Samsung SGH-E715 Review| By Allen Tsai
The new Samsung E715 replaces the tremendously popular V205. It boasts the same great 65,000 TFT color screen, and robust 40 tone polyphonic ring tones. But it also contains many upgrades and fixes that the V205 didn't have.
The differences between the E715 and SGH-E710 are small. The E715 will be released in North American and run on the 900 / 1900 GSM bands, while the E710 is planned for Europe and run on the 900 / 1800 GSM bands. Both phones contain an OLED front display. However the E710's has 256 colors while the E715's is monochrome. Aside from that the phones are almost indistinguishable.
For the purpose of this review, we played with the E715 released in the U.S. However the E710 is virtually the same thing.
Samsung arguably makes the most popular clamshell phones in the industry. And one of the reasons is the design and functionality. After the incredible success of the V200 / V205, Samsung has released the E715 series. Similar to the V205, the E715 sports a 65,000 color screen, 40 tone polyphonic ring tones, and the same clamshell design.
But aside from the basic similarities, the E715 has many improvements and upgrades. For instance, Samsung has taken the V205's solid camera and now added and improved many features in the E715. A rare built-in flash, filters, frames, and multishot functionality are just a few to name. The robust set of features are one of the best we've seen.
However, one thing missing that was very innovative in the V205 was the rotating camera on the hinge. Its camera was able to be turned up to 180 degrees, so you could take self portraits, or pictures with your friends. Unfortunately, the E715 has moved the camera to a more conventional front lid position. Perhaps the reason being the added flash and the lack of room to place on the hinge.
The physical characteristics are well designed though. The E715 is slightly smaller as well. At 90 x 45 x 24 mm, it's compact enough to fit comfortably in your pocket while large enough to find in a purse. But perhaps the most interesting and unknown feature is the antenna. Samsung has mentioned its new internal antenna design it calls an Intenna. Supposedly, the Intenna is just as receptive as traditional external antennas without the unattractive appeal it might pose to some tastes. But we'll get to that later.
The same great screen found on the V205 is present on the E715. The internal 128 x 160 px color TFT screen has 65,000 colors. The TFT screen, as opposed to STN, has the circuit transistors placed on the glass at the pixel location instead of the need to scan the pixel location. This results in greatly increasing the response time and allows for very fast refresh rates. It comes in handy when playing action packed games, where fast refresh rates are needed.
The screen is divided into 3 parts. There's a top toolbar, the center where the wallpaper is, and a bottom toolbar. The actual area for the viewable area for the wallpaper is 128 x 128 px and measure 1.7 inches diagonally for a large viewing area.
The E715 also has an external 80 x 64 px monochrome OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) screen on the outer lid. However, that's not to say the E715's front screen is black and white. The OLED emits four different colors. An OLED is an electronic device made by placing a series of organic thin films between two conductors. When electrical current is applied, a bright light is emitted. This process is called electrophosphorescence.
When used to produce displays, OLED technology produces self-luminous displays that do not require backlighting. This means that you can see who's calling in a movie theater without lighting the whole room up.
The E715 has interconnected keys, which might be inconvenient when you try to dial by feeling. Keys on the same row become difficult to differentiate since they are all joined. Other than that, the keypad is fine.
The E715 is also equipped with a 4 direction keypad. Navigation through the menu options is fairly simple and straightforward. Softkeys are also present on the side of the E715 for adjusting earpiece volume, scrolling through phonebook entries, and additional navigation and shortcuts.
Battery and Charger
A lithium ion 900mAh battery is used with the E715. Samsung claims the battery will work for 4 hours of talk time and 300 hours of standby, however those numbers are maximum times. Realistically the times are much lower at three hours of talk time and 9 days of standby.
When reading our reviews, you should view the test results of mobile-phone battery talk time and standby time as relative information only. Many variables, including carrier signal strength at your location, signal consistency (including incoming and outgoing calls), display and ringer settings, and battery charging methods and history, will affect performance.
When handset manufacturers and mobile phone carriers list talk-time and standby-time ratings, they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Some quote expected battery life ranges, and in this case you're probably safe to assume you'll experience at least the minimum rated range.
