battery

Samsung reckons the Blade's 960mAh Li-ion battery pack can keep the phone powered for up to 350 hours on standby, or for 3.5 hours of 3G chatting (or 6 hours talk in 2.5G-only coverage). In our tests, we managed to get 2-3 days with our usual levels of usage, which is acceptable a for a HSDPA touchscreen handset. As usual, the more power-sapping gadgetry you use – like the music and video player or browser – the less life you'll get out of it.

Organiser

Samsung has kitted out the Blade with a familiar mid-tier set of organiser tools and applications. It delivers the essentials well, with the applications tidily adapted for touchscreen operation.

organiser

These include calendar, memo, task, world clock, calculator and convertor functions, plus timer, stopwatch and a voice recorder function. Some, such as the world clock and calculator, are visually neater, with touch control adding to the fluency of the app.

Others, including the calendar, work efficiently enough in a functional sort of way, without the touch interface adding much to the overall experience.

Connectivity

There's no Wi-Fi on the Blade, which isn't really a surprise at this price point. However, compared to the non-3G Tocco Lite, HSDPA and 3G does boost data rates making connecting to internet services and downloading or uploading content far quicker and smoother.

Bluetooth is fully supported, so you can use stereo Bluetooth headphones or stream music to a Bluetooth device, should you want to. The set-up procedure is intuitive too.

One extra we'd like added to speed up the connection process a fraction is for the phone to automatically recall the previous Bluetooth connection when you go to use it. Now, you have to search again for nearby devices each time you want to connect.

The Blade can be synced up to a PC, using the USB connector and the supplied Samsung's PC New Studio software. You can transfer or back up content and sync your organiser info, contacts, calendar and so on.

The software is PC only (Windows 2000, XP and Vista), though Mac users can use remote syncing web-based services.

Other

Google Maps is always welcome on any phone, even if – like the Samsung Blade – the handset doesn't have a GPS receiver built in.

google maps

This version 2.3.2 of Google Maps is nicely implemented for touchscreen control, and on the Blade it uses cellsite triangulation to pin down your approximate location (rater than exact satellite positioning).

Still, you can get mapping information quickly and search easily for addresses, places of interest and nearby services and businesses. You can also plan routes and get driving, walking and even public transport directions, plus overviews and satellite images. In addition, you can use a Street View option to get street level views of routes.

google maps

It's all rather neat, and quick too, with mapping details and info downloaded via the phone's HSDPA connection (if available). It may not be a sat nav, but it's a very useful application to have on a phone.

Samsung has also included a Communities option in the Applications menu, which brings together social networking and content sharing services to which you may want to upload content. You can set profiles so you can save account access details, providing a quick way of updating services such as Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Picasa, Photobucket and Friendster.

streetview

Samsung has also pre-loaded a selection of demo games, plus a tumbling dice basic motion-operated game.