Oct 17, 2009

Samsung Player Ultra

Samsung Ultra Player
You could hardly miss the many advertisements for Player Ultra, the latest Korean mobile manufacturer Samsung. Its originality be both tactile and has a sliding keyboard. And its features photographs are equivalent to those of the Player Pixon!

Samsung Player Ultra
Samsung Player Ultra_ouvert

Phone overview
Ultra Player his stage name, the S8300 is a phone of its time. It is fully multimedia (audio, video, radio, office files ...) and integrates virtually all standard technologies that communicate, with the exception of WiFi rather unfortunate. The quad-band phone is compatible with all network data from GPRS to 3G + (HSDPA). It is equipped with a Bluetooth chip, as all phones today, and also an A-GPS receiver. For information, Assisted GPS is a method of geolocation, which is based on servers in the operator, which has its own satellite dishes to facilitate connections between the phone and satellites. The initial identification of the mobile is doing in the ladle by simple triangulation GSM. Unlike the autonomous GPS, where the mobile device directly research satellites for guidance, a mobile A-GPS will require servers to its operator where the closest satellite, and via the data network (GPRS or 3G) . The advantage is that the first connection is faster and guiding less resources because it is the server of the operator who will perform the necessary calculations to determine the position of satellites. And the process works best in areas with low visibility of the sky. By cons, if the GPRS or 3G coverage is lacking, support is possible.

We find otherwise customizable touchscreen interface (widgets) of previous models, this time with a 2.8-inch AMOLED screen ultra bright, which displays 16 million colors beautiful! Tactile but also because the slider Ultra Player cache a sliding keyboard. This Samsung sounds like an admission of weakness: the touch is for show, but to enter text and numbers, the keyboard is still more convenient ... It appreciates the delicacy of the cons cell (for a camera phone Touch ...) or the quality of the finish product, with the exception of the battery hatch which scratches very quickly.

Samsung Player Ultra_maps
Samsung Player Ultra_clavier

Navigation in Google Maps and slider

Ergonomics and reactivity

And now, if you took a picture? To do this, it is mandatory to open the slide since the optical, flash and mirror (for self portraits) are housed behind the screen, under the hull. Dedicated hand, we find the trigger on the right edge of the phone and the zoom button, which adjusts the volume normally on the left spine. A provision impractical since with the shutter on the forefinger and thumb zoom in, it tends to press both keys simultaneously. As the phone is fine, we must keep both hands to obtain sufficient stability: careful not to cover the lens, eccentric left, with fingers!

The six other controls are tactile, arranged on either side of the screen in vertical strips. The judicious combination of settings in the menus is that setting the phone easily. Menus that are crossing visually pleasing as airy and explicit. The touchscreen responds quite well except on the edges of the screen to confirm that it is often necessary to make a dry contact with the finger. It's annoying the first time but you'll quickly get the knack. And if you do not do it, Samsung has provided shortcuts on the keyboard keys 1, 2, 3, *, 0 and #, which provide quick access to certain settings. Pity it is not possible to customize.
Samsung Player Ultra_déclencheur
Samsung Player Ultra_zoom

Trigger and zoom control

Samsung Player Ultra_objectif
Samsung Player Ultra_tenue

Objective and holding the camera

To switch to shooting mode, two options: either we keep the shutter button, or you through the menu and clicking on the camera icon. By the faster, the camera is available in 3.5 seconds, a reasonable time. 3.5 seconds is also the time between two shots, and then the Ultra Player ranks rather high in the pavement. The autofocus works well (1.65 s) but sees himself penalized by the onset latency than the average 0.6 seconds (delay between when the shutter is pressed and when the photo was taken). If the subject is fast, he'll have to anticipate! Unless you use the burst mode, which takes 9 pictures in just over 4 seconds, but resolution 0.3 Mpix ... Finally, the speed of data transfer (USB mass storage mode) reached 5.5 MB / s, a figure very correct. And the cable is a standard USB microphone, a good point!

Samsung Player Ultra_connectique

Micro USB Cable

Settings and Features

The Ultra Player ranks well at this level: it is packed with settings that do not often found on compact APN. The first command to touch the top left of the screen to choose the shooting: normal stage or video. Incidentally, the video mode Ultra Player surpasses all the competition, with a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels in MPEG-4 Visual at 30 frames per second! The control located just below serves to clarify the previous choice: if you are in the scene, here you can choose from 14 configurations. In normal touch this command provides access to different modes: single photo, burst, panorama, smile detection, mosaic picture frames or photo booth fun way. The panorama mode is stunning simplicity: select the number of photos you want to bind, capture the first frame and then rotate slowly in the direction indicated, Ultra Player automatically following pictures and final assembly! The result, however imperfect, is rather successful given the lack of effort. On the right side of the screen are arranged in the order the flash control (automatic or forced off), exposure compensation (-2 to +2 EV) and the play button to switch to viewing.

