Samsung marks new territory with its DM-S110 and DM-S105 phones, by breaking into Disney Mobile for the first time. Where previously the MVNO carrier had been the sole domain of LG and Pantech, Samsung is now making a foothold. Its first handsets for the mobile mouse are nothing new--they're basically retreads of Sprint's Samsung M300--and they share the same feature set between them. We examined the DM-S110 for this review, but our observations are applicable for either handset. Both models are $19.99 with service.
Since Disney Mobile piggybacks on Sprint's network, it makes perfect sense that it would borrow a few handsets from the carrier. It's happened once before--the DM-L200 is a copy of the LG LX350--and now we see it again with both the Samsung DM-S110 and DM-S105. From the outside, both phones are almost identical to the Samsung SPH-M300; they sport the same dimensions (3.6 inches by 1.9 inches by 0.7 inch; 2.6 ounces) with the same exterior features, including the mirrored front. Yet Disney has put its personal stamp on both phones. The DM-S110 is pink while the DM-S105 is silver, and both have a design of interlocking stars on the front face. The DM-S110 is the more attractive of the two, but both offer Disney customers a bit of much-needed style.
The external display supports 65,000 colors and measures 1 inch (96x96 pixels). The display shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID, and also works as a self-portrait viewfinder for the camera. Above the display is the camera lens, while the volume rocker sits on the left spine. Over on the right spine are a covered headset jack, a camera shutter, and the charger jack.
The internal display, navigation array, and keypad are also carried over from the SPH-M300. The former measures 2 inches (128x160 pixels) and supports 65,000 colors. It's not the most vivid display we've seen, but it's more than acceptable for a midrange phone. The Disney Mobile menu interface has a simple, attractive design where everything is easy to find. The navigation array and keypad buttons are completely flat with the surface of the phone, but they have a fair amount of texture, which makes them tactile and easy to use. Our only complaint concerned the Back button; it's a tad small. For a full analysis of the display and controls, see our SPH-M300 review.
The DM-S110 has a 500-contact phone book, with room in each entry for four numbers and two e-mail addresses. You can assign contacts to groups, or pair them with a photo and one of 10 polyphonic ring tones for a caller ID. Other basic features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a voice recorder, an alarm clock, a notepad, a calculator, a stopwatch, and a world clock, while Bluetooth and a speakerphone round out the higher-end options.
The DM-S110 uses the same VGA camera as does the SPH-M300. There's a choice of three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 224x168), three quality levels (fine, normal, and economy), brightness and white balance controls, six color tones, five shutter sounds, and a self timer. There's no flash here either, but you do get a night-shot mode. Photo quality was below average, much like the SPH-M300. Unfortunately, the DM-S110 does not offer video recording capabilities.
It wouldn't be a Disney phone without Disney content. The Entertainment portion features access to Disney (and non-Disney) ringtones, images, wallpaper, color themes, and applications. You also get access to Disney Zone, a Web portal with Disney Radio and other applications, such as Disney Trivial Pursuit. Four demo games are included (Bejewled, BlockBreaker, Lilo and Stitch, and Tetris), though you can download more.
As with all Disney Mobile phones, the DM-S110 has a number of features that are exclusive to the carrier. Parents will find the phone's Family Center service incredibly useful in keeping track of their kids and monitoring their calls. They can control their children's phones by limiting minutes, messaging options, and downloads, and even receive an alert when these boundaries are met. Parents can also prohibit outgoing calls to certain numbers and schedule time limits on a child's phone. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Family Center service is the Family Locater, which utilizes GPS technology to keep track of the kids. Parents can even use the Family Alert, which sends a message to one or all family members simultaneously. These additional services vary in cost, so check out our review of the Pantech DM-P100 for the full scoop on Disney Mobile's pricing scales.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) DM-S110 in San Francisco using Sprint's service. The call quality was quite similar to the SPH-M300. We could hear our callers plainly without any noticeable static or interference. Callers didn't report any problems on their end either, and the volume level was fine on both sides. The speakerphone worked marginally better than on the SPH-M300, but it remained uneven.
The Samsung DM-S110 has a rated battery life of three hours talk time and a tested talk time of 3 hours and 17 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the DM-S110 has a digital SAR rating of 1.46 watts per kilogram.