Note that manufacturers of dual-mode digital and analog handsets publish battery-life rates for both digital and analog modes, as analog mode consumes much more power than digital mode.
The E715 comes with an infrared port. Use Samsung's EasyGPRS software to transfer graphics and ring tones to and from the PC and the phone. Also send and save pictures taken from the camera onto the PC. There are limited synchronization capabilities too. Import or export to Outlook and CSV. Although it isn't streamlined yet, it saves time from retyping a lot of information.
Bluetooth is noticeably absent. Most people are either one of two extremes on their opinions on Bluetooth. They either must have it or don't care about it. Without it, Bluetooth headsets, adapters, and accessories cannot be added. Additionally, Apple's iSync requires Bluetooth as well.
The text messaging capabilities are very good. However, nowadays every phone has the standard messaging features. MMS was once considered a luxury. But every phone has SMS, EMS, MMS, and chat.
One important feature noticeably missing from the E715 is an email client. However, it doesn't mean you won't be able to check email at all. Depending on your service provider, the E715 will most likely send email through the MMS client. But it is a far cry for POP3 and SMTP accounts.
The E715 has T9 predictive text input. So you don't have to type in ever single character. Each letter you press automatically compares your keystrokes with an internal linguistic dictionary to determine the correct word.
Overall the text messaging features are as good as it can be. But the lack of email is a huge disappointment and may drive many potential users away. T9 is will sure to speed up your typing. However the interlocking keypad will make typing slightly awkward.
The total available memory for pictures are around 4 MB. The pictures menu has the ability to store up to 100 to 150 pictures on the E715 depending on available memory. Attach pictures to your messages and send them off.
Nothing here is extraordinary here too. Everything every phone has. View up to 20 missed, incoming, and outgoing calls.
The camera is located on the front of the flip phone. And the color screen becomes a viewfinder for the camera. It has the ability to take pictures at VGA (640 x 480), QVGA (320 x 240), QQVGA (160 x 120), and Mobile (128 x 128) resolutions. Additionally you can change the quality of the images to Economy, Normal, Fine, or Super Fine, depending on how sharp and how large you want the pictures to turn out. Most high resolution pictures are around 75 - 80 KB while most are around 55 KB. Variations comes from the number of colors in the image.
There are many features present on the camera as well. To begin with, the E715 has a flash and zoom. The flash is a wonderful addition, as not many phones have a flash with the built-in camera. However, the E715 has a digital zoom, not optical. A digitally zoomed image will not actually zoom in with the lens, but rather crop the image to make it larger. So picture quality decreases. But still a cool feature to have.
Simple effects can be applied to pictures taken as well. Built-in filters such as Negative, Grey, Sepia, and Emboss, gives a bit of flexibility and creativity to taking pictures. Lastly, add fun frames to the photos. There are several to choose from.
Samsung phones have always come bundled with fantastic multimedia features, and the E715 is no exception. It has the ability to play up to an amazing 40 simultaneous chords. Ring tones sound just like real music. This menu allows you to assign and change sounds for all aspects of the phone.
The Phone Settings Menu is where all the customization takes place. Change how the E715 looks and sounds. Set wallpapers, assign ring tones, change caller profiles, or manage the phone security. Everything is self explanatory.
The E715 can transfer files from PC to either through infrared or data cable with Samsung's EasyGPRS software program. If you've had a previous Samsung, you may have used it before.
The Organizer Menu is pretty standard. Add appointments, set alarms, record messages to remind yourself later. There's nothing fancy. The To Do List lets you add items and choose from one of three priority levels. It organizes by priority, then alphabetically. Meanwhile, alarms can be set for one time, everyday, weekdays, or Mon through Sat. A nice feature is the Autopower feature which turns the phone on to wake you up in case it gets shut off.
This is where all the settings relating to network services are held. Select call forwarding, and call waiting options. Choose which network to be used when roaming, or have the E715 choose automatically.
