With the new Samsung i700, Verizon Wireless finally offers a Pocket PC-based smart phone worthy of the company's high-speed 1xRTT voice and data network. Its size, shape, and high-end features make it something of a thoroughbred, especially compared to other Pocket PCs. All of that comes at price, however: $599.99, and only with a two-year contract.
Upside: To its credit, the i700 fills the middle ground between earlier Pocket PC phones and the current crop of devices. Thanks to its bevels, rounded corners, and silver color, this 6.9-ounce smart phone exudes some style. It has a sizable 240x320-pixel, 65,000-color, VGA-quality touch screen and an SD memory expansion slot, as well as a 300MHz Intel XScale processor, 64MB of RAM, and a built-in camera. It can also take advantage of Verizon's wireless Web and e-mail services using the company's Express network.
Downside: Unlike the Treo or G1000, the i700 lacks a minikeyboard and depends solely on a stylus and soft keys for input. With no cover or clamshell to protect the display, it begs to be handled with care. While the phone works on CDMA 800/1900 networks, there's no analog roaming.
Outlook: Despite its flaws, the i700 has the features and specs to become a pacesetter, especially when you consider Verizon's fairly limited smart phone selection. That said, it won't find a market among everyday cell phone users, for whom it will be too data-oriented, too delicate, and too expensive.