Samsung Monte, or Samsung GT-S5620 is a 3.5G GPS enabled touchscreen phone with WiFi. It is similar in specification to the B7300 (but without Windows) and the Blue Earth (but without a solar panel), meaning that the Monte fits into a very small gap in Samsung’s current product range.
Samsung’s just gone ahead and pulled the trigger on announcing its S5620 Monte ahead of Mobile World Congress next week, offering a decent set of social features and Google integration at what should be a pretty reasonable price. The “reasonable price” part of this equation comes thanks to a 3-inch WQVGA display and 3.2 megapixel camera, though exact pricing hasn’t been announced; meanwhile, you’ve got a whole host of features that you’d typically associate with higher-end devices like WiFi, Exchange ActiveSync support, and integration with Google’s Latitude service to keep track of your friends’ whereabouts from afar. Riding atop the latest “2.0 Plus” version of Sammy’s ubiquitous TouchWiz UI, the phone features 3.6Mbps HSDPA on the 900 and 2100MHz bands (read: no US support here) and has AGPS, integrated FM radio with RDS, and microSD support up to 16GB. We should know more on pricing and availability around MWC, we imagine, but for now, specs and this lovely picture are all we’re going to get.
The S5620 Monte does look quite stylish and interesting, but some of the other features can best be regarded as being mundane but useful. The 3″ 240 x 400 pixel touchscreen display is a fairly standard TFT panel that is similar to many others on the market. On the back is a 3.2 megapixel camera with support for geo-tagging, which is again useful but not extraordinary.
This is a 3.5G device with maximum HSDPA download speeds of up to 3.6 Mbps, and the Monte also supports WiFi connectivity.
Social networking support is built in, with applications for Facebook and MySpace plus support for Bebo and Twitter, which we guess is kind of inevitable these days. The Monte runs the TouchWiz 2.0 Plus interface on top of Samsung’s own proprietary OS.
Samsung S5620 Monte Multimedia support is decent enough, with a multimedia player that can cope with MP3, AAC and WMA audio plus others, and H.263, H.264 and MPEG4 video. There’s no mention of support for WMV video so we guess it doesn’t have it. There is a 3.5mm audio socket though, and the Monte supports stereo Bluetooth.
The built-in GPS supports Google Maps 3.0 and Google Latitude. Again, this is useful but just about every other handset we see at the moment can do the same thing.
All the usual software features are here such as a web browser and email client, and the S5620 also supports Exchange ActiveSync. Again, these features are hardly uncommon.
But add all these features together and it does seem that the S5620 Monte does seem to have almost everything you need. Yes, there are phones with better displays and cameras and cleverer operating systems and gimmicks, but we have to admit that the Monte does seem to be pretty well specced.
It manages to avoid the dreaded black slab effect somewhat, and it is available in black / silver or graphite / orange colour combinations.
A suggested SIM-free retail price of about €260 marks this out as a midrange handset. Samsung say that the Monte should be available in February in Germany and will be supported with a multi-million pound advertising campaign in April in the UK