The Good Samsung Continuum is equipped with two displays; The smaller ticker box is a great tool for quick access to information and multitasking. The smartphone also has a 1GHz processor and a 5MP HD video capture camera. It offers a full wireless setting and can be used as a mobile hotspot.
The Bad The smaller screen provides a closer typing experience. Currently, third-party ticketing is not available. Android 2.1 is launched and Bing is installed as the default search engine. You cannot delete previously downloaded applications and services.
The Bottom Line Not only is the secondary display of Samsung Continuum a trick, it is a useful control and multitasking tool, but its constant flow of information may not appeal to everyone.
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Samsung Continuum is just the latest in the Galaxy S series of Android phones, but it is different from the rest with its secondary ticker display. To be honest, at first we thought the display might be a trick rather than a useful feature, but after some use, we found it to be a great way to keep up to date on the go or tricky, and it even turned out to be a great multitasking tool. Some settings and fine-tuning extends our capabilities to third-party applications, we can see that it is even more profitable. That being said, we understand that not everyone will like it, especially since there are some trade-offs, such as a smaller main screen and some performance effects. And for those who want more power, we recommend moving with Motorola Droid X or Samsung Fascinate. However, if you are using a smartphone with such a permanent connection, the continuum offers it with convenient and unique push-ups. Samsung Continuum is available now for $ 199.99 with a two-year contract and a $ 100 postage discount.
Samsung Continuum is a slimmer, slimmer device than the rest of the Galaxy S. It has 4.9 inches by 2.3 inches by 0.5 inches in width, weighs 4.4 ounces and has rounded edges for a comfortable fit in your pocket and pants. It has a completely black lacquer finish, which is very sophisticated, but makes the plastic battery door a little smoother and smudge-proof. A soft touch or some metallic details will certainly go a long way, giving the phone a more premium feel, but, with a slight tingle aside, the continuum is a fairly reliable device.
Samsung Continuum is slimmer than the rest of the Galaxy S.
Larger than the size separating the continuum from the package, it’s the fact that it has dual displays: a larger 3.4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen at the top and a smaller 1.8-inch Super AMOLED ticker below (more on that a bit) later). As we have seen on other Galaxy S phones, Super AMOLED delivers a great viewing experience, sharp quality, bright colors and good visibility on the outside.
The continuum has Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 user interface, which you can read more about in our Samsung Vibrant review. Not everyone, especially Android purists, will like it, but we think it makes the operating system easier to use for consumers and first time buyers. The touch screen is quite responsive; it registered all our touches and we were able to easily scroll through different screens and menus. The zoom also worked as a charm. The continuum offers a Swype keyboard, but since the phone has a smaller screen than some of the Galaxy S siblings, it was a little trickier to use. You can switch to the standard Android keyboard if you do not use Swype, although we think this is even more frustrating to use, as shortcut keyboards have led to numerous misspellings.
Separating two screens is a small bar with standard Android shortcuts: menus, homepage, backtrack, and search. On the left side of the phone you get a volume swing and a Micro-USB port; on the right is a microSD expansion slot and a dedicated camera key. At the top of the device is a 3.5mm headphone jack and power button, and the camera and flash can be found on the back.
Verizon ships with Samsung Continuum, along with an AC adapter, USB cable, pre-installed 8GB microSD card and reference material.
So what is ticker all about? Well, it’s a small, customizable window that transmits real-time information from your social networks and your news, sports, entertainment and weather channels and acts as a notification area. The idea is that you can just look at the tech display for quick updates instead of waking your phone from standby. To help with this, the continuum has a clutch sensor technology that automatically activates the ticker screen when you touch the bottom of the phone with your hand. From there, you can swipe from left to right and back to see the various updates.
The Continuum Ticket Indicator acts as a notification area, news source, and media controller.
In fact, we had doubts about the function. It could easily fall into the bizarre category. But after a few days with the phone, we found it to be very helpful in picking up your personal needs. The first time the checkbox is turned on, it shows basic information such as time, date and weather. (For the weather, you can choose your city when you first set up your phone. If you click on the small icon, you can also launch WeatherBug on the Continuum large screen to give an extended forecast.) Swiping right will show you any missed calls, new messages, email mail, voicemail, and instant messaging; by clicking the icons, you can launch a separate application on the big screen, where you can view more information or respond to notifications. With one more right, you will see updates to your RSS feeds and social media feeds. On all ticker screens to the right is a small list icon that you can click to view your feeds in one full window or by category.
As we found out in the beginning, showing a ticker can be a bit overwhelming and quite distracting if not managed properly. For example, Twitter integration covers all updates, not just mentions and direct messages, so if you follow a lot of people, it gets a little too much. The same thing happens if you subscribe to many RSS feeds. To manage your subscriptions, you can press the menu key while browsing channels, or go to Settings> ticker settings. This will view the tabs of all your current subscriptions that you can add or remove, as well as adjust the display and notification options, and even set a ticker indicator to go to sleep.
We have finished parsing our subscriptions for a couple news services and have completely disabled Twitter, which has made it much more useful. It was nice to get snippets and breaking news throughout the day without fully turning on the phone, and since the window gives a small preview of the email subject, it was easier for us to manage our inbox when you wanted, answering only the most important messages. found it much more powerful than the Android notification system. The ticker is also useful in that you can use it when working with other programs on a larger display.
