Samsung Champ

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 08 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 08 August, 2010, 12:00am

There are many touchscreen phones that let you input Chinese handwriting; but if you want to write both English and Chinese words in the same text message, you usually have to switch back and forth between input methods.

With the Samsung Champ, that problem disappears, because the phone comes with what the company calls 'Hybrid Handwriting Recognition'. According to the brand, the feature is smart enough to auto-detect the language you are writing, including numbers, before turning it into standard text for your messages.

The software should come in handy for most Hong Kong users who like to use both languages in conversations, but it will probably take a bit of getting used to, since you will have to be very aware of how the software works to make sure it doesn't misinterpret your pen strokes. Then again, it will likely improve your Chinese handwriting skills.

If you want to use the Champ beyond texting, however, you might be a little disappointed. The phone comes with a pretty poor 1.3-megapixel digital camera, supported by a relatively small 2.4-inch display. And while it does record video, it only does so at a very low resolution of 176x144 pixels at 15 fps.

Despite the fact that it comes preloaded with MSN Messenger, a Web browser, and e-mail client, there's no high-speed data connectivity from the Champ, which only supports quad-band GSM, GPRS and Edge.

The Samsung Champ is available for the very reasonable price of HK$888.

Pros: auto language detection for English and Chinese handwriting input, costs less than HK$1,000

Cons: small display, poor camera, no high-speed data connection support