Samsung Player Ultra_menus

Samsung Player Ultra_panoramique

Panoramic done in seconds

We've saved the best for last, with the button at the bottom left that contains all other settings. The list is long: autofocus mode (AF, macro, face detection, depth of field maximum), timer (useless because the phone does not on its edge ...), resolution, white balance, effects (black and white, sepia ... ), sensitivity (100 to 1 600 ISO), exposure metering (matrix, weighted, spot), stabilizer, WDR (wide dynamic range to balance the contrasting scenes), detection of eye blinks, choice of compression (four levels ), and independent adjustment of contrast, saturation and sharpness! That's for the picture settings. Because there is also a second tab for the camera settings: grid display, thumbnail images, automatic rotation, geo-tagging, shutter sound, location of storage ... arch is short track, worthy of a good compact! Note that the optional geo-tagging works perfectly, the Ultra Player very quickly locating satellite signals. If you use Picasa and Google Earth, your photos will be geo-marked automatically placed on the globe.

Samsung Player Ultra_paramètres
Samsung Player Ultra_geotagging

Photo Settings and geo-tagging

Quality photos
Now for something serious. The Player offers Ultra-he image quality worthy of a compact 8 Megapixel? No, clearly not. The lack of a perspective already too irregular if the center of the picture reveals sufficient clarity on the edges are fuzzy edges and slightly deformed. Note that the fixed focal length is roughly equal to 38 mm in 24x36: A little more perspective would have been welcome. In addition, telephony requires, the images are quite compressed. Even by setting up quality, you can see slight artifacts when viewing images at full size. But it remains generally moderate to low sensitivity, the Ultra Player delivers images balanced, good for a phone. However, the paradox between the miniaturization of sensors (3 to 5 mm wide) and the surge in the number of photosites (8 million here) begins to cause problems in image processing at high sensitivities. Thus, the rather good quality in daylight is quickly altered when the light drops and increase the ISO: fleecy edges, noise color and texture is blurred in a smooth delivery. The results are suitable to ISO 200, ISO 400 means little exploitable and beyond, except possibly for small prints troubleshooting. However, the extent of exposure generally is doing well and the white balance is just outside and rather correct procedure.

The Player Ultra is the only camera phone if the comparison to not having opted for a Xenon flash but a single LED. The result is clear: its power is low enough to freeze a dimly lit scene and made turns green. Finally, another big difference with a compact camera is the lack of optical zoom. It will take just a few quality digital zoom operates as a simple interpolation of pixels. In 4X zoom, only a quarter of the resolution is used, either 816 x 612 pixels (0.5 MP): the missing pixels are created artificially to arrive at 8 MP. In addition, the zoom transitions take place in increments of 0.25 X so choppy and slow. Better to avoid abuse. Same story with regard to stabilization, there also digital, far less efficient than optically. And anyway, given the poor quality digital zoom, one wonders why propose a stabilization ... Note that wide-angle, turn the digital stabilization extends the focal length, which becomes even less wide angle.

Samsung Player Ultra_extérieurGA
Samsung Player Ultra_extérieurTL
Samsung Player Ultra_WDR

photo outside the large-angle, 4X zoom and photo light against the light with wide dynamic range enabled

Samsung Player Ultra_macro
Samsung Player Ultra_portrait flash
Samsung Player Ultra_lab

From left to right: macro photography, portrait indoors with flash, staged at 5000 ° K

Samsung Player Ultra_1600ISO_stabOFF
Samsung Player Ultra_1600ISO_stabON

At left, photo 1 600 ISO without stabilization right with stabilization (full size)

Publishing Opportunities

The Ultra Player no shortage of material resources. And so much better because Samsung does not provide software for image editing, but simply PC Studio, an interface to manage the phone via the computer. So you have to use third party software or make your edits from the phone. On the menu, there are effects (14 filters, 13 styles, 10 distortions, blurring effect part), colorimetric adjustments (levels, brightness, contrast, color), the basic transformations (resize, rotate, flip, crop) and insertions (frame, image, clipart, emoticons, text). Not much to criticize except that most effects and filters are not controllable and that the miniatures that symbolize are not always very striking.
Samsung Player Ultra_effet1
Samsung Player Ultra_effet2
Samsung Player Ultra_effet3

Sold from € 349 outside the package, the Ultra Player is a camera phone fun to use and complete. Overall, it delivers very accurate images for a phone. If he is totally convincing outside, it is disappointing however indoors because of its flash LED too small and management of high sensitivity, respectable for a phone but smaller than a compact. Not enough to replace a camera but then one extra interesting solution to capture instant on the spot, if indeed the average reactivity does not miss the moment to capture.


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