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Samsung SCH-i730 (Verizon Wireless) review: Samsung SCH-i730 (Verizon Wireless)

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The Good Five-way wireless support (IrDA, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, CDMA 1xRTT, and EV-DO); speakerphone; comfortable slide-out QWERTY thumb keyboard; two batteries included; excellent third-party software support.

The Bad No support for modem use with a laptop; Wi-Fi and phone can't work simultaneously; Wi-Fi is a battery hog; no camera in initial Verizon release.

The Bottom Line Small, light, and powerful, the Samsung SCH-i730's high-speed data support and built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi make it an excellent choice for those who have to stay connected at all times, though the crippled Bluetooth support may spoil the party for laptop road warriors.

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8.3 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 8
  • Performance 8

Samsung SCH-i730 (Verizon)

The Samsung SCH-i730 for Verizon Wireless manages a pretty impressive feat: It shrinks a Windows Mobile-based smart phone into a form factor that actually fits comfortably in your pants pocket and includes broadband wireless, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a built-in keyboard, and a speedy processor. Despite some irritating quirks in its wireless support, the Samsung i730 stays in the running for the "Treo killer" title. The Samsung SCH-i730 is much smaller than typical Windows Mobile-based handhelds; only the diminutive I-mate Jam is smaller, but the Jam lacks the i730's keyboard and Wi-Fi support. In fact, other than being slightly thicker, the i730 is virtually identical in size to Palm's popular Treo 650. At 2.28 by 0.97 by 4.49 inches and 6.4 ounces, the i730 is close in size to other Windows Mobile-based smart phones, but it has the touch screen and the full Windows Mobile application compatibility that many smart phones lack.

The well-designed i730 is destined to give the Treo 650 a run for its money.

With the slider closed, the i730 is relatively small.

The i730's screen resolution is lower than the Treo 650's (240x320 pixels vs. 320x320 for the Treo), but its 2.8-inch rectangular screen is better for Web browsing and video playback than the Treo's square display, particularly when using the Windows Mobile 2003 SE screen-rotation feature, which lets you easily switch the screen between Landscape and Portrait modes. Though the screen is on the smallish side, it's extremely bright and sharp.

With a cool black and silver design, the i730 sports a large display.

It's hard to avoid Treo comparisons when discussing the i730. Though it hides its full QWERTY keyboard behind the screen using an innovative slider design, this thumb keyboard is the first we've used that matches the Treo's comfort level and potential typing speed. The backlit keys are raised bubbles, rather than the small, flat keys used by the Siemens SX66, which has a similar slider design. The keyboard is very comfortable, but because of its sliding design, the Samsung i730 hasn't been as well optimized for one-handed use as the Treo. Also, gamers take note: The i730 can recognize only one button press at a time, so you won't be able to move and fire simultaneously in games such as Galaga.

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