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Samsung Intrepid SPH-i350 (Sprint)

>> Thursday, December 10, 2009

Samsung Intrepid SPH-i350 (Sprint) isn't much of a looker. It measures 2.4 by 4.9 by 0.5 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.3 ounces. It's finished in black plastic with a dark chrome band around the front panel edge. The 2.6 inch plastic resistive touch screen offers just 320 by 240 pixel resolution. It's small and stubborn enough that you'll need the stylus tucked into the bottom right corner for just about anything not on the home screen or main menu (more on that later).

Six function keys bracket a large, rectangular five way control pad all were easy to press in regular use. The four row QWERTY keyboard felt a little cheap, but it was fine for modest typing chores. As a dual-band EV-DO Rev A (800/1900 MHz), quad-band GSM (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) and UMTS (2100 MHz) device, Samsung Intrepid SPH-i350 (Sprint) is a true world phone just as its namesake implies. It also includes Wi-Fi. Voice quality was solid in both directions, with a trebly, crisp tone in the earpiece and good wind rejection.

Reception was average. Annoyingly, the OS couldn't keep up with dialing numbers all the tone sounds piled up a second or two afterward and cut each other off. The booming speakerphone was plenty loud for outdoor use. Calls sounded fine through a Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset. Battery life was excellent at 6 hours and 34 minutes of talk time.

Windows Mobile, Business Support, and Apps
Without the proper tuning a la HTC TouchFLO or Samsung TouchWiz, Windows Mobile looks archaic. Version 6.5 brought a much needed refresh to the home screen which actually looks and works nicely, with its larger buttons and clearer fonts. But the rest of the OS remains ugly and outdated right down to the old school touch screen calibration process on first start up. At least Internet Explorer Mobile 6 is slightly improved from earlier horrific versions, and even renders static

Flash content in a pinch. But it renders desktop pages very slowly and hangs up loading scripts, and the touch screen controls still feel like an afterthought. As a proper Microsoft powered smartphone, Samsung Intrepid SPH-i350 (Sprint) views, creates, and edits Microsoft Word and Excel documents, and views PowerPoint files. It connects to Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server accounts for Direct Push e-mail.

The Intrepid isn't a bad smartphone for third party apps, thanks to its 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7600 processor, 266MB of free internal storage, and 193MB of total RAM, with a generous 153MB available for user programs. A microSD card is located underneath the battery cover and off to the side. You have to pull the battery to swap cards, which is a royal pain. An ill fitting battery cover compounded the misery it always took five or six tries to seat properly. Multimedia fans get the usual compliment of Sprint Power Vision services, including dozens of Sprint TV channels (live and simulcast), Sprint NFL Mobile Live, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile.

The GPS radio hooks into the TeleNav powered Sprint Navigation for voice enabled, turn by turn directions. Samsung Intrepid SPH-i350 (Sprint) locked onto my location quickly and spoke clearly, although the low-res screen and Windows Mobile's fixed upper and lower UI bars made for a tiny map window. Sprint included quick links to Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr for social networking duties. Instant messaging was a disappointment, the tabbed interface works with AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo accounts, but charges for each message as a 20 cent SMS.

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