The Funbox Menu is where you can browse the web, and play games. There are three preloaded games included on the E715. In Honey Ball, the object of the game is to break down all the honey blocks using the bat and ball. Catch the falling letters to improve your bat, and on the higher levels, watch out for bees. Go! Hamster's goal is to reveal the hidden picture by dividing off sections. Don't let any ghosts hit you or your dividing line, or you lose a life. Bowling is your standard 10 pin bowling game. Choose your character and your ball and play against a friend, the phone, or on your own.
Two Java games are also included in the phone. Many more Java games available on the Internet for download. SnowBallFight is exactly like it sounds. Each tournament earns you gold which can be spent on items to improve your chances in the next round. Work your way through the levels to become snowball champion. Bubblesmile is a puzzle game where you rotate the colored balls to create horizontal or diagonal lines of a single color of three or more. You can play against the clock with Timed Mode or choose Skilled Mode to see how many points you can score.
If you get tired of these games, don't worry. New ones can be downloaded and installed. The E715 supports J2ME mobile game platforms. Just download them through WAP, or transfer them through infrared.
Samsung follows suit with the E715. Like the V205 and S105 before that, The E715 has excellent sound quality. Incoming calls are crisp and clear. There are also no significant traces of background hiss common in GSM phones. Outgoing calls are just as clear in quiet environments, as in noisy ones. From a sound clarity perspective there are no major flaws or complaints.
Samsung has created a new type of internal antenna it calls an Intenna. The Intenna is a convergence design innovation, which includes the traditional functions of antennae, like the receiving function. It receives and transmits voice, data, images, and email, over a global wireless internet based network. All while being neatly concealed inside the phone.
But how does it perform. We're glad to say that the E715's Intenna has excellent RF performance. Compared to its predecessor, the E715 even outperforms the V205's external antenna. Compared to such phones as the Sony Ericsson T610 or Samsung S300, the E715 is in a league of its own. It can be safe to say that reception worries can be put to rest. The E715 will have no problems with reception from a hardware perspective. Tower distance and signal strength is another matter. The E715's Intenna is just as good as it claims.
- Bright and colorful 65,000 color TFT display. Although similar to the V205, its still one of the best on the market.
- Incredible sounding polyphonic ring tones. The E715 plays up to 40 simultaneous tones, and contains one of the largest tone banks on the market. It sounds so realistic that you'd think they might be MP3s.
- Lots of camera features. Although the picture quality of the camera is average, features such as zoom, built-in flash, filters, and frames give the E715 added flexibility and customizability that makes camera phones fun.
- Solid messaging functionality. SMS, MMS, and EMS are included. What more could you ask for?
- Enormous 9 MB of internal memory. Much of it is partitioned, but plenty of room to store pictures, ring tones, and games.
- Excellent reception and sound quality. The new Intenna provides reception comparable to an external antenna, but with the sharp looks that an internal antenna provide.
- Downloadable Java games. The E715 has the J2ME game platform. There are currently already hundreds of games available online already. Some are free for download, some require a fee.
- No email client. If you plan on setting up POP3, IMAP4, or SMTP accounts, the E715 doesn't come with a 3rd party client. The closest thing to email it has is through MMS and your service provider.
- Weak audio capabilities. Lack of speakerphone, FM radio, and MP3 player.
- No Bluetooth. If you don't need it then its no big deal.
While not perfect, Samsung has released a solid phone. The E715 comes at a time when there is stiff competition from many great phones on the market. The Sony Ericsson T610, Nokia 3300, and Siemens SL55 are a few to name. But the E715 had large shoes to fill. The V205 before it had many amazing features. It had a 65,000 color screen, 40 chord polyphonic ring tones, and rotating camera.
While these features look oddly familiar in the E715 specs, many improvements have been made to make it even better. For instance, a built-in flash and improved OLED front screen, and downloadable J2ME games were added. And internal memory was increased.
Typically the aesthetics of phone design has conflicted with the functionality of the external antenna. And many people have wanted strong reception, but have sacrificed it for the more appealing internal antenna look. But the E715 combines the best of both worlds. The reception is truly exceptional for an internal antenna. In some cases better than some external antenna phones. With the Intenna, will get what they've wanted for years now.
