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What you might not know about the Samsung Mondi

Samsung_mondi_wymnk

While an official list of specs can tell you a lot about a device, the best way to truly get a feel for something and understand its nuances is to spend some serious quality time with it. Sure, playing with a display model at a store or checking it out at an event can often be the basis of a purchasing decision, but it's often only after you've taken a device home and used it for a considerable amount of time that you really get to know it.

It's been a few weeks since I unboxed my Samsung Mondi and shared my reasons for buying it, so I've since logged in hours upon hours of use on the Windows Mobile 6.1 slider. I doubt that I will ever know every single thing there is to know about the unit, but I definitely learned some things from my usage so far that aren't mentioned in the published specs, product manuals, or those early misinformed reviews. And if the devil is in the details and you're on the fence about spending $450 on a MID that isn't a phone and offers WiMAX and WiFi connectivity but nothing in between, then you might want to read on.

The following list is arranged in alphabetical order (not order of importance).

Accelerometer. While it's true that the Mondi is equipped with an accelerometer, which is certainly a nice feature, it isn't used as fully as it could be.

Samsung_mondi_sensor

At the moment, all it does is auto-rotate the screen 90 degrees to the right in nothing but Opera Mobile and enable the device to be turned over to temporarily mute the sound in Windows Media and ArcSoft Multimedia Player (both preinstalled). There's also a "game" called Dice included on the installation CD that lets you shake the Mondi to roll the dice.

Bluetooth. The Mondi has very limited Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR profile support. So if you're thinking that it doesn't matter that the device doesn't have 3G because you can just tether it to your 3G phone for on-the-go internet access, then you should know that DUN and PAN are a no-go. The Mondi only supports the headset (mono and stereo), hands-free, serial port, and object push Bluetooth profiles.

DNSe 3.0. Documentation on the exact version of Samsung's DNSe (Digital Natural Sound engine) audio enhancement technology being used on the Mondi is lacking, so I got in touch with my Samsung PR contact to find out.

Samsung_mondi_dnse

Although the sound quality of the Mondi paired with my Ultimate Ears triple.fi 10 Pro canalphones isn't mind-blowingly spectacular, it turns out that DNSe 3.1.07 is being used. DNSe 3.0 is the newest and best version, so its inclusion is a good thing.

Haptics. The 4.3-inch touchscreen provides haptic feedback (vibration activated by touch).

Samsung_mondi_haptic

Even though Samsung uses the technology on some of its mobile phones and its YP-P3 digital media player, I was still surprised to see the option to enable and set the strength of the vibration, especially since the feature isn't mentioned anywhere in the official press materials.

Keyboard backlight. The Mondi's hardware keyboard backlighting can be manually set to stay on for 1-10 seconds any time a key is pressed or only during a custom time period. The former option is standard fare, but the latter is pretty unique.

Samsung_mondi_kbbl

With this option, you can conserve battery power by setting the keyboard backlight to only turn on during the hours of your choosing. For example, if you only use the device in low-light conditions between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., the backlight will remain off except for when you're using the keyboard during that two-hour timeframe.

Light sensor. Screen brightness settings can be controlled manually, but the ambient light sensor located beneath the webcam does a fine job of automatically adjusting it for you.

Samsung_mondi_lightsensor

Registry edits. Though I've successfully applied a registry edit to enable the use of a third-party app on the Mondi, I haven't been able to get any of the system edits (e.g., screen rotation, soft keyboard launch) to "stick." Even though all of the edits are saved and the newly input values don't get reset when I exit/re-enter the registry editor (I'm using PHM), none of the desired changes actually take effect. I don't know enough about Windows Mobile to know if it's possible for a device to be set to ignore user edits, but that sure seems like what's happening.

Remapping buttons. Not all of the Mondi's hardware buttons are remappable out of the box. Under Settings -> Buttons, only the camera, IE, and message keys can be reassigned.

Samsung_mondi_remap

Short and long presses of all three buttons can be mapped to perform different functions, which is good, but the ability to also remap the two soft keys, home button, and left action key would be better. I assume there are registry edits that can enable this, but the Mondi has refused to accept many other edits I've made so I'm not hopeful that they would work anyway.

Rotating screen orientation. Except for what the accelero meter can do in Opera Mobile, the Mondi does not support screen orientation rotation out of the box.

