I own a Samsung A717 phone. It has a superb camera on it. It takes really nice pictures. That didn’t quite come across right – it has the ability to take really nice pictures…
If you’re going to make a device that includes a camera, you would think it might be sensible to spend a moment looking at the conventions of the makers of … cameras. For instance, take the all important trigger – the button you press to take your picture.
Camera manufacturers put this on the top of the camera: you click down with your index finger and stabilize against the click with your thumb, a very easy motion. My last two cell-phones at least had the button on the sides.
But no, amongst it’s many sins (sucky and slow operating system and software, annoying menus and after-the-fact ok prompts) is the fact that to take your picture you have to click a button in the center of the back of the phone – pushing the phone in the air with your thumb against your index finger introducing a lot of shake.
Then there is a 1-2 second pause while the phone loads the “shutter sound”, then it plays the sound, and then a moment later it takes the picture.
The whacked out timing, the odd delays and the long pause after taking the picture before you can see your image (some times) aside … It’s the worst possible design for a camera because pictures invariably come out like this (which was going to be a col picture of part of the live game server cluster, but instead is a blurry picture of various lights).
If you use the timer to take a picture so the camera is stationery, the picture quality is pretty damn excellent. But it’s incredibly hard getting a non-fuzzy picture when holding the camera and the actual timing of taking a picture so wildly inaccurate that you rarely capture what you think you’re going to capture.
Then there is the navigation button. The round dial in the middle of the phone is a four-way button/navigation dial with a twist. The little AT&T logo in the middle is the button that executes the least desirable function in any given menu. Did I mention that it was right in the middle of the 4-way navigation ring, or that the navigation buttons are little more than a tilt switch and that failure to press them at exactly the right points counts as pressing the central button? Oh, and it’s default behavior is to start the browser and connect to the Internet, costing you money if you’re not on an unlimited plan.
Lastly, it seems this finger is designed for people with dainty fingers or long nails. The notch along the sides of the phone is long but ridiculously narrow. It takes me, and everyone else I’ve handed the thing to, two hands to open the phone, and usually a fumble.
So lets see if I can summarize this phone:
. Hard to operate,
. Irksome menu hierachies,
. Quality pictures are very good quality,
I’ve given this phone 3 months – or maybe it’s only 1 but it feels like three. Nope. Time to get another.