Samsung has kept many strengths of the V205 as in the E715. The bright and crisp 65,000 color screen and 40 tone polyphonic ring tones are still top of the line. However the phone has not been able to keep up with the audio capabilities of other competitors. Nowadays phones have built-in FM radios, MP3 players, and speakerphones. All mysteriously missing from the E715's application menus.
Nevertheless, Samsung has listened to its customers and fixed some flaws the V205 had. It made synchronization and connectivity much easier, and added support for the J2ME downloadable game platform.
Overall, the E715 is a great phone. The major factors such as design, screen, ring tones, messaging, and connectivity are all one of the best in the market. However, with a few missing features here and there, the E715 becomes vulnerable to competition Most notably the lack of Bluetooth, audio features, and email. Many phone users will be more than happy the E715. However, users with specific needs might be turned away by one of the missing features. ♦
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August 01, 2005
I've had my E715 for about a year now. I love it because I can stick it in my pocket and not have anything poking out (antenna). I love the size, it's great. The camera isn't great but I bought it for a phone. I already have a camera.
The reason I say don't buy it is. The inside LCD screen goes bad after a while using it. You'll be lucky to get through with your 1 year contract before you have contrast issues with the screen. You start getting little white lines... everywhere. I thought it was just my phone, but I took it to T-Mobile and they said that everyone they know that has one for a while has the same issue. The guy there pulled his out and same thing! I called T-Mobile and I might be sending it in for the second time to fix it. First time didn't fix it. I asked what says that it'll get fixed this time? He said that after 3 times they give me a refurbished unit. Great. So I can keep sending that one back in? No thanks! Do yourself a favor. Buy a different phone. Again, great phone, if you want just a phone. It just has bad hardware.
The calendar isn't so great and the alarms either. But I just use it for a phone... my only phone. I don't have a landline so I use it for about 600 minutes a month. It works great, other than the LCD. I can't really read it that well.Was this review helpful to you?
35 out of 39 people found this review helpful.
September 06, 2006
I bought my Samsung E715 back in December of 2003, so it was a while ago. But come December of 2004 and my screen started going out, so I went to exchange it. Well T-Mobile said they wouldn't replace, it even though my contract expired three days earlier. It's definitely a great looking phone, but it's not worth the money.
I agree with the first post that the screen has a very short life and the battery is not that great either. Also, I have to charge it every night, otherwise it will go dead that next day. And the pictures are very poor quality, so I would say the overall quality of the phone isn't that great, but I love the way the phone looks!Was this review helpful to you?
26 out of 29 people found this review helpful.
December 31, 2003
Really Good Phone
First off, this is the first cell phone I have ever purchased for my own personal use. It was a step up from the monochrome Nokia with few features that worked extremely well for what it was.
I've had this phone for approximately a week, and so far it has been really good. Reception and signal have been great; the battery has lasted for a long time although it does charge quite often when not in use. The camera has great ability although picture quality is less than to be desired even in the Super Fine setting (although some of that may be my own shaky hand). The flash works extremely well, and if you have to use this camera in an emergency or on a moment's notice, it will do the job quite nicely.
The phone is fairly ergonomic, and this being my first flip phone, I am not fat-fingering hardly anything. Compared with the LG VX6000 and the previous Samsung V205, you will notice on this phone that there is padding in the areas where the phone would contact itself when in the closed and open positions, reducing impact and possible internal damages and external marring. Very slick idea seeing as I haven't seen another phone yet with anything like that.
Overall I'm happy with the phone. I got it for under $100, and for the price I don't think it could be beat.Was this review helpful to you?
40 out of 45 people found this review helpful.
February 28, 2005
Beautiful and Classy
I just got my T-Mobile Samsung E715, and first of all I have to say is that it's really beautiful and classy with his camera in the middle top and his OLED black screen. You open the folder to find a quite big screen of a very good quality.