Samsung_mondi_rotate

A lot of Windows Mobile devices include rotation in the settings menu, but it's absent from the Mondi. Unhiding the option via a registry edit doesn't work for some reason either, so the only way to rotate the device for portrait use is through third-party software.

Soft keyboard. The on-screen keyboard is incredibly usable and one of the best soft keyboards I've ever tried on a Windows Mobile device.

Samsung_mondi_osk

The problem, unfortunately, is that it pops up whenever a text input field is selected, regardless of whether the slide-out keyboard is exposed and/or in use. There's a WM registry edit that's supposed to prevent this from happening, but it doesn't work correctly on the Mondi. The virtual keyboard will disappear once you start typing with the hardware keyboard, but it's still very annoying to see it popping up all the time.

Today screen. If you don't like Samsung's second-gen TouchWiz overlay that comes preloaded on the Mondi (see video demos of the UI) and sits atop Windows Mobile 6.1, you don't have to use it. It's just a Today screen item that can be disabled/enabled at will through Settings -> Today -> Items tab. Although it looks nice and is pretty well optimized for finger use, I personally don't like it.

Samsung_mondi_spbms3

Instead, I use the fantastic SPB Mobile Shell 3.0, which looks great on the Mondi's WVGA screen and has a faster/smoother response than TouchWiz.

Video calling. Despite the inclusion of a webcam, the Mondi currently does not support video calling.

Samsung_mondi_webcam

It is likely that the function will eventually be supported (a service pack that will enable it is rumored to be released later this year) but at the time of this writing and according to Samsung's PR spokesperson, there is no official timetable for video call capabilities.

Weight. Despite what the official specs claim, the Mondi is not a mere 5.39 ounces. According to my digital scale, which correctly measures the weight of other items, the device weighs 6.7 ounces without the battery and 7.9 ounces with it. 7.9 ounces is still light, sure, but it's nearly 50% more than the advertised weight!

Samsung_mondi_wyfnl

And those are the "little things" about the Samsung Mondi that you might not have known about before, but that you definitely know about now. Whether any of this changes your opinion on the device depends on your prior understanding/perception of it and your personal preferences and priorities. Some may fixate on one particular item and call it an automatic deal-breaker or deal-maker, while others may be trying to determine for themselves whether the good outweighs the bad.

See more Samsung Mondi features and reviews.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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Avatar of Jenn K. Lee

42 thoughts on “What you might not know about the Samsung Mondi

  • I have so much love for this unfortunately ignored powerhouse.. it does everything i ask of it with relative swiftness..Kinoma over 3G(for Touch Pro), Flash(8 i believe) in the browser, beautiful on screen KB, kinetic scrolling throughout the entire ui, the rom’s that do run(WVGA fix needed), run well performance wise etc etc.
    I am a windows mobile fan via the tweakibility so this device is perfect for me, and i actually use it far more than the S5 these days.

    The main issue is the damn 6.1 rom.. it runs well.. but 6.5 is a must, so we gotta find a way to make that a reality.

    Reply
  • Jenn,

    Thanks for the detailed update on the Mondi. Well done as always. None of these are dealbreakers for me personally, and since we are supposed to be getting WiMax here in Chicago before the end of the year, I’m very tempted. I was wondering if you could share a little more about your usage (unless you’re saving that for another post). What are you using the Mondi for (surfing, ebook reading, media playback, etc) most and how does is it performing in those areas? As well as you’d hoped?

    Reply
  • How do you use Kinoma over 3G if the Mondi doesn’t have 3G?

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  • Opera Mobile supports Flash Lite 3, which is based on Flash 8 but isn’t full-fat Flash 8. YouTube works okay but that’s about it for popular video sites. Hulu requires Flash 9 I think.

    Reply
  • As i wrote above, the 3G is tethered via wifi from my Touch Pro.

    Reply
  • Avatar of johnkzin

    *sigh* if only it ran Android, Maemo, Mer, or Ubuntu-ARM. And had a GSM variant.

    Reply
  • Thanks, Jenn, for all the details!

    The Mondi is still the closest thing I want to replace my ancient Palm PDA, so having no experience with Win Mobile, can you, or anyone, explain a few things?

    The biggest deal-breaker for me so far is the questionable app compatibility and lack of community support. With the low attention of the Mondi probably not generating enough community support and app development for the device, I’d like to at least be able to use existing apps. But are there problems with app compatibility when most apps are built in portrait orientation but the Mondi has a landscape orientation and no built-in rotating feature?

