Samsung P520 Giorgio Armani in-depth review -

Look and feel

A truly beautiful handset both to look at and to touch. It's the size of a credit card and the centrepiece is the large bright touch-screen. And at only 85, you won't be weighed down.

Features

For a handset predominantly focused on its looks, the Samsung Armani manages to fit in a 3.15-megapixel camera and a multi-format music player. A notable absentee is the lack of 3G.

Ease of use

One of the better touch-screen devices available, although it can still prove tricky with accidental key nudges commonplace. The menu is clear and straightforward, and there are enough shortcuts to save you the odd minute or two.

Performance

Both the camera and music player produce good-quality results, with enough functions on each to keep you entertained. Browsing the web is laborious due to the lack of 3G or Wi-Fi.

Battery life

At 360 minutes, the talktime is not bad, and the 220 hours of standby time in today's market is a tad disappointing.

 Samsung P520 Giorgio Armani Review -
4

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:51:52 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

10

out of 5

Look and feel

6

out of 5

Ease of use

6

out of 5

Features

6

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

The Samsung Armani achieves what it set out to do, a simply glorious looking handset.

Cons:

Relying on GPRS and EDGE connections to surf the net requires a degree of patience.

There’s no escaping that we live in a fashion-conscious world. Be it the cut of your jeans, your hairstyle or even your postcode – our fashion credentials are scrutinised daily. With the mobile phone industry desperate to stay on trend, we’re seeing an influx of new designer mobile phones. After the Levi’s phone, the LG KE850 Prada phone and the Mandarina Duck phone, Giorgio Armani is the latest fashion label to cross over into mobile with its Samsung collaboration, the Samsung Armani.

 

Samsung Armani fashion credentials

The Samsung Armani is the size of a credit card and it’s fair to say that you’ll need your limit to afford this phone SIM-free, (although thankfully, it’s available free on contract). Yet as with all things Armani, the high-end price tag is to be expected.

 

At a mere 85g, the Armani won’t put a bulge in your designer suit pocket, and with its glossy black fascia, 2.6-inch TFT screen and copper back, it really is a gorgeous handset. Think a scaled down, more attractive LG Viewty.

 

The centrepiece of the Samsung Armani is its touch-screen that takes up almost the entire front of the phone. The only buttons are the call and end call keys found just below the screen, the volume key on the left-hand side and the quick camera key and hold button (hold this to lock and unlock the phone) found on the right-hand side of the handset. Thankfully, Samsung has included haptic-response functionality, which was first seen on the LG Viewty. When you press a key on the screen you will feel a slight vibration under your fingertip in acknowledgment.

 

Samsung Armani touch-screen

The launch of the Apple iPhone changed the way we judge touch-screen interfaces for good. Now we can’t help but compare other handsets’ touch-screens with the iconic iPhone’s ease of use, and the Samsung Armani is one phone that suffers from this comparison. Although the response time is fairly swift and the sliding of your thumb at the bottom of the screen to shift between the clock and calendar works well enough, it just doesn’t measure up to Apple’s offering. However, pre-iPhone, it’s likely that we would be singing its praises.

 

At the top of the Armani’s screen are three shortcut keys. To turn to silent, press and hold the speaker key, and use the same process to exit silent mode. In the top right-hand corner there is an icon that opens up the numeric keypad, and next to it lies the icon that opens the full menu interface. While the virtual numeric keypad is well-spaced out, some care is needed to ensure you tap in the right digits. When making a call, the handset locks itself to avoid any accidental button brushes. End the call and the phone reverts to being unlocked.

 

When in the main menu mode, 12 neat icons lead to the phone’s various capabilities. As well as displaying the name of each function at the top of the screen, a horizontal and vertical bar meet to highlight your chosen icon. There’s no real point to this other than the fact that it looks pretty cool which, let’s face it, is the main objective of the Samsung Armani phone.

 

Samsung Armani capable camera

Despite its slim body, Samsung has managed to give the Armani a 3.15-megapixel camera. Turn the device horizontally and the large screen gives the phone an authentic camera feel, although the screen feels cluttered with all the icons on display.

 

There are enough camera features to keep you occupied, with a rapid 15-shot burst mode and white balance options to improve picture quality. We found the camera struggled somewhat with moving images and produced slightly blurred results. However, with a built-in flash and video capture at 30fps, the camera is more than capable.

 

While the camera functions may tick all the right boxes, the same cannot be said of the internet browsing abilities. For such a high-end handset, there’s no Wi-Fi or 3G. The large screen provides the perfect platform for displaying web content, but a degree of patience is required to move between sites, as you have to rely on the sluggish GPRS and EDGE. It’s similar to a Bentley with no fifth gear.

Music player

 

The Samsung Armani provides a decent alternative to your iPod Nano. Boxed with a 1GB microSD card, there’s a fair amount of storage space to house all your favourite tracks. The media player is compatible with MP3, AAC and AAC+ formats, and you can also copy music files by synchronising your handset with Windows Media Player 11 on your PC. You can rate your tracks with one to five stars and create playlists accordingly.

 

Leave the media player and your music will continue to play with the album’s artwork displayed at the bottom of the screen. There’s no 3.5mm jack port, but the Armani does support A2DP Stereo Bluetooth.

 

There’s plenty of accessories boxed with the handset, nearly all with Giorgio Armani scribbled somewhere on it. The phone fits snugly into the provided leather case to protect the handset from any scuffs or scratches. There’s even a Giorgio Armani-emblazoned cloth to wipe away any unwanted finger marks.

 

Samsung Armani verdict

The Samsung Armani is a thing of beauty. It’s gorgeous both to look at and to hold. The touch-screen may be far from perfect, but is certainly one of the better interfaces we have used. The camera and music player just about make up for the lack of 3G and Wi-Fi, which means that Samsung and Armani’s first outing together should go down well with the fashion conscious among you.