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Old 08-11-2005, 10:42 PM   #1
Polbit
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Samsung MM-A880 vs. Sanyo 8200

My first post here, I'm really glad I found this place!

I have been a semi-happy user of the Sanyo 8200 for about a year. My main issue with the Sanyo was that people I talked to sounded like they were talking through a cardboard box, and I sometimes had a really bad time understanding people. The 8200 was my 3rd Sanyo phone, so I decided to try something new. After a bit of research I decided to get the Samsung MM-A880. Here are my impressions of the phone, after using it for one day.

1. Size - it is and feels smaller than the 8200, and lighter. Despite the size though, the phone is really usable, even for my bigger hands

2. Keypad - I know some people don't like it, but I just love it. After using flat keypads for years, a nicely angled one is a revelation, and in the short time I've had the phone, I wouldn't give it up.

3. Sound quality - this is a big one for me, and I love it! Sooo much better earpiece quality than the 8200. I'm amazed that I have been putting up with the Sanyo crappy sound for so long. This feature alone sells me on the phone as a keeper.

4. Build quality - overall not bad, although I have a feeling that the port covers for the headset, etc. will break off quite easly. Also, I don't care much for the volume button, which seems quite flimsy.

5. Color - well, there is no denying, the phone is a lavender color. Why Samsung couldn't release this phone in standard silver/grey is beyond me, but oh well...

6. Screens - very good contrast and colors, on par with the 8200's internal screen. Please see my wishlist at the bottom though.

7. Camera - comming from a crappy VGA camera to this one, it's like night and day. I'm sure the A800 or the 535 have even better cameras, but the A880 camera is my first camera phone where is actually usable.

8. Signal reception - it is comparable to the 8200, better in some places, worse in others. I was really afraid that it would be a lot worse, and was pleasantly surprised.

9. Menus - nothing special, don't really like the 3x3 menu, but they are fast, and do their job.

10. Customization - I really like how much you can customize on this phone, from button assignments to different ringers based on groups, to placement of the clock on the main screen.

Now, onto the quirks. This phone has quite a few little things that aren't as polished or as thought out as the 8200. Here is my short list:

1. The outside screen goes blank when not in use. While I understand that it's a TFT screen and it uses power, why can't you have an option just to turn off the backlight? The 8200 had a poorer screen, but it was always on, so I could use it as a watch without openning the phone. Another issue is that in order to get the screen working again, you have to open the phone almost half-way. On the Sanyo, if I wanted the backlight to come on, I just had to barely lift the top, which was an easy one hand operation.

2. No dedicated speaker button. As many people have mentioned, this option looks like it was added at the end of the development of the phone, and is not well integrated. I've been quite used to 8200 and the speaker button being smack in the middle of the phone.

3. 8200 had ability to reposition screen savers for both main and sub LCDs. The A880 doesn't, and furthermore, you can't show a picture or a dowload on the sub LCD (looks like a bug actually, because the options are there, but if selected, they don't do anything)

4. The voice recognition is great, but, unless I missed it, you can't have the speaker on with it, so the only way to use that feature is to have the phone right next to your ear. I would like to be able to talk to it while it's sitting on the table, etc. Still better than the 8200 though, since it had no voice recognition

5. The icons in the Contacts are really hard to tell apart. Quite stylish though

6. Gotta mention lack of Bluetooth Maybe someday Sprint will get it, and have most phones with it built-in...

Overall, I love the phone, and give it a solid 8.5 / 10. I might even up it to 9 if battery life proves to be ok, but I haven't had it long enough to know. If this phone had Bluetooth, speakerhpone button, and didn't turn off its outside display when closed, it would be a perfect phone for me.
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Old 08-14-2005, 11:51 AM   #2
Polbit
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Additional points

Well, now that I've had the phone for a couple of days, I can add few more points:

1. You can light up the outside LCD by pressing any of the outside buttons. I guess it should've been obvious, I was just too used to the old way of crackng open the lid

2. Still haven't figured out a way to have a screensaver cover the whole screen, like the builn-in ones do. And you can olny assign the same screen saver to both LCDs, and once assigned to the main LCD, it looks way off center on the outside one... I wish it looked better, but for right now I'm using the stock one...

3. Battery life definately not as good as the 8200, but usable. I'm going to get the extended battery, hopefully it dosn't make the phone too big.

4. I really love the sound quality. My fiancee still has her 8200, and the difference, IMHO, is night and day. I think I'm a Samsung convert unless Sanyo comes up with a radically better earpiece design, because from what I've read, 5600 is just as bad.

Due to the battery life though, I'm going to keep my rating at 8.5. It is certainly the best small phone that Sprint has right now, and unless Sanyo wakes up and starts coming up with some better designs soon, there won't be much else to recommend except the A880, 535, A800 and Treo 650.
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