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Samsung SCH-i760 (Verizon Wireless) review: Samsung SCH-i760 (Verizon Wireless)

Samsung SCH-i760 (Verizon Wireless)

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Bonnie Cha
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Bonnie Cha

Former Editor

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.

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8 min read

Editor's note: Ratings have been adjusted with respect to newer devices that have entered the market .

8.0

Samsung SCH-i760 (Verizon Wireless)

The Good

The Samsung SCH-i760 features a slider design with a full QWERTY keyboard, external dialpad, and touch screen. The Windows Mobile 6 smartphone also offers good performance and has integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and EV-DO; a 1.3-megapixel camera; and real-time e-mail delivery.

The Bad

The i760 is bulky, and we wish there was a built-in scroll wheel. There's no support for Verizon's V Cast services, and it lacks Windows Live integration.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung SCH-i760 goes big (literally), delivering a solid set of features and good performance to Verizon customers looking for a business-centric smartphone.

It's been a long time coming, but it looks like the Samsung SCH-i760 for Verizon Wireless was worth the wait. This highly anticipated Windows Mobile 6 smartphone features a slider design that opens up to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard, and yes, while we've seen these type of devices before (e.g., the Sprint Mogul), how many of them had an external dialpad? Zilch. But more than design, the i760 offers business users a full-featured device with messaging capabilities, various wireless options (EV-DO, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi), and good performance. It certainly has its downfalls: the handset is bulky and Verizon has curiously omitted some cool features, like Windows Live integration and V Cast services. It's also pricey at $349.99 with a two-year contract and after rebates, but for Verizon customers looking for a corporate-centric smartphone, the Samsung SCH-i760 is a solid choice.

Design
One look at the Samsung SCH-i760 and you know it means business. Unlike its distant cousin, the Samsung BlackJack, this smartphone isn't about being thin and light. The i760 is built for utility and power. Consequently, this also means it's on the bigger side, measuring 4.4 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.7 inch and weighing 5.2 ounces. It's similar in size to the other slider Pocket PC phones like, as we mentioned, the Sprint Mogul and the AT&T Tilt. Admittedly, the i760 is bulky, especially with the extended battery, and certainly won't easily fit into a pants pocket. It's also a bit slippery (no soft-touch finish) and could get uncomfortable to hold while on a phone call after a while, but the handset is solidly built.


The Samsung SCH-i760 is a full-featured smartphone with the build to match. Here it is next to the Palm Centro.

The Samsung SCH-i760 features a 2.8-inch touch screen that displays 65,536 colors at a 320x240 pixel resolution. It's sharp and bright for easy readability, and is viewable in most lighting conditions. Colors washed out a bit in bright sunlight but we were still able to see what was on the screen. We're also a fan of the touch-screen capabilities since it provides an easy and convenient way to launch applications, navigate the menus, input data, and more. There's a stylus included to use with the touch screen, but it's in a weird location. We had some difficulties finding it at first, but finally realized it's the little knob on the lower right side.

Below the display, you also have tactile controls for achieving the same tasks, as well as an alphanumeric dialpad. You won't find an external keypad on too many (if any) Pocket PC phones, and it's a nice option since it saves you the step of calling up the virtual dialpad. The other controls include two soft keys, a Clear button, and a four-way navigation toggle with a central select button. The latter set of buttons are clustered on the left half of the device (see image below), which offsets the position of the soft keys with the corresponding menu items onscreen so that's just something to note. Meanwhile, the Talk and End keys flank the screen but they're tiny slivers, and a bit difficult to press. Another minor complaint is that when you press the Talk button on the left side, it's easy to shift the slider screen, which got to be annoying.


The i760 is unique in that it offers an external dialpad, unlike some other Pocket PC smartphones.

To access the SCH-i760's full QWERTY keyboard, just slide the front cover to the right. This automatically switches the screen orientation from portrait to landscape mode, and unlike some of the other smartphones we've tested, the transition was fairly smooth and without too much of a delay. The keyboard itself is pretty easy to use with sizeable keys and sufficient spacing. It's also well-backlit, but the buttons tend to be a bit slippery.


Though the buttons are slightly slippery, we found the Samsung i760's full QWERTY keyboard pretty easy to use.

There are a number of quick-launch buttons on the phone to make for easier one-handed use, but it's a bit overwhelming and will probably take some time before you're completely familiar with the layout and experience. On the left spine of the phone, you'll find a microSD expansion slot and a volume rocker, while the right side has 2.5mm headset jack, a Today/voice recorder launcher, an OK button, and a camera activation key. We do wish there was some kind of jog dial or wheel to more easily scroll through the menus. Finally, the camera lens and the flash are located on the back of the handset.

Verizon ships the Samsung SCH-i760 with a travel charger, two batteries (standard and extended), a USB cable, a desktop software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, please check out our cell phone accessories, ringtones, and help page.

