Tocco is the Italian word for touch, and as you may have guessed, the Tocco SGH-F480 is Samsung’s latest touchscreen phone to hit the market. Once again, comparisons to the iPhone are inevitable, and although the Tocco is no iPhone killer – not that such a thing exists – it does sport at least a couple of features – haptic feedback and a 5 megapixel camera – that better Apple’s iconic device.
The Tocco is also smaller than the iPhone, measuring 98.4 x 55 x 11.6 mm compared to Apple’s 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3 mm. It’s lighter too, shaving off just over 25 grams. Of course, what you gain in pocketability, you lose in screen real estate (particularly important for a touchscreen device), although we think that for those who find the iPhone to be on the bulky side, especially when used as a phone, the trade off could be worth it. If you’ve ever wondered what an iPhone nano might look like, the Tocco gives you a pretty good idea.
Physical keys are kept to a minimum, with just call start/end sitting left and right of the home button. Down the right hand side of the device are volume up and down controls and a microSD card slot. The left hand side houses the dreaded multipurpose port for headphones, USB cable and charger, as well as a dedicated camera shutter key. On top is a hold switch for locking the screen.
Spec-wise, Samsung has packed a lot in for what really is a feature phone, including tri-band support (900/1800/1900), along with GPRS, EDGE and 3G (HSDPA) for data. The touchscreen is ‘capacitive‘, meaning that it’s truly intended to be finger rather than stylus friendly, measuring 2.8 inches and displaying 262,000 colors (QVGA). There’s also bluetooth, a front facing camera for video calls, and a 5 megapixel stills camera also capable of video recording. The only real omissions being WiFi, which is a shame, and GPS.
Although there’s plenty of “touch”, there’s not that much “whiz” to the Tocco’s TouchWhiz user interface. Having said that, it’s simple enough to use and proved to be fairly intuitive during most tasks, even if it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as the iPhone’s UI. The home screen displays the usual grid of applications which you tap on with your finger to launch. In most cases you’re then presented with a list view of information, such as contacts in address book or tracks in the music player, which can be scrolled through with a flick of the finger, although we found this to be a bit of a hit and miss affair at times. Further settings are accessed through a series of finger-friendly drop down menus, and at the bottom of the screen are contextual buttons, such as ‘back’ or ‘options’, which remain fixed on the screen as you scroll.
The Tocco’s touchscreen offers haptic feedback, meaning that it vibrates slightly when you tap on any of the on-screen buttons. This is a feature that the iPhone lacks, for example, and one that we found particularly useful when clicking on hyperlinks in the mobile web browser or typing on the Tocco’s virtual keyboard. Talking of which, Samsung have made the slightly controversial decision to provide a traditional numeric keyboard, albeit a virtual one, that utilizes predictive text rather than an on-screen QWERTY. We can only presume that this is due to the Tocco’s smaller sized screen compared to other touchscreen phones.
A fun but under developed feature of the Tocco is the standby screen’s use of widgets, similar to those found in Vista (gadgets) or the Mac’s dashboard. Users can customize which of the seven widgets to have on display by dragging them from the widget sidebar. Choices include a clock, calendar, birthday reminder, photo browser and music player. It’s just a pity that Samsung doesn’t provide a way for third-party developers to write their own widgets, so you’re limited, at least for now, to those that come pre-installed.
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