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Samsung S7330 review: Samsung S7330

The S7330 is little more than a basic mobile phone with a flashy-looking touch panel for navigation. It works well but it's a little pricey for the phone you actually get.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

Design

After employing the dual-screen layout on its Olympic flagship phone the U900 last year, Samsung seemed to have left the concept alone. By rights, the S7330 should have followed closely behind the U900, but since it's been a year between the release of these two phones, seeing the dual-screens now seems kind of novel again. Not that we loved the mini-touchscreen on the U900, the idea of replacing the standard navigation toggle with a context sensitive touchscreen makes scanning the menu a little clumsy in our opinion.

6.8

Samsung S7330

The Good

Sharp, colourful display. Good battery life. HSDPA (3.6Mbps). Solid basic phone performance.

The Bad

No GPS. No 3.5mm headphone socket. Basic media functions only.

The Bottom Line

The S7330 is probably $100 too expensive for a basic phone, though we can't fault its limited functionality.The context-sensitive touch panel doesn't detract from the S7330 at all, but it doesn't add anything special either.

The main screen is a 2.2-inch QVGA display, and though this is nothing to make a fuss about, it is quite sharp and colourful. The second screen is about an inch diagonally, and the on-screen icons change depending on what screen you're in. From the home screen you have four shortcuts: contacts, messages, profiles, and a quick Google search. In the main menu these icons change to directional controls and an OK button, but in the camera they change again to give you one-touch access to common photographic tools, like focus and brightness.

The shape of this slider phone is very similar to the G600 of last year, the keypad under the slide is similarly flat and is a pain to navigate thanks to its tiny-sized keys. The S7330's 3-megapixel camera is located on the back and under the slide, which is protected when the case is closed. There's no 3.5mm headphone port — the bundled headphones are inserted into the charging port — and the S7330 supports memory expansion via a microSD card slot.

Features

At its core the S7330 is a basic mobile phone. It features world-roaming network support; 800/900/1800/1900MHz GSM network compatibility, and it supports dual UMTS networks as well; 850MHz and 2100MHz frequencies. The 850MHz network means the S7330 can access Telstra's Next G network in theory, although the S7330 is currently a 3 Mobile exclusive in Australia.

The S7330 supports MP3, AAC and WMA music files, and will playback MPEG4 and WMV video files as well. If you have a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones you can connect them to this phone using the A2DP Stereo Bluetooth profile or take advantage of the built-in FM radio tuner to listen to your favourite shock jocks on the way to work.

Performance

The secondary input screen seems like overkill to us, but thankfully it doesn't hold the phone back in regards to its performance. Each new screen from the menu opens quickly, with the input screen following suit and is ready to use almost immediately after a new selection. Scrolling long lists with the touchscreen is more cumbersome than it would be with a regular joystick, not that it's slower per se, but there is a tiny amount of input lag so it takes more concentration to hit the correct name in your address book of a hundred-plus friends, for example.

The web browser is standard Samsung fare — it's great for browsing low-weight pages, and Google search results look great, but large web pages refuse to play nice, with the browser warning us of sites being too large to view correctly. This means the S7330 is best left to basic browsing; the kind you do when you're cheating at your local pub's trivia night. Call quality was fine during our testing period and Samsung rates the 880mAh battery at seven hours talk-time, which seems a lot, though admittedly there isn't much to do with the phone beyond making calls and sending messages. During our tests we saw about three to four days between charges.

Overall

Thanks to the colourful secondary input screen, the S7330 will look good on the shelf at your mobile phone store, but it's probably $100 more expensive than it should be. There's plenty of great HSDPA capable phones at around the $250 mark, like 3 Mobile's INQ1, and the S7330 doesn't have the competitive edge over any phone at this lower price point. If the S7330 had better hardware, like GPS, or media components like a headphone port then it might be worth the extra money, but as it stands, it only has the secondary input screen to hang its hat on, and this is more flashy gimmick than a revolution in the way we interact with mobile phones. If you are thinking of going on a plan with 3, pay an extra $5 per month and get the excellent Samsung F480 instead.