As the phone is a messaging device, we're happy to see text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging, and AT&T's mobile e-mail. The latter has a restricted, clunky Web-based interface that lets you access POP3 e-mail services like Gmail, AT&T Mail, Hotmail, and others, but it takes too long to launch and load. The Flight II also includes a few social networking apps like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, that offers quicker access to their status update page. If you don't want the individual app, there's an AT&T Social Net app that combines them all into one interface with different tabs. The app has an RSS reader in it as well, though you're limited to the built-in news feeds.
The phone's other basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, an alarm clock, a memo pad, a tasks list, a calculator, a tip calculator, a unit converter, a world clock, a timer, and a stopwatch. You'll also find voice command support, stereo Bluetooth, USB mass storage mode, GPS with AT&T Navigator, and a full HTML Web browser. The HTML browser is pretty basic, but you can still do things like zoom in and out of Web pages by tapping the screen, do a Yahoo search from the toolbar, and access the usual browser settings like cache and history.
As the Flight II is a 3G phone, you'll find it has access to AT&T's full array of broadband services. They include Mobile Video for streaming video content, AT&T Mobile Music, and AT&T Radio that lets you listen to various radio stations for $4.99 a month. AT&T Mobile Music has undergone a makeover since the last time we saw it. This time it's a full-fledged player and shop experience, plus it has a song identification feature built right in. You can also enter in lyrics of a song to see if it can find the song's name. Instead of going through Napster or eMusic, you can buy the song from AT&T and have it billed to the regular phone bill. If you'd rather use your own songs, you can load it to the phone via USB or microSD card. The phone has 512MB internal memory and supports up to 16GB microSD cards. The player itself is quite simple, with repeat, shuffle, and playlist creation features.
The 2.0-megapixel camera on the Flight II appears unchanged from its predecessor. It can take pictures in four resolutions and three quality settings. Other camera features include a night mode, exposure metering, four color effects, brightness, white balance, a self-timer, fun frames, a multishot mode, a smile shot feature, panoramic and mosaic shot mode, and three shutter sounds plus a silent option. Also, its camcorder can record in 320x240- and 176x44-pixel resolutions with a similar set of features from the still camera. You can record clips for about 50 seconds for MMS and as long as possible in storage mode. You can also stream the video clips via AT&T VideoShare to a compatible phone.
The Flight II's camera photo quality was quite bad. Its images looked blurry and out of focus, and they had a pinkish tint to them. Its colors looked dim and muddy too.
You can customize the Flight II with a variety of wallpaper and ringtones, and you can always get more from the AT&T store. The Flight II also comes with a few apps and games like Mobile Banking, YellowPages Mobile, AT&T Family Map, AT&T Maps, WHERE, PicDial, Star Tweets, WikiMobile, My-Cast Weather, MobiTV, FunScreez, Monopoly Here and Now, PAC-MAN, Tetris, The Oregon Trail, and the World Series of Poker. You can download more from the AT&T AppCenter if you wish.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz) Samsung Flight II in San Francisco using AT&T service. Its call quality was fairly good in general, but it had a few failings. The camera showed it had a strong signal for the most part. On our end, our callers sounded loud and clear; however, there was some noticeable static at times. Our caller's voice quality was good and sounded natural.
On their end, our callers said that we sounded a bit harsh and that there were a few times when our voice would cut out. Otherwise, its voice quality was quite clear without much static or interference. Overall, the calls we made with the speakerphone were good; our callers said we sounded much louder and more echo-heavy, but they could still hear us well.
The phone's 3G speeds did not impress us. Even though the phone indicated we were in a 3G area, it acted as if we were in an area with a much slower network. For example, it took us almost 3 minutes to download a song, and even then it disconnected halfway through. Similarly, its streaming video quality was inconsistent. Sometimes when streaming video the content would buffer quickly, but other times, it wouldn't load at all. While the phone's video quality is quite decent, there's a bit of pixelation; but it's fine for simple video clips.
The Flight II's performance was sluggish for the most part during our testing. When transitioning between menus and home screens, it often had a 1 to 2 second delay, which is much too slow, we feel.
The Flight II has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 10.4 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 5 hours and 12 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, it has a digital SAR of 0.6 watts per kilogram.