For example, a checkmark can be used to control the music player during, say, a web browser, which is nice. In addition, if you happen to watch the video and the call arrives, the video is automatically paused and you can use it to accept, reject, or ignore the call by text message. Somehow, we have found this to be the most valuable aspect of ticker, as it makes it easier to multitask. We hope third-party applications will be able to use the ticker in the future, but this is probably limited by the features described above. (For example, we couldn’t control Pandora by tick.)
Although the ticker is not for everyone, we believe that it serves a more useful purpose than just a novelty.
Displaying the screen, the Samsung Continuum has a set of features very similar to the Samsung Fascinate and other Galaxy S series models. The smartphone comes with Android 2.1, which is disappointing as Android 2.3 is expected to be released soon. Phone service can be upgraded to Android 2.2, but no specific timeframe for the update has been specified. The continuum supports a number of Google services, including Gmail, Google Talk and YouTube, but like Fascinate, its default search engine is Bing, not Google.
As a small experience, Microsoft and Verizon signed a five-year agreement in January to make Bing the default search engine for some, but not all, Verizon phones. While Samsung smartphones came under this agreement. We don’t have real problems with Bing, but we still want a choice. Currently, if you want to use Google search, there are several ways to do it. One option is to use voice search (already on your device) to search using Google; the other is to go to Google using your phone’s web browser. It should also be noted that while the continuum comes with Bing Maps, you can download Google Maps from the Android Market.
Other applications installed by Verizon and Samsung on the smartphone include VZ Navigator, V Cast Music and Videos, NFL Mobile, Blockbuster Mobile, Skype Mobile, Amazon Kindle for Android, Twidroyd, ThinkFree Office and Write and Go. Unfortunately, you cannot uninstall these applications, but you can install third-party applications. Just remember that until Android 2.2 is updated, you can only save applications in the phone’s main memory (2GB) and not on an SD card.
The continuum also includes loudspeaker, speed dial, voice commands, conference calls, visual voicemail, text and multimedia chat messages. Bluetooth, 3G, GPS and integrated Wi-Fi are all on board, and the smartphone can be used as a mobile hotspot for up to five devices with the addition of a $ 20 a month mobile broadband plan with 2GB maximum amount (overpayment is 5 cents per MB).
Messages and social networks are easily processed on a smartphone with support for Gmail, POP3 and IMAP, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter accounts. The system will do its best to merge address book data from multiple accounts, but most often you will find that you will have to go back and link some contacts together, as we did after synchronizing our Gmail, Outlook, Facebook and Twitter accounts. The smartphone also offers a unified inbox and calendar, though you can choose to keep your accounts separate if you prefer.
Compared to some other Android devices, Samsung Continuum (and the Galaxy S series in general) offers a more attractive and advanced media player. Some of the benefits include a Cover Flow user interface, 5.1ch surround sound, DivX video playback and DLNA support. The continuum will also support the Samsung Media Hub video store for TV shows and movies.
The image quality was good, but the flash may be too strong.
Like all Galaxy S series, the Continuum features a 5MP LED flash and HD video capture. There are many editing options, from white balance and ISO settings to effects to blink detection. The image quality was excellent. The photos were sharp with very little noise and the colors were also saturated. However, the flash can sometimes undermine the image. The video quality was pretty good. The HD clips came out clear and did not have the kind of hazy effect we saw from some other phones on the camera.
We tested the Samsung Continuum dual-band (CDMA 800/1900; EV-DO Rev. A) in New York with Verizon, and the call quality was generally good. For our part of the conversation, the sound was usually understandable, but we had a few instances where the bells sounded muffled and we had to ask them to repeat. In the meantime, friends were positive about the quality of the calls, with no background noise or voice distortion.
Sample Quality Samsung Continuous CallListen now:
The quality of the loudspeaker was better than average. Although the calls sounded very deaf, the quality was better than most, and there was enough volume to talk in noisier conditions. We also had no problems pairing a smartphone with a Logitech Mobile Traveler Bluetooth headset or Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active headphones.
The Verizon network provided reliable 3G coverage throughout Manhattan. The full CNET site appeared in 19 seconds; CNN and ESPN mobile sites load in 5 seconds. Uploading videos to YouTube took a few seconds, and HQ videos took a few seconds longer, but the wait was minimal and the clips were played without interruption and with synchronized images and sounds.
The continuum is powered by Samsung’s 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, and we found the overall performance of the smartphone quite responsive. It wasn’t quite a Fascinate lightning; There was an extra pause while running the applications, but overall, the phone could keep up with our requirements and work smoothly. We were able to play games like Angry Birds and watch videos without any hiccups or interruptions.
Samsung Continuum ships with a 1500mAh lithium battery with a nominal talk time of 7 hours and up to 13 days standby time. In our battery discharge tests, the continuum beat the rated talk time by half an hour. In general, we managed to use the smartphone a day before we needed to charge it. This was with moderate use of the Internet and with settings of ticker changes that reflected only a couple of RSS feeds and Facebook updates. According to FCC radiation tests, the continuum has a digital specific absorption coefficient of 0.70 watts per kilogram and an M4 hearing aid compatibility rating.