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Samsung Convoy SCH-U640 (Verizon Wireless) review:

Samsung Convoy SCH-U640 (Verizon Wireless)

The 2-megapixel camera takes pictures in five resolutions, from 1,600x1,200 down to 160x120. Other editing options include a self-timer, three quality settings, five color effects, four white balance choices, a 10x digital zoom, an adjustable ISO, spot metering, and a brightness meter. You also get several shooting modes--divided multishot, autoshot, and panoramic--and a selection of shutter sounds. The camcorder has a smaller number of editing options. Videos for a multimedia message are capped at 60 seconds, but you can shoot for longer in standard mode.

The Convoy has very nice photo quality.

Photo quality was very good for a 2-megapixel shooter. Colors were bright and there was little to no image noise. Some of our shots had a slight pinkish tone, but that was our only complaint. Just remember that without a flash, you'll need to have enough light to get a decent image. Videos were fine, but nothing great. You can transfer images off the phone in a message, via Bluetooth, or through a wired connection to your computer. Verizon also gives you an online album. The Convoy has a respectable 90MB of integrated shared memory and can accommodate microSD cards up to 16GB.

As an EV-DO phone, the Convoy supports the full range of Verizon's 3G services, including V Cast streaming video content, and the V Cast Music with Rhapsody. Both the V Cast menu and music store interface are pretty much unchanged from other Verizon phones. Player options include the usual limited shuffle and repeat modes, but V Cast Music also will recommend other songs based on your playlist. The Convoy includes an airplane mode for listening to your tunes while aloft.

The Convoy can take a self-portrait, but it doesn't have a flash.

You can personalize the Convoy with a banner, wallpaper, and display themes. The Convoy doesn't come with any additional games or applications, but you can download options form Verizon with the WAP 2.0 browser.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) Samsung Convoy in San Francisco using Verizon service. Call quality was quite respectable on the whole. The signal was clear and strong, voices sounded natural and the volume was sufficiently loud. We also didn't encounter any interference from other electronic devices. We used the phone in a variety of places and could hear clearly in each one. Honesty, we have no gripes. The Convoy is compatible with M4 and T4 hearing aids.

On their end, callers said we sounded great as well. We heard no complaints even when we were calling from a noisy place. Some couldn't tell we were using a cell phone. Speakerphone quality also was admirable. The external speaker gets quite loud and the audio remained clear on both ends. We also were pleased with Bluetooth headset calls and with the quality of the voice-command feature.

The 3G connection was shaky when downloading music tracks from the V Cast Music Store. It took almost 2 minutes to download a 3.73MB song, which is quite long. But once the music was on the phone we were impressed with the quality, both over the external speaker and headphones.

The Convoy has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 22.37 days standby time. Our tested talk time is much longer at 7 hours and 32 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Convoy has a digital SAR of 0.912 watt per kilogram.

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