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Samsung SGH-A737 review: Samsung SGH-A737

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The A737 offers a 1.3-megapixel camera. You can take pictures in five resolutions (1,280x1,024; 800x600; 640x480; 320x240; and 240x180) and choose from five quality settings. Other features include a night mode, exposure metering, brightness and white-balance controls, multishot and mosaic shot modes, a self-timer, three color effects, 20 fun frames, and a digital zoom, though this last feature is unusable at the highest photo resolution. There are a few shutter and camera function sounds as well, but you can't silence the shutter completely. Also, it's disappointing that there's no flash. Photo quality wasn't stellar; images were washed out and too blurry.

The camcorder takes clips in two resolutions (176x144 and 128x96) with sound and a similar set of editing options. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at 30 seconds; otherwise you can shoot for as long as the phone's available memory permits. The A737 comes with 50MB of shared space, which isn't extensive considering the phone's multimedia capabilities.

Samsung SGH-A737
We weren't crazy about the A737's photo quality.

You can personalize the Samsung SGH-A737 with a variety of wallpaper, menu styles, background colors, alert tones, and a greeting. If you want more options or more ringtones, you can download them from AT&T with the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. The phone also comes with six games: Brain Challenge, Diner Dash, Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man, Midnight Pool 3D, Tetris and World Poker Tour. You'll have to buy the full versions for extended play. There's also a My Cast weather application for checking forecasts in your area.

We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS) Samsung SGH-A737 in San Francisco with AT&T service. Call quality was generally good, though not without its problems. While the reception remained strong and the signal was free of static or interference, we noticed some oscillations in the volume. At times, the volume was loud but other times it faded out somewhat. The change was minimal, but it was still noticeable, and it occurred throughout our call-testing period. Voices could also sound a tad harsh, though as with the volume fluctuations it wasn't a constant.

On their end, callers said we sounded OK though we had to speak close to the handset in order to be heard. They also had some trouble hearing us when we were in noisy environments. But most of the time they could hear and understand us without any problem. Yes, they could tell we were using a cell phone, but that's not unusual considering we were doing just that. We also had success using automated answering systems.

Speakerphone calls were about the same. The volume remained at a more constant level, but the voice quality was a bit off here as well. And again, we had to speak close to the phone in order to be heard. Bluetooth headset calls were a bit better, and we could hear the headsets to the A737 without incident.

Video quality was satisfactory; clips were smooth without much pixelation, and the player never froze or paused for rebuffering. The sound was also decent, and there was no lag between the audio and the speaker's mouth. Our 3G connection was relatively slow, however. When using the Cellular Video application, it took about 15 seconds to open new menus and almost half a minute to launch individual videos. The music player quality was somewhat better, fortunately. The speaker provided decent output, and the audio was clear, even if it was a bit tinny. Try using a headset for the best experience.

The A737 has a rated battery life of three hours talk time and 10.4 days standby time. The tested talk time was a little better, at 3 hours, 21 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Samsung SGH-A737 has a digital digital SAR rating of 0.65 watt per kilogram.

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