Samsung SGH-D780: Two SIMs are better than one

- Ann Corvera () - August 16, 2008 - 12:00am

What’s better than having two phones is having one that’s capable of managing two SIM active cards simultaneously. 

Samsung, one of the first mobile phone manufacturers to launch a dual SIM handset, recently came up with another such phone that’s more mid-range.

The tri-band SGH-D780 is especially convenient for someone always on the go and when traveling to other countries.

The D780 is not as eye-catching as other design-oriented mobile phones but its strength lies within.

Raising the 1200 mAh Li-Ion battery of the D780 on the back panel reveals the two SIM card slots. Slip in one or both your SIM cards, assign them names and choose which one serves as the primary card and voila! You can start receiving calls and text messages for both numbers.

This and its easy-to-use, options-filled functionality are the unique assets of the D780.

On the outside, the look is nothing fancy – it’s a bar phone that’s coated in black plastic mixed with dark gray, with silver bordering the navigation keys and covering the confirmation or OK button, the volume rocker and SIM selection keys on the left side and camera key on the right.

Being a bar phone, you can expect it to be a little bulgy in the pocket with a dimension of 115 x 50 x 15.7 mm. On the other hand, because it is mostly covered in lightweight plastic, it’s not really that heavy even as Samsung weighs it at 108.5 grams.

The 2.1” QVGA display of the D780 has a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels that’s pleasant to the eyes although during daylight, visibility can be quite poor. The interface of the handset is somewhat behind the times – no frills like its phone design.

But the D780 has a unique battery-saving feature that’s quite specific for illuminating a keypad. In the settings menu under “light settings,” you can choose to keep the keypad light on at any time of the day or customize the length of period yourself.

The D780 boasts of longer talk time of up to a standard 13 hours and 200 hours on standby mode. The slightly larger than usual battery of the D780 allows users to access its features without affecting its usability, according to Samsung.

A phone of many options

The D780 offers options in its features not commonly found in mobile phones, led by its dual SIM card capability.

Despite the burgeoning network coverage by service providers, there are still those times when signal strength wanes or is lost entirely like during rough weather, in remote places and sudden dead spots. The D780 displays the signal strength of both SIMs on the upper left corner of the screen with the numbers 1 and 2 corresponding to your primary and secondary SIMs.

With the D780, there’s no need to rummage through your things to find the phone whose network signal is not acting up.

But while both SIM cards are active simultaneously, it is not without limitations.

The secondary SIM you set in the D780 can only be used for making calls and sending SMS unlike the primary or default SIM which can also utilize the GPRS/ EDGE Class 10 network platform.

Another limitation for the secondary SIM is that you cannot search phone numbers stored in it. But when saving a new number to the D780, you can set it to prompt you where to store it – either on the phone, the default SIM or the secondary SIM.

If you want to switch from one primary SIM to another, it’s not as fast as slipping the SIM cards into the slots. In this case, the phone needs to reboot once you press on the SIM selection key on the left side of the handset, after which you have to enter the names you wish to designate for both SIMs and pick which card is primary.

Nonetheless, boosted by its dual SIM functionality, the D780 is the ideal phone for those whose jobs demand not only a constant open line of communication but also keeping a wide network of contacts.

The D780 has a user memory of 35MB to store your text messages, image files, media files, Bluetooth files, WAP downloads and MS Office files which can be viewed by the handset’s Document Viewer.

The D780 also allows for an external MicroSD expansion, allowing up to 200 SMS and phonebook entries of up to a thousand. That’s excluding the average 250 entries allowed in one SIM card.

The D780 is Bluetooth-enabled with A2DP (Advanced Audio Distribution Profile) and a sensible security feature of the handset is that you have the option as to which files are “Bluetooth visible,” which is set to “Off” by default unless you change the setting to enable sharing with another handset or with a PC/laptop.

Interestingly, from your D780 you can browse and acquire the files of another device once paired – from images, videos, music, ringtones to notes, documents, and even downloaded and temporary files. 

Synchronizing your D780 with your PC/laptop or connecting to the Internet with your handset as modem is made possible either via Bluetooth or USB cable.

The D780 is equipped with WAP 2.0 connectivity and it’s a simple browsing experience with its Openwave Web browser Universal Edition, which, however, lacks desktop-like rendering of Web pages.

Another feature I find amusing about the D780 is that it can block text messages from up to 10 mobile phone numbers. This is certainly welcome news, what with the prevalence of various forms of “text scams” such as those stating you have won in some government-sponsored lottery. Or if you are simply avoiding a stalker, this feature - which applies to both SMS and MMS and even its e-mail feature - proves to be very useful and the sender won’t even know that you haven’t received the message.

As for calls, there is an automatic “Reject List” for phone numbers you wish to input; once you get a call from one of them, it would only be logged as a missed call without the phone ringing. This, again, is very useful for unwanted calls or if you don’t wish to be disturbed.

Options abound as well for the MMS settings of the D780.

For instance, you could opt to send a multimedia message that is image basic, image rich, video basic or video rich. Also, you can choose when to send your MMS – immediately, after an hour or a day or up to a week. This option I find cleverly helpful if you don’t want to miss sending a greeting (like on someone’s birthday).

The D780 also comes with a voice recorder with an option of choosing a maximum of an hour per recording or limiting it for multimedia messages.

Fun media and games

A mobile phone these days is not complete without some fun and entertainment incorporated into it.

For this, the D780 has an application it calls “Java World” where fun games are embedded – although some of the more entertaining ones are trial versions such as Midnight Pool, Minigolf Las Vegas, Tetris Mania, Asphalt 2, and Paris Hilton’s Diamond Quest. But you can still enjoy playing Cannonball, Forgotten Warrior, Freekick and Arch Angel for free.

The D780 is also equipped with an FM radio, which can self-tune and play on the background or on speaker while producing good sound quality as soon as you connect the earphone – serving as radio antenna – that comes with the package along with a travel adapter, USB cable, battery and user’s manual.

While most mobile phones are gearing toward enhancing their camera feature, the D780 is not quite big on this aspect. Its camera has two-megapixel capability and 4x digital zoom with maximum image resolution of 1600 x 1200 pixels. There’s a mirror now commonly found on mobile phones right beside the camera lens on the phone’s rear, but it has no LED flash. Nonetheless it can take decent pictures using various shooting modes, including the popular panoramic and multi-shot features.

The D780 has an image editor with options similarly found in most phones, but add to that an “image stamp” application, which you can use to make an outline stamp of a photo and merge it with another.

The D780 has a camcorder, too, and in the settings menu you can even opt not to use audio recording by simply turning it off while your record in silence.

The Music Player of the D780 plays MP3, WMA and formats with advanced audio coding (AAC, AAC+). You can create playlists under different albums although there is no advanced track filtering available.

There is an option for you to play the music in the background or via Bluetooth stereo headset, which allows the music file to be transferred from your headset to a device with this enabled feature.

Your music, along with the pre-installed polyphonic ringtones in your D780, can also be set as ringtone or specific to a caller to jazz up the sound of your phone.

Overall, the unfussy features of the SGH-D780 are convenient to use - its menu, soft and alphanumeric keys are comfortably placed and responsive for your fingers to just glide through the surface or the sides.

Despite the limitations of the handset’s Dual SIM mode, trading two mobile phones for a D780 is a good bargain. 

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