    Can you test out some 3rd party screen rotators to see if they will work?

    When you say that you’ve “successfully applied a registry edit to enable the use of a third-party app on the Mondi,” does that mean all 3rd party apps require a manual registry edit? You can’t just add an app to install it? And removing an app also requires a manual registry edit to clean it up? Adding/removing programs on the Palm OS is so simple and easy.

    Having no technical knowledge of Bluetooth, when you you say that the bluetooth supports headsets only, does that mean you can’t just connect to another BT device to transfer files? That could be a deal breaker for me.

    Reply
  • Avatar of hazmat

    What I really didn’t know was how long it would take you to get XP running on this puppy. I think the hawaiian islands were created by volcanic accretion faster than that hack….lol

    Reply
  • Are you using WMWiFiRouter for that?

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the Mondi so much. We’re definitely in a very small group! I really wish it came with a case, as mine is just sitting unprotected (except for a screen protector) on a table when not in use.

    Feel free to start some threads in the Pocketables Forum about the device (favorite apps, tweaks, emulator experience, accessories, etc). It needs more attention, as there’s only one thread about it so far: http://forum.pocketables.com/forumdisplay.php?f=56

    Reply
  • I’ll write more about my own usage in another post at some point (I’ve got a dedicated review on web browsing coming up next), but at the moment I’m using the Mondi mostly for ebooks, WM app testing, email, light surfing, and *occasionally* music.

    My HTC Advantage was previously the most powerful WinMo device I had, so the Mondi’s performance has been exceeding my expectations. A Cortex CPU would’ve taken the device to a new level, of course, but it’s still performing nicely as it is.

    Reply
  • Not a big fan of Windows Mobile, eh? Somehow I don’t think you’re alone. :-)

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  • The biggest issue with finding third-party apps is actually the Mondi’s resolution. There are some apps that natively support WVGA, yes, but a lot don’t. They all still run just fine on the device; they just don’t fill the screen, which I personally don’t like.

    I’m using Rotate Me (freeware) to handle screen orientation, so there’s no issue with portrait apps not being able to run on the Mondi.

    No, the only reason I had to edit the registry for that one third-party app is because it was a streaming TV app and one of the ports was being blocked. It’s the only app I’ve had to edit the registry for; everything else I have (most of which I previously bought to run on my AT&T Tilt, HTC Advantage, and Xperia X1 – all different resolutions) runs with no problem…except for the resolution thing, of course.

    Removing an app doesn’t require a registry edit. All you have to do is go to Remove Programs in the Settings and select the app you want to uninstall.

    From the article: “The Mondi only supports the headset (mono and stereo), hands-free, serial port, and object push Bluetooth profiles.” So BT headsets aren’t the only thing the Mondi supports. I think the Mondi’s object push is only for vCards and vCal stuff, though.

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  • Well, I got bored with my quadruple-boot install of OS X, Vista, Windows 7, and Android and just never got around to getting XP running too. ;-)

    Seriously, though, I wonder if we’ll ever see a device of this size running a desktop OS. And aside from you, me, and the small UMPC/MID community, who would even buy it?

    Reply
  • Avatar of hazmat

    It’s a shame because the same company sells that abomination they call a UMPC without any KB and this baby looks to have all the right physical characteristics of a great UMPC (sans processor and OS of course).

    I would buy 2 and put one away for later…lol

    Reply
  • Avatar of mannc7

    Hi Jenn,

    Try the following registry editor:
    http://www.dotfred.net/TaskMgr.htm

    Make sure to soft reset using the built in software option and not the hardware. My registry edits did not stick when I used the hardware soft reset method.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Cannot say thank you enough.

    Would have bought this if you did not mention that the weight was incorrectly advertised. Now, going to stick with the not as heavy iPAQ 200.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  • Yeah, given how many times Samsung refreshed the Q1 UMPC series, you’d think they’d eventually come out with a sub-7″ slider version at some point. I hope they come out with a “proper” MID (desktop OS and CPU to handle it well) one of these days. Better yet, I hope Sony comes out with one first (big surprise coming from me, I’m sure!). :-)

    Reply
  • Thanks, mannc7. I’d give it a try, but the Mondi doesn’t have a built-in soft reset option in the software for some reason. I don’t know why Samsung would remove such basic things like that.

