There are a number of mid-range touchscreens entering the market. In the past, a smaller budget meant a less impressive spec list and unresponsive screen. This is definitely not the case with the Samsung Monte. Take a quick glance at the spec sheet and you will soon see that this sleek entry-level handset packs a load of high-end features.
The most impressive of these is the Monte’s connectivity collection. Boasting quadband GSM, dual band 3G with 3.6Mbps HSDPA and a range of local connectivity options WiFi, Bluetooth, MicroUSB, and a MicroSD card that can handle anything up to 16GB. Regardless of whether you log onto the net via WiFi or through a carriers web connection, the browser is impressive. The Dolphin Web browser is the same that we have seen previously on the Samsung Jet. Based on the well-known Webkit design the Monte’s browser is extremely responsive with finger-friendly features, such as one-finger and double tap zoom, kinetic scrolling, and effortless panning. There is also full Flash support onboard, something that is still considered a rarity, even on high-end Smartphones.
Coming in at 108.8 x 53.7 x 12.4mm the Samsung Monte shares similar dimensions with most of its competitors and weighing just 92g, it’s very pocket friendly. Despite being average size and weight for the mid-range class, the exterior is by no means ordinary. The bold paintwork is a definite eye-catcher, and bears an uncanny resemblance to the well-favoured transformer BumbleBee, or at least we think so. Unfortunately, the Monte is no friendly autobot, but it does have a torrent of hidden weaponry. The Monte sports Samsung’s Touchwiz user interface. Touchwiz 2.0 Plus, various improvements have been made to the system recently, hence the additional word. The jump from Touchwiz 2.0 to 2.0 Plus sees a big emphasis on visual features, the new interface is moving closer to the look and feel of Samsungs new Operating System Bada, which will debut next month on the Samsung Wave. The interface looks fresh and is easy to navigate; the homescreen is made up of three different panels, each with ample space for widgets. Because of its capacitive screen, a simple finger swipe is all that is needed to switch between the three. The widget tray has moved from the left hand side of the screen to the bottom, and is brought up using the gear mechanism at the top of the page. Many will be happy to know that Smart unlock has also been included in the Monte package.
Onto entertainment facilities and the Samsung Monte again exceeds expectations. The music player has all the features to which we have become accustom, 3.5mm audio jack, MicroSD card, Fm Radio with RDS, Playlist function, and decent speakers. The standard audio presets are all available, with dynamic and surround sound options too. DNSe technology provides more options to improve sound quality, externalisation, music clarity, bass enhancement, and megabass. There’s even an option that lets you record radio broadcasts.
The camera set is a mixed bag, while 3megapixels is at the lower end of the snapper scale, the added features work to improve picture quality. Smile detection’s onboard as are a number of different shot options including panoramic view. The Monte has a great photo editor packed in, providing quick photo alterations and uploads to the web. Geotagging sets the Monte apart from the rest of the mid-touch crowd, allowing users to add geographical data to their images.
There are a number of preinstalled applications to suit a variety of needs, Office Document Viewer 2007 allows users to open Word, PowerPoint and Excel documents straight from their phone, while Palringo opens up communication options to instant messaging from GTalk, ICQ, AIM and MSN. Naturally the Social Networking sites all feature, Facebook and Myspace have their own dedicated apps, while Twitter and Bebo can be accessed using widgets. There’s also Emoze, an app that provides push email for Gmail, Outlook and Facebook emails.