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Samsung SGH-ZX20 (AT&T) review: Samsung SGH-ZX20 (AT&T)

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Samsung SGH-ZX20
The Samsung SGH-ZX20 has a rotating camera lens.

The Samsung SGH-ZX20 has a 1.3-megapixel digital camera. You can take pictures in four resolutions (1,280x1,024; 640x480; 320x240; and 176x144) and use such features as a multishot and mosaic-shot options, four quality settings, brightness and white-balance effects, spot metering, three lighting effects, 50 fun frames, three ISO settings, a self-timer, and a 4X zoom. Take note, however, that zoom is not an option at the largest resolutions. The camcorder shoots clips in two resolutions, 176x144 and 128x96, with sound; editing options are on a par with the still camera's. Videos sent for MMS messages are capped at 20 seconds, or you can record for as long as an hour. Once you're done with your shots and clips, you can save them to the phone's 40MB of shared memory or to a MicroSD card.

Samsung SGH-ZX20
The Samsung SGH-ZX20 has decent if slightly washed-out photo quality.

If you'd rather just listen to some tunes, the Samsung SGH-ZX10 has a music player with support for MP3, AAC, and RealOne files, which you can store on the TransFlash card. The interface is Spartan, but it does the trick if you need aural entertainment in short stints.

You can personalize the SGH-ZX20 with a variety of wallpaper and background colors. You can purchase more options and more ring tones from Cingular. As for gaming, there are demo versions of five Java (J2ME) titles: Midnight Pool, Bowling 3D, Asphalt Urban GT 3D, The Last Age, and Power Inline X. If you want the full games or more choices, you'll have to buy them. We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS 800/1900) Samsung SGH-ZX20 world phone in San Francisco using Cingular Wireless service. Call quality was quite good and comparable with that of its predecessor, the Samsung SGH-ZX10. Callers could tell we were using a cell phone, but the handset performed admirably with little static, interference, or disruption. Volume quality was acceptable as well, and we experienced decent speakerphone and Bluetooth calls.

With the HSDPA network, downloads of games and ring tones was lightning quick. Web browsing was somewhat sluggish, however, and HSDPA coverage faded in and out when inside buildings. The SGH-ZX20 also supports UMTS, EDGE, and GPRS networks. At the time of this writing, our test phone wasn't approved to access Cingular Video to assess the streaming-video quality. Check back soon for a full report.

The Samsung SGH-Z20 has a rated talk time of 4 hours and a promised standby time of 10 days. Our tests revealed a talk time of 3 hours and 53 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the SGH-ZX20 has a digital SAR rating of 0.76 watts per kilogram.

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