Samsung Monte review: Samsung Monte

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The Good Appealing design; well-implemented widgets; 3G, Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity; decent camera.

The Bad Widgets are on the large side; interface is occasionally quite sluggish; poorly designed headphone jack.

The Bottom Line Samsung has done a good job of packing just about every feature you could want into a compact, nimble device. It's not perfect but, with intuitive menus, a host of widgets and a decent browser, the Monte will satisfy hardcore social-networking fans. It's a well-rounded phone that we enjoyed using

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8.3 Overall

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Mobile phones with a social-media focus are nothing new, but Samsung is making a special effort with the Monte. As well as a 3.2-megapixel camera, a touch-sensitive interface, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, it boasts a host of pre-installed widgets aimed at making your mobile life more pleasant.

It's available for around £10 per month on a 24-month contract. You can also pick it up for around £120 on a pay-as-you-go deal, or £150 SIM-free. 

At around 54 by 109 by 12mm, the Monte cuts a slender figure. All curves and rounded edges, it's a phone designed to fit in your palm. We like its appearance, and its slim build means it won't be tearing a hole in your jeans pocket anytime soon.

The Twitter widget will let you fill your boots with infantile musings

The Monte's glossy face is adorned with just three buttons -- the phone's 76mm (3-inch) capacitive touchscreen is mostly responsible for menu navigation. We found the screen impressively sensitive and easy to use.

Around the edge of the handset, you'll find volume controls, a 3.5mm headphone socket, a port for charging and connecting the phone to a USB socket, and a microSD card slot. There's also a lock button, as well as the main camera control.

Wonderful world of widgets
The Monte doesn't have access to a proper app store, like that of the iPhone. But it has a comprehensive set of pre-installed widgets that will probably deliver all the functionality you could ever want from a phone, and you can download more Samsung widgets if you like.

In the upper-left-hand corner of the screen is a static widgets hotkey, which brings up a menu showing you all the widgets at your disposal. From here, it's a simple case of dragging widgets from the menu onto one of the three home screens, and dragging them back into the menu when it's time to clear some space. 

Even Samsung's bundled headphones don't fit particularly well into the 3.5mm jack 

It's a well-implemented system. Within 5 minutes of starting up the phone, we'd turned our three home screens into a hotbed of social-media tools, clocks, calendars, and links to Google search, YouTube and even BBC iPlayer. As time goes on, you'll probably want to bring some order to your home screens and start grouping widgets by category or frequency of use.

One gripe is that the widgets are rather on the large side and will quickly clutter up your home screens, even though few widgets display much information at a glance. Most require you to click through to access the widget's real functionality.

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