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Samsung Rogue SCH-U960 (Verizon Wireless) review: Samsung Rogue SCH-U960 (Verizon Wireless)

Since the Rogue comes with EV-DO Rev. A, it supports all of Verizon's V Cast broadband services, like V Cast Video, where you can watch streaming videos from a variety of content providers, and V Cast Music with Rhapsody that lets you purchase and download songs over the air. Each song is $1.99, which includes a download to the PC as well. If you prefer to load your own songs to the Rogue, you can do so via a microSD card--it supports up to 16GB cards. The Rogue supports MP3, WMA, and unprotected AAC and AAC+ formats.

We're quite pleased with the music player overall. It's easy to use, and the songs are automatically categorized by albums, artists, and genres. You can set the songs to shuffle or repeat, and you can create and edit playlists on the fly. The interface is simple, with the album art in the center and the player controls underneath. You can also search through your songs with the included search tool. However, you can't multitask with the music player active in the background. There's also a video player on here that can play H.264-encoded videos.

Another application that benefits from the EV-DO Rev. A support is of course the full HTML Web browser. It was a pleasure to use, with smooth and easy scrolling plus the ability to zoom in and out of pages just by using the camera zoom controls at the top. However, we did notice that in more complex Web pages, scrolling can be a little sluggish. You can use the search function, add bookmarks, and set the page to fixed width if you like. We also like that you can copy and paste text in the browser. More advanced users will like the browser's newsfeed feature that you can customize with all your favorite newsfeeds. Perhaps more interesting is that the Rogue's HTML browser also supports a version of Flash Lite that lets you watch streaming videos from sources like YouTube and CNET TV.

The Samsung Rogue has a 3.0-megapixel camera with a flash LED and a self-portrait mirror.

We were definitely impressed with the Rogue's 3.0-megapixel camera. Photo quality was really good, with sharp edges and vibrant colors. The camera can take pictures in eight resolutions, from 2,048x1536 all the way to 320x240. You also get three quality settings, auto focus plus macro focus, an autoshot mode, a self-timer, an adjustable ISO of up to ISO 400, three metering options, and settings for brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness. Other camera goodies include a ready sound, five color effects, up to 10x digital zoom, three shutter sounds with a silent option, and five shooting modes (single shot, multishot, panorama shot, mosaic shot, and frame shot). Since there's a flash LED, you can of course enable flash as well.

The Samsung Rogue has good photo quality.

The camcorder can record in two modes: one for saving and one for sending as a multimedia message. In MMS mode, you can record in 176x144 resolution only; in "save" mode, you can record in either 320x240 or 640x480 resolution. You can adjust the self-timer, the color effects, the white balance, the brightness, and the flash LED. We were quite pleased with the video quality overall, though it was choppy at times. Colors looked great and there was little blur. Video is good enough for sharing on YouTube or Facebook.

You can personalize the Rogue with a variety of graphics and sounds for wallpaper and ringtones. You can get more from Verizon's online store. The same goes if you ever want more games or applications. The Rogue comes with a few games already, like Need for Speed Undercover, Resident Evil: Degeneration, and Tetris. There's also a handy Dice application that substitutes for real dice if you're ever in need of them.

We tested the Samsung Rogue in San Francisco using the Verizon Wireless service. Call quality was very impressive overall. On our end, callers sounded great, with hardly any static or interference. They sounded natural, and the volume was good enough in most situations.

On the callers' side of things, they said we sounded really good. Some even said it was close to landline quality. They said our voice sounded natural, and they didn't hear too much noise in the background. Automated-calling systems had no trouble recognizing our voice.

As for the speakerphone, callers could still hear us loud and clear. The voice quality was no longer so natural, however, and had a bit more of a harsh tone. Still, it sounded great for the most part. On our end, we thought callers sounded good with plenty of volume, with perhaps a bit of a tinny undertone. The same goes with audio playback--overall sound quality was fine, but the lack of bass makes most songs sound a bit flat. We definitely recommend a headset for the best audio quality.

EV-DO Rev. A makes downloading songs and loading Web pages a breeze. We downloaded a 1.5MB song in just a little more than 30 seconds, and loading a complicated Web page like CNET's front door took around 10 seconds. Streaming video had a very short buffering time as well. Still, video quality wasn't that great. They looked very pixelated and blurry, especially when there's a lot of movement.

The Rogue has a rated battery life of 4.7 hours talk time and 12.5 days standby time. Our tests showed the Rogue had a talk time of 4 hours and 49 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Rogue has a digital SAR of 1.36 watts per kilogram.

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