Features
The Samsung SCH-i760 is stocked with an arsenal of tools that should satisfy most mobile professionals. The phone runs the latest Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition so you get the full Microsoft Office Mobile Suite with the ability to create, view, and edit Word and Excel documents. You can also view PowerPoint presentations (with minor editing options) and PDFs. More functionality was also added to calendaring, contacts, e-mail, and more; all the details are outlined in our review of Windows Mobile 6. Other personal management tools include a world clock, a calculator, a notepad, and a task manager. Of course, you can customize the i760 for your lifestyle and download other applications to the device; visit Download.com for some ideas.

With Microsoft's Direct Push Technology, the i760 can synchronize with your office's Microsoft Exchange Server for real-time e-mail delivery and Outlook synchronization. There's support for a number of other e-mail solutions, as well, including Good Mobile Messaging and Verizon Wireless Sync. In addition, the device can be configured to access your POP3 and IMAP4 accounts. There's a handy e-mail wizard that walks you through the steps for setting everything up, and it's really just a simple matter of entering your e-mail address, login, and password. We used it to access our Yahoo Plus account and had no problems whatsoever. Unfortunately, like the Motorola Q9m, the i760 has been stripped of the Windows Live Messenger instant messaging client as well as Windows Live.

Phone features on the Samsung SCH-i760 include a speakerphone, voice dialing and commands, smart dialing, three-way calling, and text and multimedia messaging. The phone book is limited only by the available memory, and each entry can hold as many as 12 phone numbers, three e-mail addresses, addresses for home and work, a job title, and more. For caller-ID purposes, you can assign a contact to a category or pair it with any of 14 polyphonic ringtones or a photo.

In terms of wireless options, the i760 pretty much has it all except GPS. Bluetooth 2.0 is onboard with support for the A2DP profile, so you can connect to stereo Bluetooth headsets. You can also use Bluetooth for wireless headsets, hands-free kits, wireless file transfers, and dial-up networking. Integrated Wi-Fi lets you hop onto your home network or any available hot spots so you can surf the Web. Alternatively, the i760 is EV-DO capable so you'll be able to enjoy data speeds of as fast as 2.4Mbps, though realistically, you'll average closer to 300Kbps to 600Kbps. Bottom line, you'll have a better experience whether you're browsing the Web, listening to streaming media, or downloading games.


There's a microSD expansion slot located on the left spine of the phone, and it can accept up to 2GB cards.

Given the 3G capabilities, support for Verizon's V Cast music and video services would seem like a good fit, but given that the i760 is more of a business-centric smartphone, Verizon decided not to include these services at this time. However, that doesn't mean the i760 can't have fun. As a Windows Mobile smartphone, the Samsung i760 comes with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile, supporting a number of popular audio and video formats--AAC, MP3, WAV, WMA, MPEG-4, and WMV, to name a few. If you have TV shows recorded on your Windows Media Center PC, you can transfer them to your device for on-the-go viewing. Onboard memory is 64MB of RAM and 128MB of built-in flash memory with about 59MB of user-accessible storage, but you should be able to carry a nice size library of music and videos by taking advantage of the expansion slot, which can accept cards up to 2GB.


The i760's 1.3-megapixel camera produced some decent-looking photos.

Finally, there's a 1.3-megapixel camera with video recording capabilities. There's a flash and self-timer, and you can choose from several shooting modes, quality settings, and resolutions, which range from 1,280x960 to 160x120 for still images. To enhance the picture, there are white-balance settings and various effects that you can add. These tools are also available to you in camcorder mode, though you can only choose from three quality settings. Picture quality, while not spectacular, was good. We had some difficulty steadying the device to get a clear shot, but images came out with sharpness and decent color.

Performance
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; EV-DO) Samsung SCH-i760 in San Francisco using Verizon service, and call quality was mixed. There was some reverberation on our end but we could still carry on conversations without problem and interact with our bank's automated voice response system. Our friends said we sounded fine, though not spectacular, as they could tell we were using a cell phone. The speakerphone also yielded a similarly mixed reaction. This time we thought the speakerphone sounded great with clear sound and plenty of volume. In fact, we were caught a bit off guard when we first activated the speakerphone and were blasted away by our friend's voice. Sadly, they didn't enjoy quite the same results, saying that we sounded soft. We had no problems pairing the i760 with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.

Powered by a 400MHz Samsung S3C2442 processor, general performance on the Samsung i760 was snappy, though response time reduced as we used several applications simultaneously. Surfing the Web was a joy with speedy load times thanks to the EV-DO support, and the smartphone was also able to find and connect to our test access Wi-Fi point with no problem. We had no major complaints in the multimedia category either. As we saw when using the speakerphone, the i760 has plenty of volume to crank out tunes, but it could use a little more in the bass department. We also wish the smartphone was equipped with a 3.5mm jack so we could plug in a nice pair of headphones. Video playback was decent with synchronized audio and image, but as expected, there was some pixelation during actions sequences.

The i760 is rated for 3.5 hours of talk time and up to 7.5 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, we were able to get 4 hours of talk time from the standard battery and 6 hours of talk time from the extended battery. According to FCC radiation tests, the i760 has a digital SAR rating of 0.73 watt per kilogram.

8.0

Samsung SCH-i760 (Verizon Wireless)

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 8Performance 8
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