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Samsung Mondi SWD-M100

>> Thursday, September 3, 2009

Samsung Mondi SWD-M100's size. At 4.88 inches by 3.03 inches by 0.63 inch and 6.39 ounces, it's bigger than any cell phone that's crossed our desk in years. It won't fit in your pocket and it will take up significant space in a purse or a backpack. Some reviewers have rightfully griped that Samsung Mondi SWD-M100 is too big, but we don't see any way around it. And in any case, we figure that those who want Samsung Mondi SWD-M100 will know what they're getting. On the upside, Samsung Mondi SWD-M100 has a solid construction in the hand, and its slider mechanism has a sturdy feel.

It doesn't click into place at either end, but we slipped it open and closed a few times without hearing any squeaks. On the other hand, the kickstand on the Mondi's rear face feels a tad flimsy it's easy to knock Samsung Mondi SWD-M100 down if you hit it from the left side. The battery cover is also a bit tricky to pry off, but that's a minor point. Samsung Mondi SWD-M100's biggest design attraction is its 4.3 inch display. With support for 16 million colors (800x480 pixels), it's both bright and vibrant with sharp graphics, colors, and photos.

You can change the font size and the brightness and you can assign photos from the camera as wallpaper. The touch screen is responsive, and you can align the interface if you wish. Most icons and touch buttons are big enough for you to use your finger, but you'll need the stylus for the window scroll bars. We found it easiest to use the stylus constantly. The touch screen offers vibration feedback and you can adjust the intensity. As previously mentioned, we're not thrilled that Samsung chose Windows Mobile 6.1.

For the uninitiated it can be a nightmare to find your way around, but even longtime Windows Mobile users will find it clunky and archaic. For instance, we encountered our own frustrations with searching for files and accessing certain settings. Samsung masks Windows Mobile somewhat with a customizable TouchWiz widget bar and an attractive top level "bubble" interface that shows your messages, e-mails, VoIP calls, and appointments.

We also like the Samsung designed menus that display your contacts and Opera browser bookmarks in a Cover Flow like design that's reminiscent of the iPhone's. Once past those screens, however, the familiar Windows Mobile interface greets you. Not only is it a letdown, but it's also rather schizophrenic. For example, behind the Samsung designed menu that you can customize with your favorite features, you'll need to access the standard Programs menu to access additional features.

It's the same story with the Settings menu you can access some options through an attractive Samsung menu, but you must access the Windows Mobile page to get other options. The experience is jarring and somewhat frustrating. You can enter text in a number of ways. Besides the full physical keyboard behind the sliding face (we'll get to that in a minute), there are two on screen keyboards and three options for entering text using a graffiti method. The first keyboard comes courtesy of Samsung. It features large buttons that allow you to use your fingers and eight additional keyboards for numbers and symbols.

The space bar is small, but we could tap away rapidly. On the other hand, we don't like that the keyboard pops up automatically each time you tap a text entry field. It even appears if you have the slider open. There's also a tiny Windows Mobile keyboard that takes up just a quarter of the display we can't imagine why you'd want to use it. The graffiti options Transcriber, Block Recognizer, and Letter Recognizer are easy enough to use.

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