The ringtones are of a good quality even not being MP3 and support up to 40 instruments at a time! However, the lack of composer may bother some Nokia adepts, so you'll have to get your ringtones using IR or cable. The camera is a built-in 640-by-480 pixel max resolution with a max of 65,000 colors, which offers a good photos quality. The "flash" (actually it's just a very bright light), the "zoom" (digital and not optical), the frames and effects and the multi-shot are such a cool features. However, you can't record videos although it was present in some previous versions (E710).
Overall: the E715 is good for a basic user who doesn't need too much customization. Try it and you'll love it!
Unfortunately, the keypad is a little small, so it makes it hard to use. However, you'll easily get familiar with it. The battery life is fair (about three days in standby, two days if used).Was this review helpful to you?
35 out of 40 people found this review helpful.
January 21, 2004
One of the Best
In my opinion the E715 is one of the best, if not the best, phone on the market right now. In comparison to my old S105, the E715 holds calls much better, has a ton more memory (I’m addicted to downloading ringtones), better screen and better folding design. Comparing it to my friend's V205, it takes better pictures (not a replacement for a real camera), again the memory is much better; i.e. more pictures wallpapers and ringtones.
I'd say the only downside is the small keypad is a little harder to write messages on, no big deal. I'm pretty sure it's durable because I ran my S105 over with a van and it was fine. Battery life seemed weak at first but after charging overnight from dead it was much better. I can usually go 48 hours between charges on average usage. Unless you need Bluetooth or voice dialing this is the phone to have.Was this review helpful to you?
26 out of 32 people found this review helpful.
September 21, 2006
Can't Depend on It
This a very slick phone with good looks and a good camera resolution. But it's definitely not the one you can depend on. It's not durable at all.
I completely agree with A. Hardin. I bought my Samsung E715 in September 2004 and it was around August that I started facing problems with the screen. If I start writing a text, all of a sudden everything is cancelled and it goes back to the main screen.Was this review helpful to you?
18 out of 25 people found this review helpful.
August 01, 2004
I had the E715 for two days before taking it back.
I found that every time I wanted to send a text, I had to change to predictive text -- every time! The last three or four phones I've had had a menu option so you don't have to change the input method every time. I also found the lack of profiles annoying. Nice enough phone but lacked two pretty basic features.Was this review helpful to you?
21 out of 31 people found this review helpful.
March 21, 2004
A few flaws
The E715 is a great phone with stylish features. But there are a few flaws:
1. Very short battery life... a day if you are lucky.
2. If you close the phone when you're done talking. It takes an additional two seconds for the phone to disconnect the call... very annoying.
3. Mysterious lack of audio capabilities. No radio, no MP3 and no speakerphone.
However, this phone is still a great phone with a huge amount of memory.Was this review helpful to you?
17 out of 30 people found this review helpful.
October 05, 2006
Never Again, Samsung
I'm calling for all people who own or have owned an E715 and had issues with the screen fading to contact the BBB and Samsung for a recall or replacement of product. After two months of arguing I was sent the new T609.
This started as a faulty product issue. I purchased three E715s over a year and a half ago. Since that time my wife and I have exchanged these phones for the same reason (faded screen) several times while under warranty. Now the warranty was up and the issue was still there.
It is clear that Samsung should have recalled these phones over a year ago. I have several friends and co-workers that have or had the same phones and all have the same issue. After numerous attempts to contact Samsung, I finally received a call. After explaining to him the issue and letting him know that I would go on all the online forums and petition for a recall of this phone he agreed to fix the phones.
This was on July 24 and I received the package with return label to send my phones in. After a week without a reply, I called to inquire on the progress, I was originally told that the phones will be "flashed," then sent back overnight. Samsung said that "one is fixed but the other one cannot be fixed." I wasn't happy, but I said okay, go ahead and send them back.
He said that they'd be out the next day. Now on August 23, still no phones. I called again only to be told that my phones were lost. Samsung agreed to overnight a similar model the next day. On the 25th, I called to make sure phones were shipped; Samsung said that "we don't have that model available right now." I did not get the phones requested.Was this review helpful to you?
12 out of 32 people found this review helpful.
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