Pros very good call quality, very good speaker phone quality and volume, brilliant screen, nice keypad
Cons Absolutely primitively designed user interface; missing some useful functionality
Summary I waited a long time to find an acceptable phone to replace my aging but excellent Sony Ericcson K700i. I have always used SE phones and I am biased in favor of them. Now, they have been pretty basic and not very sexy but they are rugged, dependable, great battery life and I especially love their common sense, intuitive menus. For me, I have really never have to read the user's manual to figure out how to use their phones (and most of their electronics products). And what is great is they are very efficient for the user - it doesn't take flipping through several menus to do something - usually one or two button clicks and it is done!
Now that you know where I am coming from, here is my review. Ok, I gave this Samsung a chance and was really excited to get it, but I have determined that it is NO FUN to use!!! Even the littlest task has been made to be more complex than it needs to be!!! Readers, I am completely serious and I am pretty tech savvy so I think I am being quite accurate. I am not too demanding and I do not ask for much to make me happy, but this phone is ridiculous. It is a lot of work and takes several steps to do anything! Want to delete smth like an sms? Several steps through a menu. Want to find out if your sms was delivered? They send you a detailed report (not just a little envelope icon that is opened next to the sent sms) so there is double the junk in my inbox. Want to check out your out and in sms boxes? Littered screens with your sent and received messages. Try deleting a bunch of them. It is so slow, tedious and you are constantly scrolling through menus. And you want to write an sms? Talk about making it complicated to add symbols, punctuation and edit a word in your text!!! Even the littlest task is more complicated than it needs to be. So I have found that this phone is plagued with a primitively designed user interface takes all the fun and excitement using this phone. For me, I want to do what I want to do on a phone fast and not take three times longer to do the same task on a phone that looks cool. How to explain the good reviews? Beats me. Maybe these folks have always used similarly designed interfaces and don't know any better or perhaps they really don't care about getting things done with your phone efficiently, quickly and easily. If this stuff doesn't bother you then you will love this phone. If you are like me then run away and don't look back.
Pros Decent Build Quality, Nice Screen, Easy Wi-Fi Set-up
Cons Ocassional Difficulty staying connnected to Wi-Fi networks. Mediocre Camera,
Summary I purchased 2 of these phones for myself and my wife. We had previously been getting poor cellular service at our home so we opted to try out the @Home T-Mobile service in hopes that we could eliminate our need for a land line, as well as improve our cellular service at home.
The Katalyst received a decent review from cnet.com and was praised for having "excellent call quality". After several days of use, I am not entirely convinced that the sound quality is excellent, however, I am willing to give it a few more days. When conversing with my wife at home on her phone, there seems to be quite a bit more background noise than I am accustomed too. I was hopeful that a wi-fi connection would give flawless sound quality but I'm not terribly impressed. I suppose my expectations were a little too high.
Getting the phones to connect to our home wi-fi network was simple enough (although at first there were several "connection errors", persistence yielded a successful connection). I was also able to connect to my brother and parents home wi-fi networks as well with ease. Much praise can be given to Samsung in the ease of wi-fi setup. It is quick and simple. It also allows for several networks and profiles to be saved. The phone also seems to automatically switch to Wi-Fi when in range of your programmed networks.
I have had several issues with both of my phones intermittently losing connection to my home wi-fi network. I will contact T-mobile customer service to see if they can resolve this issue, but I am somewhat disappointed in this "bug". In the few reviews of the Hotspot@Home service I have read of several others with a similar issue. I am hopeful that T-mobile has a cure for this issue.
Concerning the rest of the Katalyst phone features, I was somewhat disappointed in the ring tones that came with the phone. There was almost no tones I would deem acceptable as a standard ringer. All the included tones seemed to be too "foo foo". Although it does seem easy enough to upload your own MP3 ringtones I am somewhat disappointed that none of the included ringers were even close to being acceptable.
Pros sleek design, big bright screen, sturdy solid build
Cons heavy for its size, so-so keyboard, music capabilities are a joke
Summary Since I moved in with my girlfriend about six months ago, I've been living in a cell phone dead zone so Hotspot @ Home was a must for me. When T-Mobile officially launched it in 2007, there were only two (rather lame) handsets available. If you don't count the Blackberry Curve or the pre-launch phones (only available in the Seattle test market), this is the third traditional handset to support Hotspot @ Home and the only slider so far.
