Samsung U700 review: Samsung U700

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Chief among the U700's features is a flash-enabled 3.2-megapixel camera that promises fewer blurs and faster image capture courtesy of its "Rapid Focus" technology. One camera spec to take note of is the 176 x 144-pixel maximum video capture resolution, which is surprisingly low.

Another convenient feature is the Google menu icon, which takes you straight to the almighty search engine or your GMail account: handy for those times when you want to quickly and surreptitiously cheat at pub trivia.

Music hasn't been left out of the mix: sounds from the media player are swanked up with Bang & Olufsen's hoity-toity ICEpower audio technology, which aims to provide vibrant sound while reducing energy consumption. The inclusion of A2DP Bluetooth support means you can hear those tunes without wires.

Performance/> We found that the camera suffered from a significant lag between pressing the shutter button and capturing the snap. Although images didn't show too much blurring as a result, the delay is long enough to cause impatience if you're a frequent phonecam user.

Much of our problems related to the touch-sensitive keys. These may be all the rage in the wake of the touch-only iPhone, but we've yet to see them done in a way that doesn't cause frustration to the user. (Motorola's RAZR2 could offer some respite with its vibration response "haptics" keys, but the phone is yet to arrive on local shores.) As with the LG Chocolate and Samsung's own E900, the touch buttons do not offer any tactile feedback, and there are occasional delays where key presses do not appear to register.

One thing in particular that drove us nuts: when you're on a call, the touch-sensitive keys lock so you don't mush your cheek into them and accidentally hang up. But let's say you're out and about and you want to do a bit of phone banking. When you use the keypad, the touch buttons are automatically unlocked. So if you put your cheek back to the phone straight away, you'll hang up before you can hear the balance of your account. To stop this happening, you need to press the button in the middle of the scroll wheel, which locks the keys again.

The main advantages the U700 has over its similarly shiny, touch-keyed competitors are its size and weight, which are impressively teeny. Beyond that distinction, there isn't a whole lot to elevate the phone to the higher echelons of the slider handset hierarchy.

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