Touch screen phones for a while have been dominated by Apple and to some extent HTC. There was a good reason for their domination the competition was rubbish. Anything from the likes of Samsung, HP or even the semi-touch Sony Ericsson’ did not even come close to the sensitivity and user friendliness of the Apple or even the HTC’s.
Apple with the launch of their iPhone and iPod Touch created a new expectation in consumers. We now expect all touch screen mobiles to be as responsive as the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch. It took the manufactures some time to adjust to this new expectation, but now I gladly announce that they have. Or at least Samsung has.
Lets get right to it; the Samsung F480 offers is something that no other mobile – for an equivalent price – can offer. A touch screen that is as good as the iPhone. On top of having an awesome touch screen, it looks really cool, with its glass face in dark grey and chrome lining to contrast. It is not very big either; it doesn’t look like you’re overly excited when it rings in your pocket.
Now amazingly on top of the 240×320 2.8″ 262K touch screen Samsung have squeezed in a 5 Megapixel camera. Quick history lesson; Samsung has always managed to put really high-resolution cameras on their midrange mobiles – The D900 had a full 3,2 Megapixels when it was launched over two years ago – although the cameras where seldom any good. This thankfully has now changed. I took the F480 to the states recently and left my camera at home, on purpose. The pictures that I got from the F480 where sharp and crisp, the colours are excellent, yet not overbearing and with the flash off the shutter speed is lightning fast.
Don’t however expect the Samsung F480 to be crammed with interesting functions, it isn’t. But what really impressed me was how the F480 handled the functions it does have. Its calendar is detailed enough to properly use, no matter what your schedule looks like. The phonebook allows you to choose what exactly you want to do with a contact when you have found it, from sending an SMS, to an email, to adding their birthday in the calendar. It is all in front of you in the form of eye pleasing, very touchable icons. To pull it all together the touch interface is honestly fantastic; it is good enough that while dodging New Yorkers, on 5th Ave, at 5pm, on a Friday, with the sun in my eyes, I could reply to an email with relative ease.
A really cool feature that kicks the iPhone squarely in the nuts is ‘Widgets’. These sit on your start screen and are fully moveable. You get access to some of the most used functions through a unique menu of ‘Widgets’, some widgets allow you to control the radio player and music player. Others allow you to edit the more personal elements such as birthday reminders, which users can ‘drag and drop’ onto their start screens to suit their personal tastes. Its not all fun and games some widgets serve a more practical purpose. One particularly useful widget allows you to change profiles without going into the menu.
There was one thing which annoyed me in the states is that they have only just switched to 3G now. I was all ready to exploit the F480’s full 3G HSDPA. So while in New York I could stretch my connection speed to about 3,6 mbps which annoyed me because Samsung claim that the F480 can connect to the HSDPA network at a full 7,2mbps. So when I got back to our beloved country with our Internet caps and high data prices I let her rip. I connected to MTN’s HSDPA network and still only got 3,6mbps. MTN officially say that you can get 7,2mbps in “some areas” that helps. But at least I know the Samsung can get there.
Although the F480 is touch, it is not a smart phone. It does not have office applications, it does not run applications in the background so they open quickly when needed and it does not have a full querty keyboard. But none of this matters, because what the F480 does is bring an unbelievable touch screen mobile to the masses. The F480 will be available on most networks, so unlike the upcoming iPhone (22 august – don’t tell anyone you heard it from me though) so you wont have to stand in a four-hour queue to get one.
For around R5 500 this has to be my favorite mobile on the market at the moment. It combines usability, versatility, sex appeal and especially technology into one small aluminum, plastic and glass case.