Device Advice: Samsung’s padded cell

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Touchscreen phones seem to be the rage and Samsung itself has no shortage of touchscreen devices coming out over the coming months. But what dealers will be glad to hear is that this is no ordinary touchscreen phone.

Samsung is calling the Tocco Ultra Edition its flagship handset for 2009, which is a good plan seeing as this appeals to a range of customers – touchscreen fans, old traditionalists that still like using a keypad and those that want a bit of both.

A real keypad allows dialling and messaging using recognisable buttons, instead of fancy ‘haptic’ vibrations. If consumers have moved away from keypad technology, they can also use the on-screen version instead.

The only thing that might bother some is there’s no cancel key on the keypad, meaning that if you make a mistake, you’ll need to go up to the screen and press the on-screen backspace key.

Usability is slightly hampered then, as a directional D-Pad and select button would make it easier to navigate the phone menus without having to use the touchscreen at all, and another row of keys (or at least a clear button) would make the keypad more useful still.

Consumers will be amazed at the Active Matrix OLED screen, which is a vast improvement on OLED screens of the past, with a brightness level that you can’t get on most LCD displays.

With a phone so slim, imaging fans will be excited to find an 8-megapixel camera on here. The LED flash can’t compete with that on the Sony Ericsson C905, but you shouldn’t be writing off the Tocco Ultra Edition as a cameraphone just yet.

The options are vast, from image stabilisation to smile detection. There are multiple scene modes, burst modes, panoramic shots and frames. The ISO and exposure levels can be adjusted manually, and consumers can tag people in images to make it easier to find photos.

Photos can also be uploaded to social networking sites using the integrated ‘Share Pix’ application, with support for new services added by downloading a module over the air, giving the Tooco Ultra yet another advantage over the competition.

Video recording is impressive, with support for 720×480 resolution video at 30 frames per second, plus a range of trick modes from slow to fast motion.

Full review in Mobile News issue 439 (May 15, 2009).

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