 by August this year.

    samsung i780 samsung i780

    Additional software installed in the Rom consists of Opera web browser version 8.65, RSS Reader, Podcast app to download podcasts over the air, PV Player for streaming videos, Picsel file viewer, hard reset application and a graphical interface to the task manager.

    samsung i780 samsung i780

    samsung i780 samsung i780


    The Samsung SGH i780 comes with an integrated A-GPS system and to test it out we downloaded the free Google Maps for Windows Mobile, the software automatically detected the inbuilt GPS and turned it on and within a few minutes had pin pointed my location and worked really well with the maps application, it also has a fast satellite fix option which is turned off by default but when you turn it on it connects to the cell network and downloads a small file which cuts the time it takes to get a fix considerably but be careful if you do not have an unlimited data plan.

    samsung i780  samsung i780


    This device does not have any software shell user interface like the HTC Touch UI so you are dealing with Windows Mobile in its raw form, having said that if you are familiar with the operating system then you will have no problems getting around. Its very snappy and moving through menus is as instant as it gets. Phone call quality was excellent at both ends of the conversation and connectivity with a bluetooth headset was solid and reliable.

    samsung i780  samsung i780

    Synching the phone with an exchange server has been the big selling point with Windows Mobile for a long time and once it was set up it worked perfectly, synching all my contacts, agenda and tasks over the air with instant push email. Pocket IE was not good to use but as mentioned this phone also comes pre-installed with Opera version 8.65 which is much better but still no where near as good as the iPhones Safari browser or the upcoming Opera 9.5 as seen on the HTC Diamond

    samsung i780 sshot010

    Battery life seems very good, after a full charge the battery was still at 50% after 24 hours of use with quite a bit of WiFi, push email and GPS usage, another added bonus is a spare battery in the box complete with a desktop charger so the spare can be charged without it having to be in the phone, a nice extra touch, take note HTC.

    samsung i780 samsung i780


    This is without doubt the best Windows Mobile device I have ever used, and believe me when I say I have used a lot of them, from the innovative mouse D-Pad, brilliant Qwerty front facing keyboard, zippy menus and software extras its hard to find fault with it, but I will, the charging should be by mini USB, the headphone socket should be a standard 3.5mm, there should be Windows Mobile 6.1 update now and the stylus should not be telescopic. Apart from that I cannot think of anymore negatives and that is high praise indeed.

    Consider this for a moment, Palm are about to announce a new Windows Mobile Professional Phone that they are hoping will get them back in the game, it will be a similar form factor to the Samsung i780 with a front facing Qwerty keyboard, it will have WiFI, GPS and a 320 x 320 screen, why wait for the Palm, its already available with the Samsung i780 and I cannot see how Palm can make any major improvements except for Windows Mobile 6.1 which the i780 should also have by August.

    Samsung SGH i780 specification

  • Microsoft Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • 624 MHz Marvell CPU
  • 256 MB ROM / 128MB RAM
  • 2.55 " 320×320 TFT Touchscreen
  • GSM900, GSM1800, GSM1900, UMTS2100
  • Built-in QWERTY-type keyboard, 37 keys
  • microSD card slot
  • Bluetooth 2.0
  • WiFi: 802.11b/g
  • Built in NMEA 0183 GPS
  • 2.0mp camera
  • 61.3 x 115.9 x 12.9 millimetres
  • 120 Grams

    Thanks to Superetrader for supplying the review device

    Disclaimer, the Samsung SGH i780 featured in this review was returned to the vendor after completion of the review.

  • Posted in: Phones

    About the Author:

    Seasoned tech blogger. Host of the Tech Addicts podcast.
    Loading Facebook Comments ...

    Post a Comment

    No Trackbacks.