Samsung hits a Highnote

Samsung's new Highnote offers a music player in an appealing slider design.

The Samsung's Highnote's most prominent feature is its scrollwheel. Sprint

Samsung has been spinning out new cell phones left and right since the start of the month, but it is using the CTIA fall 2008 show to showcase its newest and flashiest models.

One of its most promising handsets is the new Samsung Highnote for Sprint. Positioned as a music phone to replace the Samsung Upstage and the LG Muziq, the Highnote offers all the usual comforts of a Sprint music phone including access to the Sprint Music Store. Other features include a 2-megapixel camera, a 262,000-color display, a 3.5mm headset jack (yay!), support for Sprint's 3G EV-DO network and Sprint TV, messaging and e-mail, Sprint's new One Click interface, personal organizer options, stereo Bluetooth, a Web browser, speaker-independent voice dialing and support for Microsoft Live Search.

But the real appeal of the Highnote comes from its sharp and sturdy design, which we had a chance to examine yesterday. Available in blue or red, the slider phone casts a slim profile (4.0 inches by 1.9 inches by 0.6 inch). Yet there's more to this handset than meets the eye. Similar to what we first saw in the Nokia N95, the Highnote has a dual slider design. Slide it up to expose the keyboard and slide it down to show stereo speakers. On the whole, it appears to work quite well.

The Samsung Highnote shows its speaker Sprint

The navigation array is also worth a look. Inside a raised silver ring is a nifty, user-friendly scrollwheel that allows for easy menu navigation. Unlike the Upstage, the Musiq, and the LG Fuziq, all of which just teased us with something that just looked like a scrollwheel, you can actually move your finger all the way around the Highnote's wheel in a full circle. What's more, since it's not a touch control you also can use the wheel as a toggle by pressing in the traditional up, down, left, and right directions. A convenient OK button sits in the middle of the toggle.

The silver ring surrounding the toggle isn't quite what it seems, either. It's actually composed of four controls: a clear button, two soft keys and the Talk and End/power keys. yet, we had mixed feelings about these controls. Though we like their location and tactile feel, the individual buttons are thin and the whole arrangement seems a tad cramped. We'll save our final verdict until we give the Highnote a full shakedown.

The Highnote will be available next month for an affordable price of $99 with service. We'll have a full review just as soon as Sprint places a Highnote in our hands.

About the author

Senior Managing Editor Kent German leads the CNET Reviews editors in San Francisco. A veteran of CNET since 2003, he still writes about the wireless industry and occasionally his passion for commercial aviation.

 

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