Samsung Eternity II Review by AaronAaron Baker - Director, Content and Partnerships
What's Good: Thin and light; long battery life.
What's Bad: Resistive screen isn't entirely accurate; suffers from occasional lag.
The Verdict: The Samsung Eternity II is a decent mid-range touchscreen featurephone, but it suffers from some lag. In a world of sub-$100 smartphones, it's a bit pricey.
The Samsung Eternity II is the replacement to the original Eternity, which closely resembled the Samsung Behold on T-Mobile. As we've seen before, the Eternity II is a watered down version of the original phone, yet it retains a somewhat high price tag. It offers some unique design features, but at the end of the day, it's another touchscreen featurephone in an already saturated market. In the midst of cheap smartphones and other mid-range featurephones, does the Eternity II offer enough to make it worthwhile?
Design & Features
The Eternity II ships with the battery, AC adapter module, USB cable, microphone cable, and instruction manuals. Measuring in at 4.41 inches tall by 2.11 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick, and weighing 3.2 ounces, it's thin and light enough to throw in a bag or pocket. The 3-inch touchscreen is somewhat pixelated, but offers 262,144 colors and 240 x 400 pixels.
The left side of the device contains the volume rocker, while the right side sports the microUSB charging port, lock button, fast app switching button, and camera shortcut button. The 2-megapixel camera is located on the back of the device. Sadly, there's no headphone jack, so those wanting to use a headset are stuck with the included microUSB to 3.5mm headphone jack. I like how the battery cover offers a unique 3D-like bubble design on the back (it looks textured but it isn't).
Usability & Performance
The Eternity II offers the AT&T's standard user interface with three home screens, and a widget bar on the left side of the screen. For a featurephone, the device offers a number of personalization options, such as home screen widgets, background wallpaper, and the ability to move menu icons. The typical AT&T programs are installed - AT&T Navigator, YP Mobile, AT&T Mall, Mobile E-Mail, Mobile Video, and more. For a featurephone, the Eternity II offers some neat data-centric applications like WHERE, WikiMobile, Power Chat, and My-Cast Weather as well.
When in landscape mode, the keyboard was relatively decent, though the resistive touchscreen didn't always register my gestures.
The Eternity II packs a 2.0-megapixel camera, and overall, images were relatively decent, provided the lighting was right (since there's no flash). Editing options include shooting modes, resolution, white balance, brightness, and more. The video camera shoots in two resolutions (one for MMS, and one for storage on the microSD card), and provides a decent picture quality for the occasional recording on the go.
I worked with the phone in Charlotte, and overall call quality was decent. I was able to understand my callers, and they were pleased with how I sounded. I took the device to a dead zone just outside of the city limits, and while my two test callers were able to carry on a conversation with me, there was quite a bit of static. I tested the speakerphone in a busy coffee shop, and I was able to answer automated voice prompts with ease. When I called a friend, he was able to hear me, despite some background noise. I paired a Bluetooth headset to the Eternity II, and callers were unable to tell I was using a headset.
The Eternity II packs a 1,000 mAh battery, and with moderate use including calling, text messaging, browsing the web, and using the data-centric apps. With light use, I could easily see the phone making it through two or three days. The Eternity II offers HSPA 7.2 Mbps (3G) connectivity, and the att.net HTML browser performed reasonably well. The mobile CNN homepage loaded in about 22 seconds, and the full PhoneDog page loaded in about 41 seconds.
The Samsung Eternity II is a decent device, but at $69.99 after mail-in rebates, it's quickly approaching the $99.99 smartphone price floor. What's more, I didn't care for the resistive touch screen, and overall performance was a bit laggy. Had this device launched in 2009, I would think differently, but in this age of innovation, it's a rather boring device. That said, it's another entry into AT&T's mid-range featurephone lineup, and choice is always a good thing.