Here comes a durable mobile phone for Verizon Wireless, the Samsung Convoy that is similar in look and function to AT&T’s Samsung Rugby. It is intended to be an easy-to-use phone with satisfying voice quality and loads of other features. Let us roll on to the main review to learn about each of its features in detail.
Design (4 out of 5)
The Samsung Convoy, also dubbed as SCH-U640, is a sturdy phone with a durable plastic body, rubber sidings and a battery cover that locks tightly. Although not 100% waterproof, the phone is certified maintaining the standard military specifications for temperature, humidity, salt fog, shock and dust. The Convoy is extremely comfortable in the hands with a durable hinge.
The Convoy bears an external display the size of a postage stamp supporting 128x128 pixels and 65,000 colors. The screen displays the photo caller ID, date, signal strength and time along with adjustable contrast. The screen can also be used as a viewfinder for the lens of the camera and further can be used to access a collection of other attributes such as the music player, calendar, voice commands and Bluetooth. Beneath the display are placed three dedicated controls for music and a large speaker sits below them. The camera lens is positioned just above the display but there is no flash.
The internal display of the SCH-U640 is 2.2-inches supporting a 220x176 pixel resolution and 262,000 colors. Even though the display quality is not perfect, it is brightly colored with vibrant graphics. The Convoy also has an easy-to-use menu interface and three menu styles. You can also adjust the icon positions of the menus and even replace the standard menu with your choice of apps. Additional editable options of the phone being the clock format, backlight time, dial font size, font size and style of the menu.
The navigation array of the Samsung Convoy consists of a large toggle with an OK button in the middle, a camera shutter, Talk and End/Power keys, two soft keys, a clear button and a control for voice dialing. The toggle can also be set to make shortcuts to four user-defined functions. The navigation array and the keypad buttons of the handset are quite spacious. The numbers on the keys are big with a bright backlight for quick identification.
The right spine of the Convoy bears a speakerphone control, a microSD card slot and a 2.5mm headset jack. The left spine of the phone contains a volume rocker, the proprietary charger port for Samsung and a programmable shortcut button. The rubber flaps that are covering the ports and memory card slots are not completely safe, so it is advisable not to immerse it fully.
User Interface (4 out of 5)
The Samsung Convoy comes with a user-friendly menu interface, which is convenient and somewhat straightforward in nature. You are open to select from any of the 3 menu styles, choose the position of icons and replace the menu choices with your favorite apps.
Features (4 out of 5)
The Samsung Convoy SCH-U640 features a 1,000 contact phone book with room in each of the entries for two email addresses, notes, five phone numbers and a street address. The callers can also be organized into groups and paired with a photo ID and any one of 20 polyphonic ringtones. Other basic attributes of the phone include a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a calculator, a speakerphone, a stopwatch and a notepad along with text and multimedia messaging.
Additionally, the Convoy features loads of other attributes like stereo Bluetooth, PC syncing, speaker-independent dialing and voice commands, instant messaging and chat, mass storage and POP3 e-mail support. The phone comes with integrated GPS and you can connect with Verizon VZ Navigator too. In all, the phone has a strong set of features and you can access the push-to-talk network of Verizon as well.
The 2 megapixel camera on the Convoy is capable of taking pictures in five resolutions ranging from 1600x1200 to 160x120. Other editing features include three quality settings, five color effects, four white balances, spot metering, a self-timer, a 10x digital zoom, brightness meter and an adjustable ISO. The different shooting modes of the phone are autoshot, panoramic, divided multishot and a collection of shutter sounds. The camcorder, on the other hand allows very little editing options. Multimedia message videos are captured at 60 seconds, but can be shot for a longer time in standard mode.
Photo quality from the Convoy is good with bright colors with no noticeable image noise. But without a flash, you must shoot in enough light to get a good quality image. Videos are fine, though not brilliant. You can also transfer the images from your phone in a message by Bluetooth or wired connection into your PC. Moreover, Verizon offers you an online album. The Samsung Convoy has an integrated shared memory of 90MB that can be extended up to 16GB via microSD cards.
Being an EV-DO phone, the Convoy SCH-U640 supports a full set of Verizon 3G services such as the V Cast Music with Rhapsody and streaming video content. The player attributes of the Convoy include repeat and shuffle modes, and the V Cast Music will suggest other songs to you based on your favorite playlist. The phone also features an airplane mode, which allows you to listen to your tunes even when you are far above the ground. The Convoy can be personalized with additional display themes, wallpaper and banners. However, the Samsung SCH-U640 does not actually come preloaded with any games or apps, but you can download options from Verizon via the WAP 2.0 browser.
Performance (4 out of 5)
The dual-band Samsung Convoy came out with a quite satisfactory call quality when tested using Verizon services. The signals were full and clear, voice quality was natural and loud enough. There was no interference on the whole and honestly speaking we had no complaints. The other end callers had no problems either. The phone is compatible with T4 and M4 hearing aids. The speakerphone quality was also sufficiently good along with good external speakers. The Bluetooth headset calls were also pleasing.
The 3G connection might feel a bit weak when you try to download music tracks from the V Cast Music Store. But once the music is downloaded, you won’t have any complaints. The Convoy’s rated battery life gives a talking time of 5 hours and standby time of 22.37 days. However, the tested talking time of the SCH-U640 is 7 hours and 32 minutes. The FCC radiation tests showed a digital SAR of 0.912 watt per kilogram.
The Verdict (4 out of 5)
Despite some design complaints and a lack of features, the Samsung Convoy SCH-U640 is an easy-to-use phone with excellent call quality. Moreover, the Convoy comes in at an affordable price of only $99 along with service and after a mail-in rebate of $50. Overall, the Samsung Convoy is a good scoring mobile phone from Verizon Wireless.