The Samsung Monte S5620 might not be as exciting a phone as the latest iPhone or the latest Android super-phones but it’s an exciting phone nonetheless. After all, it’s extremely rare for a phone to boast of all the features of smartphones and still be priced low. The Monte falls into this category.
Like I mentioned above, the Monte offers a full fledged suite of connectivity options including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G and even GPS. I can’t emphasize on how great it is to finally see a mobile phone that doesn’t break the Rs. 10K price barrier but still doesn’t compromise on features. To put it in perspective even great phones that fall within this price bracket like the Nokia E63 and the Nokia 5233 or the LG Cookie Pep leave out some of the features mentioned above.
I can’t emphasize on how great it is to finally see a mobile phone that doesn’t break the Rs. 10K price barrier and still not compromise on features.
The Monte uses Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz UI and OS. The OS allows for three homescreens and you can customize each screen with a bunch of widgets and shortcuts. The Monte has a 3-inch screen with a resolution of 240x400 and a color output of 256K. The Monte also has a 3.15MP camera but with no auto-focus and flash. The Monte comes with 200MB of internal memory and a microSD card slot that supports cards up to 16GB.
Design & Usability
The Samsung Monte has a curvy body that’s quite slim. The review unit I received had orange stripes on the sides and a black glossy body. Overall, the look is aimed to please everybody and the phone won’t look out of place in the hands of either an executive or a college student. The phone is however a big, big fingerprint magnet and you will find yourself cleaning the body every so often. In spite of its entirely plastic body, I didn’t find the Samsung Monte’s build quality wanting.
The Samsung’s 3-inch screen is colorful and sharp. The only issue was that visibility dropped by a considerable amount under direct sunlight. The TouchWiz UI is responsive, accurate and relatively fast. There is however some sluggishness when scrolling through lists and it feels less organic than on the iPhone or even the Nokia 5233. Unfortunately, in spite of the 3 inch screen, Samsung felt that the Monte didn’t need a virtual QWERTY keyboard. The virtual alpha-numeric keypad works well but it seems like a wasted opportunity to not add a QWERTY keyboard.
Browsing, Multimedia etc.
The Samsung Monte’s default browser is quite fast and suited to browse websites designed for mobile phones. It also lets you manage bookmarks but can’t render full web-pages very well.
The S5620’s 3.15MP camera is disappointingly poor. Images that I shot came out with plenty of noise but very less details. No autofocus means that shooting close-ups are going to be a frustrating experience. The upside is that the camera gives you plenty of options to tweak the camera settings and also lets you shoot images in panorama mode.
The Monte’s music playback capabilities are very good. Music from the Samsung sounds very good with good mids and an overall rich sound. The bass is slightly loose and could have been punchier. Overall, the Monte is ideal for listening to guitar driven rock music. The external speaker is also quite loud. Video playback is also fine although videos don’t look exceptional on the Samsung’s screen. Videos can be encoded and transferred quite easily using Samsung’s Kies application.
The Monte has a powerful FM receiver complemented by a very good interface. Auto-scanning for stations happened very quickly and the phone manages to hold on to FM reception well. To top it off, the radio’s interface is easy to navigate and manipulate.
The Monte doesn’t come with any pre-installed games, which is somewhat disappointing. However, Samsung does provide a Web shortcut using which you can download plenty of free Java games.
The Samsung Monte has an exceptionally powerful battery and it lasted me close to three days without a single charge. Call quality on the S5620 is also quite clear, although at times static was audible.
The Samsung Monte S5620 is priced at Rs. 9,300. Keeping in mind its connectivity features, one point of view would term it as an excellent product that has the right amounts of performance, features, looks and price in the perfect ratio. However, under the 10K barrier, an extra Rs. 1,000 also means a lot and the Rs. 3,000 difference between the Monte and the other phones like the Nokia 5233 and the LG Cookie Pep could mean a lot to plenty of readers. Therefore, if you are looking for a full-featured phone and don’t mind paying close to Rs. 10,000, then the Monte is an absolute deal. However, if you are looking for a phone close to the Rs. 5,000 mark then also consider the Nokia 5233, the Nokia 6303 Classic and the LG Cookie Pep.