The 3.2-megapixel camera takes pictures in six resolutions, from 2,048x1,536 down to 320x240. Other features include a self timer, six color effects, 44 fun frames, a macro setting, multishot and mosaic shot modes, exposure metering, three image quality choices, brightness and white balance settings, an adjustable ISO, and a digital zoom. There's also a selection of camera sounds--or you can turn them off entirely. The camera menus were somewhat quirky. The U600 is unique among camera phones (but not standalone cameras) in that it shows its menus in landscape mode. That's not a minus at all, but it does require an adjustment. Also, some menu items are broken off into a separate area that requires a lot of clicks. Photo quality was quite good.
Criticisms aside, the U600 offers a business-card reader that scans information from a card and saves it directly to your contacts list. It didn't work perfectly, and we wouldn't expect it to, but it's nonetheless useful. There's also an image editor and image stamp for laying text over a photo.
The camcorder shoots clips with sound in four resolutions, from 352x288 down to 128x96. You're awarded a set of editing options similar to the still camera and you can shoot clips in two lengths. Videos meant for multimedia messages are capped at about 1 minute, 45 seconds, or you can record for as long as the available memory will permit. And speaking of which, the U600 offers 60MB of shared memory. That's a decent amount of storage, but we suggest investing in a microSD card.
The U600's music player is pretty basic. The interface is minimalist and doesn't offer visualizations or album art. Features aren't extensive, either; you can use the shuffle or repeat modes, rate individual tracks, create playlists, and adjust the equalizer. Loading on the music is relatively easy using a USB cable but it was disappointing you can't use your own headphones due to the U600's proprietary jack. And better headphones would be nice as the U600's music quality is mediocre both through the phone's speakers and the included ear buds On the other hand, we were grateful for the included FM radio.
You can personalize with a variety of clock styles, background colors, wallpapers, color skins, and alert tones. You can download more options and more ringtones with the WAP 20 wireless Web browser. The U600 comes with a decent selection of Java (J2ME) games. Titles include BobbyCarrot, TimeRider II, Asphalt Urban GT, Midnight Pool, Minigolf Las Vegas, and Tetris.
We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Samsung U600 in San Francisco using AT&T service. Call quality was acceptable though not spectacular by any stretch. Though we didn't hear much static, the sound output was a little weak. It's not that the volume was too low, in fact it wasn't, but the sound was somewhat hollow, and voices didn't sound quite natural. It wasn't a huge problem but we still noticed it. On their end callers said we sounded fine, and automated voice systems could understand us. The only issue callers reported was that they couldn't hear us unless we spoke close to the phone. Speakerphone calls weren't great. They sounded muffled, and callers had trouble hearing us. Also, it takes far too many clicks to activate speakerphone when you're on a call.
At times we noticed the U600's menus were a tad sluggish. Opening menus and scrolling between options could take a couple seconds. That may not sound like a lot, but over time it can be taxing.
The Samsung U600 has a battery life life of 3.5 hours talk time and 10.4 days standby time. The tested talk time went a little longer at 4 hours and 38 minutes.