iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Samsung SGH-A100

Samsung SGH-A100 (further A100) is one of the stylish phones and the last one of the GSM standard from Samsung company. We do not take into account the model SGH-A110 which is a complete technical analog of A100 except WAP browser version 1.1. The identity of them allows to add WAP browser to A100 by firmware upgrade.

This cellphone is positioned as a competitor of Nokia 8210 i.e. Motorola v3688 < A100 < Motorola v3690.

Complete set

Notice, that besides the standard set (charging unit, manual, telephone, garniture, accumulator) there are an extra battery, a velvet black box to keep the phone in and a small strap to hold the phone on your hand.

When you first time open the box and look at a black case it seems that inside a certain jewelry is kept and not a telephone. Inside the case you will see a silver plated telephone on the white background. It is very impressive. In general, for the telephone case of this model two colours are used - golden and silver.

A small size (80x42x22.9 mm) is perfect for your arm and its weight in 87 g (including the battery) does not make you tired during a long talk. This model is designed so that it to be folding, like Motorola v3688, v3690. When it is closed, a display and a speaker are pressed to the pad, and it's open they are at an angle of 30 degrees so that, the shape of the telephone resembles the shape of the part of the face, and a microphone is close enough to a mouth of a speaking person. Unfortunately, it's rather difficult to open the telephone with one hand, the spring is very hard and when closing it claps.

The quality of the case design is perfect, and if you want detailed information you can apply to the descriptions of the Samsung models SGH2200 and SGH2400, they are quite similar to this model.


The first thing to do is to take out the accumulator and to plug in the SIM card for testing. The clamp goes up and the strings of contacts pushes the light accu out. Note, that the standard (heavy) accu does not go out itself. However, when the accumulators are shut with the cover they are fixed strongly and no contact losses can occur.

The SIM card holder is standard for Samsung models and includes plastic holders and a clamp on the string. It's very convenient and effective.

So, when the card is put inside you can set in the accumulator and switch on the telephone. Then you will see a static picture with GSM written and hear the tone. (The greeting line can be rewritten according to what you want though only in English). This will be followed by registration on the net. If it completed successfully, you will see a line of icons including the signal level (6 points) and the battery charge level (3 points). When you receive SMS message, set an alarm clock or set a vibrating alert, the respective icon will appear on this line.

The resolution of the graphics display is 128x64 pixels. So, there can be up to 4 lines text. The large font can change by the middle or small one.

At night you can even easily play the snake because pleasant emerald light won't let your eyes become tired.

After switching the telephone off you can watch the animation and a farewell line.

Other features

Before using the telephone first time you should choose the tone. The model A100 contains 18 selectable ring tones (you can listen to them having downloaded this file, mp3, 1.13 Mbytes). Besides you can create your own melody (or even 2 melodies) using the pad. The detailed instruction you can find in the manual.

The menu of sound signals contains the following types of alert: melody, vibrating alert, melody and vibrating alert, light alert. Since you choose the option "timer" it will warn you each minute of your talk with the light alert. The telephone Nokia 8210 has no such timers, so in this case the latter is worse than A100.

Now let's turn to the menu. Press the left soft key to get into the main menu. It has 8 points, each of them has its own icon. In the left bottom corner you will see a sequence of numbers showing the number of point and the number of subpoint. E.g. Sound Parameters (3) and Volume (3.3). To get immediately into the desired subpoint you can just press the required figures on the pad.

To change the menu you can use the right soft key, the key "C" and volume keys on the cheek of the telephone case. The volume keys are more convenient because you can move both forward and backward. The soft key allows you to move only cyclically forward. The keys with arrows situated under the display will help you to move in any direction as well. Out of the menu these keys correspond to any menu point. Pressing one of them will call one of the points. The "up" key will switch the vibrating alert. If you had set the compound alert (melody + vibrating alert) it won't work.

Connection Quality and Others

Since the telephone is small in size it won't trouble you wherever you put it in the pocket of your jeans or in your jacket, or in the shirt pocket. Connection quality of this model is quite good: there are usually no any connection breaks, the volume reserve is sufficient (4 point out of 5 is enough in most cases). The sensitivity of A100 is comparable to that of Nokia 8210 though the latter is better in sound quality.

The standard accumulator (Li-Ion 750 mAh) can hold the line for talking up to 205 minutes and works in standby mode up to 70 hours. The thin battery (Li-Ion 450 mAh) works less time, usually one day. The standard battery is heavier, but it works 3 days if you speak about 20 minutes each day. With the vibrating alert it will work less time. One of the pecularities of this model is that while charging the battery of the off phone the displayed indicator in the form of battery will show you the time left (percentage). Average charging time is 1.5 hours.

Speaking about the vibrating alert we should point tout hat it is quite weak. You will feel it if the phone is in the pocket of your jeans, and you might not if you put it in your jacket.

Now let's look at the phone memory location. You can use both SIM card memory and phone memory. The latter can keep up to 99 names and numbers. The SIM card notes can be copied into the phone memory. The phone book has a "search" function. Besides the phone book there is a list of answered and non-answered calls (call log). These calls you can save in the phone book.

Amusing things



  • List to do for a particular day (date).
  • The alarm clock can be set for any definite time, any definite day and time or to alarm once a week. In this case you have to choose the required days of week in the list and set the required time. That is very easy.
  • Calendar.
  • Calculator.
  • SMS messages are quite easy to deal with; you can create up to 5 SMS message samples.
  • Display contrast adjustment.
  • Automatic redial (up to 10 attempts in short periods).
  • Software modem with fast data transmission rate (14400 bps).
  • Per-minute alert during the talk.
  • Displayed number is stored in the note book.
  • Infrared port is for connection the phone to PC.
  • The phone can be used as modem; no special drivers for Windows 98/2000 are needed.

The phone includes 7 games (cards, snake). Snake is more of interest, it has several levels, though the keys are situated inconvenient, so, it will take some time to get used to them.



The phone is good enough for the price (360-380 USD) at retail. The second accumulator and phone garniture in the complete set are, undoubtedly, the advantage of this model. Such functions as voice dialing and dictaphone are absent. The design and construction quality (durable case coationg, big keys) put the phone above all the other models. It will serve you for a long time.


Absense of software to provide synchronization between the phone book and PC. Absense of simple typeset for SMS messages. Absense of WAP browser is not very important because one can thread the necessary software to get A110 instead of A100. You can find a leather case quite easy to fasten it to your belt. It is a very good present for everyone. And the price will help to remember it for a long time!

P.S. Some people who compared it with Nokia 8210 liked Samsung SGH-A100 more. May be it's just better disign? We do not know...

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