Wednesday night Ryan and I hit the big opening party for the Samsung Experience, Samsung's brand spanking new electronics showcase on the third floor of the Time-Warner Center here in New York. Rumors of a Jon Bon Jovi appearance never panned out, dashing our hopes of harrassing him into riding that blaze of glory and playing that song from Young Guns 2 for us, but it was probably for the best since it forced us to buckle down and focus on the gadgets.
It's sounds weird, but you can't actually buy anything here. Samsung realized that anyone who is serious about buying electronics and getting the best possible deal is going to shop online, so rather than try and sell any anyone they just set up a place where you could go and check things out and ask your questions without feeling pressured to buy. It completely eliminates all the guilt of going to Circuit City to scope something out but then doing a Froogle search and paying way less for it than you would have in the store. If we were them, we'd set up tons of free Internet terminals where people could just buy what they wanted right then and there from whichever online retailer had the best price.
Anyway, on to the gadgets:
The entrance to the showroom. In those glass boxes in the foreground there was some sort of interactive exhibit that didn't work properly. Or maybe we couldn't figure it out. Either way.
First up were the cellphones. Samsung's decided to torture us (and confuse average people) by including all their fresh Asia-only cellphones in the mix, and we of course went straight for the SPH-V5400, the world's first cellphone with a built-in hard drive. It was a little thick for a clamshell, but you wouldn't necessarily guess that there was a mini 1.5GB drive hidden away in there. The screen, of course, was amazing.
Yep, it looks like a digital camera, but the SPH-2300 is actually a 3.2 megapixel cameraphone (which is just as high of a resolution as the camera we were using for these pics). From the back (er...front) it looks more like a proper phone, but those pics didn't turn out so well. If you really wanna see 'em, let us know.
Another one we don't expect to materialize over here, the SCH-V500 has an unusual hinged-screen that rotates 90 degrees so you can use it to watch TV (TV on cellphones is no big deal over there, we're so behind the times in America).
It doesn't look anything like the N-Gage, but the SCH-V450 is Samsung's new phone designed specifically for gaming (which is why it has that little joystick at the bottom). I liked the keypad, but the joystick was no great shakes.
Finally, a phone that will actually (probably) come out here. We've drooled over the i530 (which was nowhere to be found) before, but we found ourselves liking the SPH-i550 just as much. Really nice screen, an SD card slot, and it runs on the Palm OS. Note the Sprint logo, which means that they're probably sort of close to carrying this phone. When we asked the rep there why there had been so many delays and she said that she couldn't tell us because she knew it'd be up on Engadget the next day. Which was probably smart, since you know we can't keep a secret from you. If Sprint used SIM cards I'd totally be swapping between this and my Treo.
And on to some things besides phones. We've covered the YH-999, Samsung's first (and still unreleased) Portable Media Center before, but it's always worth another snap.
Samsung's 4GB answer to the iPod mini, the really impressive thing about the YH-820, which sports a color LCD screen and a built-in FM tuner, was how freaking light it was.
It isn't the world's smallest MP3 player anymore (we think BenQ owns that one now), but the YP-T5 does weigh only 1.3 ounces and have 256MB of storage and a built-in FM tuner. The styling is a bit dull, but in something that small you're more or less limited in how much you can really do.
We took a short break and parked ourselves in front of this home theater setup, which had one of their new DLP widescreen HDTVs and a full surround sound system. They had this one battle scene from Return of the King on an endless loop.
Samsung doesn't even sell laptops (a lesser-Engadget-informed member of their staff mentioned something about a noncompetitive agreement with Dell in the US) in the US, but we couldn't help but lust after the three we saw. Above is the M40, a 17-inch widescreen with a 64MB Nvidia GF FX Go 5200 video card, built-in 3D surround sound, and 802.11g. It only weighed 6.6 pounds and it was the one thing we'd have swiped right there.
The X30 is their ultraslim 15.4-inch widescreen LCD model, which weighs in at 5.3 pounds and has the same video card as the M40 and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth.
More on the ultralight tip, the X10 weighs just 3.5 pounds and has a 14-inch LCD screen.
P.S. - We've got one more gadget we spotted there to talk about, but it merits its own post so we'll have it up later.