The Corby range has been enjoying some very serious attention for quite a while now since the first model the S3650. Samsung’s affordable range of touchscreen, multimedia and social networking ready handsets are doing well and more installments in the series have been cropping up periodically, like this the Corby Pro B5310. Here’s a quick look.
In most facets it’s exactly the same as its predecessor with a couple of modifications. It’s twice the size in depth to accommodate the full QWERTY slide out (very smooth pop slider) keypad and of course it weighs more because of this and Samsung’s gone with a Resistive touchscreen as opposed to the Capacitive version that was incorporated into the S3650. It is bulky and a bit heavy as well, but not enough to make it an issue for users. The keypad itself may seem a little congested however it’ll take no more than a couple of minutes to get used to. The 2.8-inch display is large and convenient enough to easily view in both modes.
What’s truly remarkable about this specific Corby model is the fact that Samsung has incorporated a very standardized norm for its outward connectivity options. It comes with a 3.5mm handsfree port and a micro USB port for the charger and PC connectivity. It also comes with changeable rear panels and the colors available for this model are so much sober than the originals.
Even with the added weight and bulk it’s still a well designed handset.
Features and Performance
The TouchWiz UI hasn’t been altered in any way for the handset. It’s smooth and quite responsive for all operations. The Accelerometer works just fine to switch screen orientation whenever required. Samsung’s Etiquette settings and Gesture Unlocking features also work without a hitch and are still very intuitive as far as mobile technology goes especially when you consider the price points of their handsets. Widgets are in plentiful for the multiple desktops and you can also choose to download more.
A minor issue that popped up was that in landscape mode, some of the screens appear a bit cramped with little space provided for actual data entry. Functions and headers etc. seemed to occupy most of the top and bottom portions. This is also something one can get used to though. On the plus side the resistive touchscreen made a little bit of difference when it came to touchscreen responsiveness and control. I especially liked the End Task option that it also presents. It helps conserve the battery and you’ll need it. More on that later.
The music player has been upped a bit to include a few more EQ presets. Audio quality and overall output is really good. The tones are well balanced and the bass line can be enhanced if you find it lacking a bit, which is very doubtful. The handset’s FM radio also turned out to be a great asset for those who liked tuning into the radio waves. Reception was decent in most areas with a little bit of static while commuting. That’s expected though. The radio also supports recording on the go. Samsung’s FindMusic application that works just like Sony’s TrackID is a good way to get information on tracks played through the radio or external sources. It uses the handset’s voice recording capabilities to function for outside sources.
While some sites mention that the CorbyPRO supports codecs for DivX and XviD video formats, my test files did not play. Nor did any other videos I loaded onto the card. 3GP and MPEG4 videos were a non issue though and were comfortable to view on the device’s 2.8-inch display.
The CorbyPRO is loaded with connectivity options from Bluetooth v2.1 with A2DP to USB 2.0 and Wi-Fi as well. However I had quite a bit of a problem using Wi-Fi as it seemed like it refused to access any of the hot spots available either at my home or office. Although the handset found the access points they refused to connect, so I had to rely on EDGE for most of my net access. The Web browser is easy to manage and renders sites quite well for effectual and convenient access. The keypad makes things a little better for viewing in landscape mode as typing is so much easier. The handset is also 3G ready.
What’s also quite remarkable considering the PRO’s pricing is that it’s equipped with an internal GPS antenna to be used with Google Maps with A-GPS support. It takes a little longer than most of the higher end handsets to locate satellites though. Again, for this price, it’s not something you’d readily notice. Social Networking is one of the Corby’s fortes as Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and YouTube apps are preloaded. Samsung has also thrown in a Palringo chat client for those who use AOL, MSN or Gtalk. Downloading POP and IMAP emails is a cinch but I did have to enter a few settings manually. The device can also sync with Microsoft Exchange servers.
There’s plenty in the connectivity department making the CorbyPRO as feature rich as any high end handset out there.
All the more mundane features you’d look for in a handset like an Alarm clock, Calendar, Notes, Memo pad Converter and Calculator to name a few, were all present. As usual Samsung has included quite a few games out of which only a couple are full and free the rest are of the Try and Buy variety.
The PRO’s 3.2MP camera is fixed focus but manages to feature a Smile Shot function anyways. Other features include Samsung’s omni-directional, auto-stitch Panorama mode, White Balance, Scene modes, a self timer and a very handy image editor that can make quite a bit of difference to your images.
On the whole picture quality is quite good. For a camera phone in this range, pictures are quite crisp and clear for landscapes. Sometimes though, the camera has an issue with focusing on objects at a closer range. The camera also uses the handset’s GPS antenna to geotag images.
Where the CorbyPRO seriously lacks is the battery. Although Samsung claims it can offer up to 8 hours of talk time, I would have been content with half. However on an average the PRO provided about 3 hours and change. On a single charge, I was able to squeeze out a little over a day and half of usage. It’s not bad but considering the previous model fared so much better one tends to expect the same from the ones to follow.
The Bottom Line
With a price tag of Rs. 11, 450 (MOP) the CorbyPRO is the cheapest touchscreen handset on the Indian market that manages to successfully incorporate both Wi-Fi and GPS with a slide out QWERTY keypad. Like its predecessor, the PRO is a great handset for the youth segment that has a little more money to spend for a couple of additional features. Its closest competitor would be the Samsung Star Wi-Fi, but the PRO is definitely superior. Its only drawback is a slightly diminished battery capacity as compared to the S3650. Seems like Samsung is competing with itself.