What's hot: Fun touchscreen phone with lower data plan cost than the iPhone.
What's not: On the slow side.
Reviewed January 13, 2010 by Lisa Gade, Editor
When the Samsung Eternity came out for AT&T in November 2008 it sold like hotcakes. Samsung's TouchWiz UI was shiny and fun, the phone was responsive and its data plan cost half the iPhone's. After all, the cost of a phone isn't just the up-front purchase price but the ongoing plan price over a 2 year contract. It was one of the first touch screen phones to have Mobile TV, which is $10/month subscription digital TV that's broadcast over the air rather than via the phone's data connection. If you were lucky enough to live in a FLO TV service area, you saw better video quality than YouTube or AT&T's streaming video could offer at the time.
Since then, we've had the lower end Samsung Solstice which couldn't dethrone the Eternity and now the Samsung Mythic which we'd say is up to the job of replacing the iconic Eternity. Like the Eternity it runs Samsung's TouchWiz user interface; it's still intuitive but after more than a year it's looking a little old. Still, it's one of the better touch interfaces on a feature phone and there's little to no learning curve if you're upgrading from an older model.
The display resolution has increased to 360 x 640 pixels and measures 3.3"; a distinct improvement over the Eternity and the Solstice. It's not a super-vivid AMOLED display like the Samsung Impression TouchWiz phone with QWERTY keyboard though. Nor is it capacitive like the iPhone 3GS. That means it's not as sensitive or responsive, but among resistive screens it's quite good. And better yet, it works with fingernails and gloves.
New phones always cost more, and so the Mythic costs more than the older Impression which arguably beats the Mythic if you don't want Mobile TV, and it costs the same as the 16 gig iPhone 3GS. We expect the price will come down, and as always 3rd party dealers will offer the phone for less, making it more compelling. Our only niggle with the Mythic is that it's not as peppy as the Eternity, something that's hard to forgive in a feature phone.
The Mythic has very good call quality on AT&T's 3G network and the earpiece is louder than average. Likewise the rear-facing mono speaker is loud and clear. The Mythic is a quad band GSM world phone and it's a 3G world phone too, with HSDPA on AT&T's bands and 2100MHz for Europe and Asia. The phone has speed dial and Nuance voice command.
Other features include a GPS that works with AT&T Navigator, a music player (same as that on the Eternity), support for AT&T's streaming video that's included with their data plan, a video player that can handle common formats like WMV and MPEG4, a WAP browser and a more full-featured HTML browser that's developed by Samsung based on webkit (the same browser engine used in the iPhone and Palm Pre). While the browser can't compare to the iPhone's in terms of rendering speed and finger control, it's pretty good by feature phone standards and can handle full desktop sites.
The Samsung Mythic is a nice touch screen feature phone, and given its lack of competition on AT&T, it's among the best. If you want a touch screen phone but don't want the more expensive smartphone or iPhone data plan, the Mythic is a full-featured choice, though we might still choose the Samsung Impression for its AMOLED display and QWERTY keyboard. But if you don't want the keyboard and added bulk of the Impression or if you do want Mobile TV, the Mythic is it. We just wish it was a little peppier.
Display:262K color TST color resistive touch screen. Screen size diagonally: 3.3". Resolution:
360 x 640, supports both portrait and landscape modes via accelerometer in some applications. Has haptic feedback and proximity sensor.
Ion rechargeable. Battery is user replaceable.
1150 mAh. Claimed talk time: up to 3 hours. Claimed standby: up to 10.5 days.
Performance:Undisclosed CPU, 189 megs flash storage. Phone book supports up to 2,000 entries.
x 2.06 x 0.5 inches. Weight: 3.8 ounces.
Phone:GSM quad band world phone 850/900/1800/1900MHz with EDGE. 3G HSDPA on the 850/1900/2100MHz bands for AT&T, Europe and Asia. Has Nuance voice command and speed dial.
Camera:3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus lens and LED flash.
in speaker, mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone
jack. Music and video players included.
Networking:Bluetooth. Profiles: headset, hands free, serial port, DUN, A2DP stereo, FTP, Object Push and basic printing.
Software:Samsung TouchWiz UI. Java applications. Apps include Samsung's HTML web browser, WAP browser, Mobile Email, Mobile Video, Mobile TV (requires monthly subscription), music player, video player My Stuff (file manager), Music ID, XM Radio, Mobile Banking and more.