It stands to reason that when somebody makes a great product, others will want to follow in its footsteps sooner or later. Some do a good job while others do it really badly, as if they haven't really understood why we loved the product and think that a superficial similarity will be enough to recreate the original's success.
One manufacturer that has played this game well is Samsung. The Samsung E900 is undoubtedly similar to the Chocolate phone, but in terms of features it's a better phone. We've had a little play with it today and it's pushing all our buttons.
The E900 uses a touchpad on the top section that gives you access to the menu, contacts list, send and end keys and even has some hidden music buttons that only light up when you're using the MP3 player. Unlike the Chocolate phone, the navigation key is a mechanical one instead of a touch-sensitive one, making it far more responsive and quicker to use. Annoyingly, the silver button in the middle of the navigation key accesses the WAP browser from the main page instead of the menu. Fortunately, once you're in the menu it does work as an OK button and we like the way you can see what's inside each sub-section of the menu before you go into it via a drop-down window.
Another noticeable difference is that the end-call key isn't on the side of the phone and is sensibly placed in the normal position, on the bottom left of the top section. The dedicated MP3 player and shutter button on the side of the phone are also separate, meaning that you can access them with one click and forgo any menus.
As mentioned in our last post, the Samsung E900 not only has a 2-megapixel camera with a flash and portrait mirror but it also has an expandable microSD slot. We particularly like that the slot is accessible from the outside, so you don't need to open up the back of the phone to insert it. We've also discovered that it has TV-out like the Samsung D600, so you can view your photos on a TV screen.
Aside from the OK button, some of our other concerns, which seem to be shared by our readers, are that the phone's theme can only be set to black or white and that the camera takes a few seconds to load. We'll let you know more about the phone once we've spent more time with it, but from what we've seen so far, we like it a lot. -AL