T-Mobile has cleared up the problems with the earlier H@H handsets (like the Samsung t709) and the whole WiFi calling operation is extremely smooth. I'm still occasionally unable to connect to my wireless network at home, though strangely my girlfriend's t409 almost always stays connected.
The build quality of the Katalyst is probably its most striking feature. It's got shiny metal trim around the outside front face (possibly contributing to its heft) and the plastic parts are well made. Nothing about it feels flimsy. The buttons and d-pad are relatively comfortable and placed intelligently. If you're a heavy texter (like me), the RAZR-esque keyboard may leave a bit to be desired.
What peeves me most about this phone (and the wireless industry in general) is the rush to put half-baked features into a phone that don't really work. Here's the problem: The Katalyst has both a media player and a microSD expansion slot, leading you to believe you could conceivably use the device to listen to music. The next logical add-on would obviously be a pair of headphones. But guess what... they don't make any! If you go to the Samsung USA site and look for accessories for the Katalyst, all you'll find is a mono headset. The same is true on T-Mobile's site. Want a real hoot? Call T-Mobile's customer service line and ask a sales rep about it. So how exactly are we supposed to enjoy the musical capabilities of this phone -- through the built-in speaker? As the CNET review points out, this isn't a substitute for a proper MP3 player but come on, what the f*** were they thinking? To be fair, some of the stereo earbuds they have for sale on Samsung's official site *might* work but that's just a guess.
That aside, it's a generally very good phone. I seldom use speaker phone but regular non-speaker call quality is fine and reception on the regular cell network seems as good as any other phone I've had. I'm a pretty big fan of current Samsung software. The menus are nicely laid out and generally easy to navigate and it actually has some useful extras. The tip calculator is great -- you type in the total, tell it how many people are paying and it tells you how much each person owes. The alarm feature is better than Motorola's but could still use some improvements. For instance, it stops going off if you snooze it (by hitting any of the keys on the side) more than three times. I could be wrong about this since I'm not exactly coherent when it happens but it definitely stops after a certain number of snoozes, which seems like a generally bad idea for an alarm. And I have to believe more and more people are using their cell phones as alarm clocks, making it more than just a novelty.
One thing that's relatively easy to do is use your own MP3's as ringtones and you don't even need a data cable. If you email yourself an MP3, it can be saved to the phone's memory and used a ring tone but NOT as a message or alarm tone, which just seems odd to me. This is another bizarre Samsung oddity but there are only a certain set of message tones to choose from. You can't use the ringtones as message tones and vice versa. Same goes for alarm sounds. Again, that just seems weird. When you're in the screen to choose a ring tone, you have more options than when you're choosing a message tone.
The camera is your basic, bogus cell phone cam. No flash, no real focus mechanism, and you're not gonna get **** unless you're taking a picture outside, in broad daylight, of an object 3 to 8 feet in front of you. I hate seeing any slider phone that doesn't take advantage of the form factor as a lens cover. The lens for the camera is on the back of the phone and, like any other phone cam, is always going to be gunked up. Ideally, the lens should be concealed when the phone is closed and revealed when it's slid open.
If you're familiar with Samsung's sofware, and are looking for a sleek slider, or you want a cooler looking Hotspot @ Home than the boring one you've got, the Katalyst is your man.
Pros Tested in Korea
Cons Nothing Special
Summary It's really sad to see the phones that get released in Korea or Japan, sent to the US with great expectations. It's time to be more demanding in the US market!
Pros Feels sturdy.
Cons Totally dissapointed and customer service is horrible.
Summary This phone is advertised as bluetooth capable. My last Samsung worked great in my car (Rav 4 w/bluetooth). This phone will not connect but did pair. I called Samsung and they reset the phone. This erased ALL OF my stuff. After that, they realized that this phone is not compatible w/Toyotas built in bluetooth. I'm soooooo mad! They deleted all of my stuff BEFORE telling me that? Now I can't use it with my car and that is such a complete waste.