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Samsung Night Effect Review

Available now
1st March 2009

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Package contents

 Samsung Night Effect box contents

 Samsung Night Effect There are plenty of things in the Samsung M7500 Night Effect's box, including a wired headset, 1GB memory card with a microSD adapter, lanyard, software CD, charger, battery and a large carry case which contains a smaller pouch for cables. You can see more of that on the unboxing page.

The 1GB card appears to be part of the standard sales package, and this is enough for around a dozen albums or more, or perhaps 900 photographs. You can easily fit a larger battery if you like, and the card is hot-swappable although you do need to remove the back cover (but not the battery!). The included microSD adapter allows you to plug the microSD card into a variety of card readers.

 Samsung Night Effect One immediately noticeable thing out of the box is that the handset seems to be well constructed and free of squeaks and creaks. All the panels and components fit together perfectly out of the box, and the 91 gram handset feels solid and reassuring.

The 2.2" OLED display is bright and easy to use, although out of personal preference we prefer the colour reproduction on a TFT display. Underneath that are the soft keys and call/end buttons plus an easy to use navigation pad. Finally, there's a flat keypad covered by a plastic membrane.

 Samsung Night Effect (detail) The keypad is worth mentioning - apart from two slight indentations around the "5" key, the number pad is completely flat, so you will need to look at it to use it. However, the backlighting is very good and the keys are easily legible in all conditions.

On the right hand side are some dedicated media keys, a volume control and a camera button. Some of these keys have other functions depending on what you are doing.
 

 Samung Night Effect - Lighting Effects Light Effects

We guess that the Night Effect is named after the Lighting Effects, one of the most impressive components of this phone. The lighting at the side can be in either red, green or blue and this is user selectable.

 Samsung Night Effect - Ringing As this video clip demonstrates, the Samsung Night Effect is very impressive when it rings, with lots of flashing lights and a very loud ringtone. It would be very hard to ignore this phone, even in the noisiest of environments.

This light show is really the Night Effect's "Unique Selling Proposition", and it lifts the handset from being fairly average to being something a rather more special.
 

 Samsung Night Effect Music Player Music Player

The inbuilt music player is simple to use and delivers loud, clear playback both through the internal speakers or a standard headset using the 3.5mm audio socket. The dedicated media keys make the music player easy to use, and there are a number of visualisation and different audio settings depending on mood or genre.

In fact, when playing around with the music player it is obvious that Samsung also make dedicated MP3 players, and overall the quality of the player seems to be much better than on a similar Nokia phone.

The music player also works in the background, so (for example) you can listen to music while surfing the web.
 

 Samsung Night Effect - Web browser Web Browsing

The Night Effect uses a version of the NetFront web browser. Although this could accurately render most pages that we threw at it, the 240 x 320 pixel display struggles with full-blown web pages. To be fair, every other handset with a similarly sized screen also has these problems. The handset uses NetFront version 3.4 where the latest is 3.5, but it's still reasonably up-to-date.

There's no WiFi support on this phone, which is a bit of a surprise given the cost. This means that you won't want to use the Night Effect for anything other than occasional web browsing, but if you do need to use it then it should be up to the job.

There's a useful full-screen mode which can be used for streaming video playback, and the Night Effect works well with services such as YouTube mobile.. assuming that you have a compatible data plan.
 

 Samsung Night Effect Camera Camera

The camera is a bit of a mixed bag. This is a 3 megapixel camera with autofocus, but no flash. In practice, we found that basic photos tended to lack detail, especially when compared to a similar Nokia handset. However, white balance was good and the Night Effect has some cool features such as Panoramic stitching, continuous shot, face detection and smile detection, and we feel that these additional features easily compensate for the lack of detail.

Although the quality of stills photographs is fair, the same cannot be said for the Night Effect's video capture. A fairly miserable 176 x 144 pixels and 15 frames per second is really not much use for anything. You can see a sample clip that we uploaded to YouTube here.

We realise that most people won't be buying the Night Effect for its camera, but we do have a selection of sample pictures if you want more detail.
 

 Samsung Night Effect User Interface Other considerations

The call quality is reasonable, incoming audio quality is good, outgoing audio quality can be described as being "fair". The Night Effect's video calling works as expected too.

The battery life appears to be quite good, although we weren't able to do any specific tests to measure longevity. The OLED technology used in the display should help to reduce power drain.

The user interface is simple to use, but scrolling through the main menu options can become rather annoying after a while. There's a high degree of customisation available for lighting effects and wallpaper, so users can keep the handset feeling fresh by choosing from different options.

One thing to bear in mind is that the Night Effect is quite an expensive phone in the UK, retailing at around £300 to £320. In Germany, the same phone costs around €250 to €280 which indicates that the UK price is likely to drop within a few months. Of course, with a contract the Night Effect is much cheaper.

Conclusion

We enjoyed playing with the Samsung Night Effect, probably more than we thought we would.

This feels like a well-made phone, the lighting effects and the music player are very good. The OLED screen is bright and pleasant to use, and the user interface is easy to get along with. The out-of-the-box experience is excellent, and the Night Effect is certainly one of the best presented phones that we can think of.

Web browsing is OK, and the call quality is acceptable. You are either going to love or hate the flat keypad arrangement.

We feel that the quality of stills photos could be sharper, but the camera has quite a lot of cool features that compensate for it. Video capture quality is very poor, inexcusably so. Many people may think that the phone is overpackaged with items that will never be used once unpacked.

Really, we feel that it comes down to price. At around £200 or €250 we think that this offers good value for money, for the £300 or €375 it currently costs in the UK, then we think it is overpriced for a phone with no GPS or WiFi. We would advise shopping around for £250 or €310 or less.

Live Video Review

See more of the Samsung Night Effect in our live video review..

 

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Samsung Night Effect at a glance

Available:

Now

Network:

GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 + UMTS 2100

Data:

GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSDPA

Screen:

240 x 320 pixels

Camera:

3 megapixels

Size:

Medium monoblock
115 x 47 x 12mm / 91 grams

Bluetooth:

Yes

Memory card:

microSD

Infra-red:

No

Polyphonic:

Yes

Java:

yes

GPS:

No

Battery life:

Not specified

 

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