First Take: Samsung E720

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Samsung E720
Samsung has updated its popular E700 clamshell mobile phone, adding Bluetooth, a megapixel camera and support for MP3 playback.

Based on the same design as the E700, Samsung's E720 is a clamshell mobile phone with an internal antenna. It also boasts some significant extras such as a megapixel camera, Bluetooth, MP3 playback and tri-band network support.

Upside: Samsung has added three multimedia buttons to control MP3 playback to the front of the E720, directly beneath the external display. Pressing play on the E720 instantly starts a song through the headphones (if attached) or the E720's loudspeaker. The external OLED screen shows the equaliser during playback, which swaps to the main display when the phone is flipped opened.

The resolution of the camera has increased from the E700's VGA (640 x 480 pixels) limit up to one megapixel.

A notable omission from the E700 was Bluetooth. Thankfully, Samsung has realised the demand for the wireless technology, which allows cable-free connection to a PC and support for Bluetooth headsets, and added it to the device.

Unlike the dual-band E700, the E720 is a tri-band handset, which will make it more appealing to travellers.

Downside: Even though the internal memory has been bumped up to 90MB, the E720 doesn't support any expansion cards. With this limiting factor, the handset will only be able to store around 25 MP3 songs at an average compression level.

Outlook: Although the E720 looks almost identical to its predecessor, Samsung has added many features that are shaping up to be standard additions this year, such as megapixel cameras and MP3 support.

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The Korean-based manufacturer hopes to release the E720 in Australia around May or June this year. At this early stage, a recommended retail price could not be confirmed. If it is any indication, the E700 retailed for AU$899 when it was released in the Q4, 2003.