The Samsung Memoir has been rumored to make its way to the nation’s newest 3G network for a very, very long time. Starting today, however, it’s available in all of T-Mobile’s retail stores, online, and over the phone. Samsung’s high-end optics on handsets are nothing new, but an 8 megapixel sensor certainly trumps anything available in the U.S. market (sold by a carrier). In terms of raw specs, you’re looking at T-Mobile 3G support, touch screen with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface (we’ll get into that in a bit), Xenon flash, HTML web browser, A-GPS and nifty photo functions such as smile and face detection along with geo-tagging capabilities.
The feel of the handset is actually great. It’s a combination of metal, soft-touch-finished paint and plastic which all blend together marvelously. The physical design works extremely well as far as not cramping your style no matter how you’re using the phone — web browsing, taking photos, texting — plus, there’s not too much you can do to hide an 8 megapixel sensor.
TouchWiz is a decent attempt at jazzing up a rather poor, old, and horrible operating system that Samsung has made us deal with. You’re given a list of widgets that can be dropped on the home screen for your enjoyment, but we really found this to be a pain in the ass. The home screen offers basically no functionality besides showing the clock and the weather. Everything else is a just a shortcut to another application. If Samsung had copied a little bit of HTC’s TouchFLO 3D, they would have made this at least a little bit more interesting.
Diving into the handset’s OS, you sort of get a dull feeling. Nothing pops out at you and nothing is really interesting. In a world of smartphone operating system battles, even featurephones nowadays need to start stepping it up. Text-based menus really aren’t going to cut it, you know? Like, at least try a little bit for us, ok? The photo section of the phone is probably the most manicured part of the handset, but even that really isn’t saying much. Sure you can swipe to peruse your photos from last night’s drunken stupor, and yes, you can automagically (credit: Gizmodo) upload your pictures to Flickr and T-Mobile MyAlbum service, but we just don’t see the connection here. You know, between a phone and a camera. Especially with an OS so bad and so 1999, it just doesn’t work in our minds. If you really want a decent cameraphone on T-Mobile, we’d completely recommend picking up the Motorola ZN5 over this bad boy, it at least has a decent phone OS that you can work with. The resistive touch screen tech mixed with a pretty bad excuse for an operating system boiled with an 8 megapixel sensor baked with text menus aren’t exactly our cup of tea.
Then there’s also the price-point. For $249.99 on a 2-year agreement, we’d have trouble not slapping you if you didn’t pick up the BlackBerry Curve 8900 over this. Didn’t you hear? T-Mobile can’t keep them on the shelves. We highly doubt stockrooms won’t be cozying up the Samsung Memoir, though. It’s not horrible, it just isn’t worth the hassle or the price. At least in our photo scrapbook.