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Samsung / Bang & Olufsen Serenata

2nd October 2007

 Samsung Serenata

The Samsung Serenata is definitely one of the strangest looking phones we've ever seen, but this curious handset is different from almost everything else for a reason. The result of a joint effort between Samsung and Bang & Olufsen, the Serenata is an impressive multimedia phone with a radical user interface.

 Samsung / B&O Serenata It's not the first phone we've seen from the Samsung / Bang & Olufsen tie-up. First there was the Serene, announced two years ago - a phone that shared the novel "upside down" approach with the screen.. but one that ultimately offered very little apart from looks. You'll be glad to know that the Serenata is a hugely improved phone.

Before we delve into the technical specifications of the Serenata, we really have to address the basic form and function. The majority of phone functions are controlled by an iPod-like selector wheel plus two very discrete buttons. At the bottom of the Serenata (behind the manufacturer logos) is the handset's microphone, with the screen in between. This unusual positioning means that the screen doesn't get greasy when talking into the phone. Slide the back of the Serenata up, and you'll see a large speaker a little similar to the Samsung i450. The screen is a square 2.3" 240 x 240 pixel panel in 256,000 colours.

So far the Serenata doesn't appear to be too different from the old Serene, but underneath the Serenata is very different. This is now a 3G phone with HSDPA high-speed data, capable of download speeds of up to 1.8 Mbps, so you can enjoy streaming multimedia downloads. It also supports tri-band 900 / 1800 / 1900 GSM which means that you're unlikely to see the Serenata in the US. The old Serene was surprisingly poor when it came to multimedia playback, but the new Serenata can cope with MP3, AAC and WMA audio plus various types of DRM (digital rights management). The big speaker and advanced B&O audio system should mean that the Serenata is an exceptionally capable music player.

 Bang & Olufsen Serenata with headset The internal memory on the Serenata is an impressive 4GB, but there's no expandable memory. Another thing strangely lacking is a digital camera, but then people who buy the Serenata are likely to be more interested in music than pictures. The Serenata also has an email client and web browser.

At 136 grams in weight and 110 x 63 x 20mm in size, the Serenata is a fairly big phone. Talktime is about 3 hours with up to 12 days standby time. When used solely as a music player, the Serenata has 13 hours playback time on the wired stereo headset or 5 hours over the speaker.

If you had seen a picture of the Samsung / Bang & Olufsen Serenata a year ago, you would assume that this was the Apple iPhone, because it's certainly more music orientated than the Apple device even if you ignore the iPod-esque selector wheel.

We don't have any pricing information for the Samsung Serenata at the moment, but bear in mind that the Serene cost around €1000 (about £650) at launch SIM Free, so expect to see a similar price tag on the Serenata when it starts shipping from November onwards.

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Samsung / B&O Serenata at a glance


Q4 2007


GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 2100




240x240 pixels, 256k colours




Large monoblock
110 x 63 x 20mm /  136 grams



Memory card:







Not specified

Battery life:

3 hours talk / 10 days standby


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