    Reply
  • I’ve had my Mondi for about a week so far and my experience has been very similar to Jenn’s. I’ve been using it heavily and I think overall it’s delivered on 95% of what I’d hoped it would be so I’m very happy with it.

    My biggest gripe which isn’t even that big is the insistence of the on-screen keyboard to pop up exactly when you don’t want it to and I’m amazed the algorithm for displaying it is so dumb it pops up even when the hardware keyboard’s open. Not only that, but it has the nasty habit of covering 75% of the screen when it’s active. I agree with Jenn though, typing with it’s really easy and until I got used to the nano-chicklet fat-finger unfriendly hardware keyboard it was actually a lot easier than using the hardware keyboard. Now that I’ve used the hardware keyboard a while though I find it works just fine. The other minor complaint I have is that even with Touchwiz there are still lots of WM scroll bars, buttons and menus that require significant effort to select properly without a stylus. I really hope they’ll upgrade us all to WM 6.5 when it comes along to improve the situation. Two other annoyances: the GPS seems to take forever to get an initial position so I find myself sitting in the car twiddling my thumbs waiting for it to kick in, and when playing audio it has the same annoying problem the HP iPaq 211 had of the pre-amp audibly clicking off and on when it transitions from silence to louder passages (usually only at the beginning of an audio clip though).

    All in all I’m really happy with it and of everything that’s available right now it’s definitely the best fit for my current priorities. Now I just need some pointers on finding the Samsung equivalent of xda-dev so I can start modding this thing.

    Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Sorry for the confusion. The task manager software has the soft reset option. Not the Mondi itself.

    The option may be found by the following path within the task manager software:
    Task Manager > Menu > Action > Soft Reset

    Reply
  • I remember seeing on xda developers an HTC device running XP.
    And I am pretty sure on that site you can get a BT hack for tethering.

    Reply
  • Yeah i use WMW, there’s also a free HTC designed wifi tethering app avail. I’m just used to WMW. Also it’s so funny you mention that, as i was just discussing the same thing this weekend..
    I usually have case’s for all of my devices, but it’s crazy, i haven’t been able to locate a glove-fit yet and it’s near blasphemy for me, as mine are usually held at my hip.. this one has gone in the pocket thus far.

    Reply
  • Hey Jenn- regarding the browser, have you tried Skyfire and Opera 9.7 yet? Skyfire works pretty well(but scrolling isn’t smooth), Hulu works though.
    Opera 9.7 seems faster than the stock browser to me(as it should), but the flash doesnt work.

    Reply
  • I use Diamond psShutXP for soft reset

    Reply
  • Avatar of John Q. Public

    I haven’t seen any reliable mention anywhere of how much RAM the Mondi has. Anyone know?

    Reply
  • That option isn’t there on the Mondi. The only things under Menu are Switch To, End All Tasks, View, Sort By, Refresh, and Exit.

    Reply
  • Hi:

    I just received the Mondi, but have already transferred many files via Bluetooth. Files have been transferred both to/from the device and a PC, other WM device, and a Bluetooth printer. Set-up was easy, and all transfers have completed on first try. JPEG, CAB, TXT, and other file formats have been successfully transferred within the first day of use.

    Reply
  • Made a typo when inputting web site address in previous post.

    I am a big user of Bluetooth. All my PC’s, WM, and Palm devices have Bluetooth. For me, it is my main method of transferring files among the way too many devices my addiction has accumulated. ;-)

    Reply
  • Hi Jenn:

    Are you sure it is 256MB? When I look under the memory settings, it shows 91.25 Total for Storage, and 81.84 MB Total for Program. The free memory is about half those numbers before adding 3rd party apps. Of course, can always install apps. to the 4GB internal storage area, or to a microSD card.

    Reply
  • Yep, it’s 256MB. The device only shows the RAM that you can actually use, so the actual amount and the amount available to you will never be the same. I guess you could say it’s similar to the way computer hard drives are never as big as the box says they are (e.g., there really isn’t 160GB of available space on a 160GB drive).

    Reply
  • Thanks for the clarification Jenn. Quite a bit of that 256 MB RAM must be used for “behind-the-scenes” system use since I believe the 91.25 MB total available for Storage would technically be ROM since it has to be non-volatile since WM5, and the the total available memory for program execution is only 81.84 MB (40 MB available to user after booting). Bottom line is I love the device. Although I would like the 200+ MB for program execution, and 328 MB of non-volatile storage available on my Touch Pro, the 40 MB free program memory for the user should be enough to multitask the desired programs.

