Most helpful positive review
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
a review for people as exceedingly exacting as me
on January 30, 2005
This dual-band color camera flip phone on the Verizon network is a surprisingly good handset. I was a bit frustrated at having to choose between the 2 Samsung models - one being tri-mode (a650), and the other being dual-mode (this phone, the a670). Those tricksters made the one with the front LCD the dual-mode one. Honestly, who buys flip phones anymore that don't have the front display? There is no way in hell I can go backwards in technology. When the StarTac phone died, so did that whole concept. So of course I bought the A670, and thought I could live without the analog frequency. Also, I've heard that the A650 (which is the tri-mode version) has much worse battery life because the phone is constantly switching between digital or 1xRRT and analog mode, the latter being a total power drain, as is just the switching at all.
Anyway, the bottom line is that this is a great phone with excellent reception, as long as you don't need analog. (I have only owned tri-mode phones up to this point, and I fortunately have not missed the analog frequency at all. I was initially worried about that.) The sound comes in clearly, and I'm told that I sound clear on the other end. Another strong suit of this phone is the form factor and exceptional build quality. Not only do I think it's the most gorgeous phone offered by Verizon, it's also compact, perfectly curved and shaped for pocket insertion, and it's very solidly built. It feels sturdy to hold and use. It weighs a little more than the similar LG and Audiovox models, but it's a difference that you grow to appreciate because it just feels much more substantial.
If your needs stop there, then hold it - you've got yourself a new phone.
For me, there are some irritating points about this phone beyond the basic call-making and form factor. Namely, the software. It's not customizable. It's very rudimentary. For all the effort put into the elegance and construction of the design, you'd think some attention would be paid to the inside.
If you are a text messaging freak like I am, then this phone probably is not the best choice for you. It's not the worst, but it definitely leaves something to be desired. For one thing, the font is terrible. It's like bolded 14 point Courier New. This means that you have to scroll down one line for every word, practically. And there is no way to adjust it either. Another thing is that the key stroke recognition is very slow. Often, you don't realize that the keys you hit didn't register, so you are well on your 2nd or 3rd word when you realize you have to fix the first word. Irritating. Finally, you are able to add words to the T9 dictionary, but it doesn't stay for long. Very curious bug. I don't fully understand what's going on with that, but I know that I've added quite a few curse words, and I've had to re-enter them so many times, and it still doesn't take. Another thing that would make this phone a better SMS-enabled phone would be if the menu offered the ability to send a text message right off of the contact name, rather than having to scroll through the SMS menu to start a message. It would also be great if you could begin composing a message without having specified a destination address. Often I'm thinking of what I want to write without necessarily wanting to scroll through the 9-step contacts menu. The final shortcoming of the text messaging is that you can't scroll up and down lines once you've typed. Whether you press the down, up, left or right buttons, it will only go back and forth word by word. Very annoying if you want to change something at the top of your message. To further annoy you, after a certain number of characters, it stops allowing word-scrolling altogether and you have to go character by character. And you have to keep on clicking over and over again because it doesn't do the smart auto-scrolling when you keep the button depressed. Very, very lame and very, very carpal tunnel-inducing.
One of the small things that I love when phone manufacturers include is the reminder beep. The Samsung A670 definitely has that for SMS and voicemail, which is the most typical offering, but I think it would be great if they borrowed a page from Motorola and added one for missed calls. And make it configurable! Also, when the phone is set on vibrate, it only vibrates the first time when the SMS or voicemail gets sent, but does not offer any reminder vibrations. This is a mistake.
One thing about the ringer setting is that, aside from the global vibrate mode (set by pressing down the # key), the call ringer setting is independent from the SMS/vmail ringer setting. This means that if you only toggle between sound and vibrate, you're fine, but if you wanted the phone to be silent (and not vibrating), then you have to set the call ringers to silent AND you have to go to the SMS/vmail menu to set those ringers to silent as well. It sounds ridiculous, but I learned the hard way that this is absolutely true.
There are several pre-installed professional-sounding ring tones to choose from. It's a sad trend in the industry that phones are coming with fewer (if at all) ring tones that are not songs or chimes. Samsung offers a fair share of annoying tunes, but it's nice that they offer at least 3 actual ring tones that would be acceptable in an office setting.
A cool feature that I discovered is that, as long as you don't have "active flip" set, if you receive a call while the phone is open and you accidentally close it during the ringing, it doesn't hang up that call, like other phones I've had do. You can basically keep opening and closing the phone throughout the ringing and it won't hang it up nor answer it until you deliberately press "answer" or "ignore". Very cool. I've inadvertently closed the phone without necessarily meaning to screen out the call with previous phones. Also, after sending an SMS, I can close the phone right away and it still continues the 'sending' process (which can take about 10 - 15 seconds) - something that has saved me some time. Send it, and fuhget about it! It's a feature that I still wonder how phones ever got away with NOT having.
I also like the fact that the display is very vibrant. There is a power save mode which takes it down a notch, which I find quite nice actually because at times the non-power save mode can be *too* bright. Another power saving consideration is that you have to keep the side button pressed down for at least 2 seconds in order to activate the light on the front LCD. This is nice and avoids overuse of the light when you accidentally just tap it. Some users find it annoying though, that they have to keep it pressed for soooo looong just to get the light to come on. I rather like it.
The battery meter is a bit misleading. There are only 3 bars, and the first 2 bars come down really, really fast. So it seems like the battery life is atrocious. Really, though, the battery life is not as bad as it seems; it's moderate, and that last bar hangs on for quite a long time.
If this phone had speakerphone, it would be a near-perfect phone.
Even though I spent a great deal of time talking about the flaws of this phone, there really aren't phones out there that don't have major software (and hardware) shortcomings. Relatively speaking, this phone's flaws are not that bad. In truth, in terms of call quality and form factor alone, and all in all, this is the best non-PDA phone on Verizon's network and my favorite phone I've owned to date, and considering how many phones I've owned, that is saying quite a lot.