    Take care

    Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Don from Las Vegas. Not enough time in the day, week, month etc. to get to the website and forum. Still love the Mondi and found a perfect case. At least for me. It is from Case Logic and was designed for a portable hard drive. Purchased 2 of them for both Mondi units. Fits in my wife’s purse. One side of the zippered clam shell has a net pocket that I put the headset that came with the Mondi and extra stereo headphones that I purchased for music. The other side of the zippered clamshell has a molded area with a flexible strap across it, that the Mondi slides in perfectly. The Mondi does not move from side to side and is held in place by the flexible strap. The zippered clamshell is semi-hard on the outside and padded on the inside. It was designed to carry around a portable hard drive and the design is perfect for the Mondi. I bought them at Best Buy, but you can see it on the Case Logic website. I have a couple of pics, but don’t know how to post them.

    Reply
  • Thanks, Don. I’ve been using the case that came with my old Nokia N800. It’s not a perfect fit but it’s better than the N810 case, which is too snug, and it at least it keeps the Mondi’s screen free of dust when I leave it sitting around.

    As for posting pictures, you can do so in the forum by following this tutorial: http://forum.pocketables.com/showthread.php?t=1396

    You can use the same tutorial to post direct links to the photos here on the main site too (just choose the “Direct Link” option instead of “IMG Code”) in Step 3. There are other image hosting services available too (Flickr, for example), but I like Photobucket.

    Alternatively, you could also just post the link to the Case Logic product page. Is it this one? http://www.caselogic.com/compact_portable_hard_drive_case/product_detail/index.cfm?modelid=80400

    Reply
  • Avatar of Don McNiel

    Hi Jenn. That case is very similar. The only difference is that the flexible strap is running lengthwise inside the case instead of width wise, as the link picture shows.

    Thanks for the link to the tutorial. I am so hoping that life will slow down just a tad to take enough time for the relaxing part of perusing this site and forums.

    I am so glad to see some folks using the Mondi and taking the time to comment and share usage. I look forward to being able to contribute to the discussions soon.

    Thanks for checking back!

    Reply
  • Avatar of rr0123

    Hi, any further news on Bluetooth DUN? According to the post below, tethering actually does work!!?? Have you actually tried it?

    Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I have been looking at the Mondi for awhile and read the reviews. I live in Canada but plan to have a friend bring one up from Texas on his next trip. I have a few questions I was hoping you might be able to answer:

    1. How much Program memory does it have? I have an HP 4700 64 MB. I was thinking of possibly upgrading to the 128 MB memory as I am using Softmaker for Excel, Word and PPT. I also use Pocket Mindmap. Both programs consume a good deal of memory.

    2. Have you had any problems installing or running any third party WIN MO software?

    3. Have you found a way to turn off the on-screen keyboard?

    4. Can you select the standard WIN MO keyboard programs (eg “Keyboard”, “Block Recognizer”, etc) or use third party on-screen keyboard programs (eg “TenGO”)?

    Thanks

    Greg

    Reply
  • Avatar of Anonymous

    so to get this straight, this is not a phone and it cannot call people or use a sim card to be activated? if not, then i may look into buying this later on in the future.
    a few more questions. similar to psp and ipod touch, does this device or any other wm device have a headset to change music tracks without opening the device and changing it? can it also go into sleep mode to save battery?
    lastly, with skyfire, can i use it to access the full gmail website and use the sms texting lab feature to text to friends? that is all i need to know.

    Reply
  • Jenn:

    I may have found a band aid fix for the annoying pop up key board feature. I bought a pop up screen numeric keypad program from handango and installed it on my Monddi. I then select it as the input device the first time the keyboard pops up. The numeric keypad replaces it and then I tap on the input icon and it disappears. I haven`t tested it a lot, but I haven’t had the keyboard pop up unless I do a soft reset.

    It especially works well in Excel where the pop up keyboard really gets in the way.

    Also, while not the best thumboard around, after a few hours of practice it seems much more usable than it did when I first started using it. It beats the HP iPaq which lacks a thumboard. (& I found the Stowaway BT keyboard too /muchb of a hassle.)

    Thanks for the Mondi reviews.

    K. Lee (no relations uless your middle name is Ken ;-)

    Reply

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