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Samsung Tocco Lite review: Samsung Tocco Lite

The Samsung Tocco Lite aims to take the touchscreen to the streets. Its biggest drawback is its lack of support for 3G, but it's a surprisingly good phone, considering its bargain price. Its resistive touchscreen is vivid and snappy, and it's got some fun widgets to keep things interesting.

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6.5

Samsung Tocco Lite

Pricing Not Available

The Good

Responsive, bright touchscreen; built-in links to social-networking sites; expandable memory card slot; good battery life.

The Bad

No 3G connectivity; poor YouTube quality; troublesome USB connection; user interface can be confusing; no headphone adaptor.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung Tocco Lite does a good job of scaling down touchscreen tech to fit in a pocket-sized, bargain-basement phone. A bright, responsive touchscreen ensures that basics like dialling and texting pose no problems, and the 3.2-megapixel camera is decent too. But, without 3G, the Lite doesn't so much surf as paddle the Web

The Lite is available from free on a £12-per-month contract with Virgin Media, or from £130 on Virgin Media's pay-as-you-go plan.

Screen

The Lite is a pocket-friendly phone that mostly consists of screen. By ditching the keypad, Samsung has managed to fit a 72mm (3-inch) touchscreen onto a palm-sized pipsqueak.

The screen is bright, with bold colours -- although it's no match for the AMOLED screen of its much more expensive cousin, the Tocco Ultra. It's also a resistive touchscreen, which we usually hate - - you need to exert pressure to make them respond, and they feel rather squishy, so they seem less responsive than capacitive touchscreens. But the Lite impressed us with its responsiveness. We found typing and dialling pleasant and quick, and we didn't feel the need to press hard with a fingernail or stylus.For such an inexpensive phone, the quality of the screen was a very pleasant surprise.

With such a good screen, Web browsing and watching videos should be a pleasure. But the Lite has no 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity, so it's slow to get online or download files. We tried out some YouTube videos and they were a tiny, garbled mess because of the extreme compression required. We also tried getting videos on the phone using the USB connection, but the Lite isn't as easy to sync as other Samsung phones we've tried -- our computer struggled to recognise it. We think your best bet is to invest in a microSD card and load that up with your media instead.

We found the Lite's resistive touchscreen surprisingly responsive

The Lite has a proprietary headphone jack and no adaptor, so we weren't able to test its music player with high-quality headphones. It comes with a pair of very basic, plastic earbuds with a hands-free microphone, and, unfortunately, you'll be stuck with them. But the Lite does support a good range of audio formats, from MP3 to WAV, and it also has an FM radio.

Camera

The 3.2-megapixel camera doesn't have a flash or LED photo light, so it's no surprise that it struggles in low light, producing very noisy photos. We were happy with the snaps taken in good light, however. As long as we used a steady hand, we were able to capture acceptable close-ups and shots from further away. Colour and exposure are satisfactory, especially considering this phone's low price.

The Lite puts a good range of camera settings at your disposal, including a smile-detection and panorama mode. Those modes aren't super-fast, but the smile detection caught our pearly whites perfectly. There's also a photo editor so that you can adjust, crop and add effects to your snaps.

We sometimes found navigating between the different options difficult, because of the obscure menu icons and lack of labels. Also, some features -- like zooming in -- aren't available when you view a photo from the camera. Instead, you have to close the camera and open the photo gallery to get that crucial option, and that's a waste of time.

Once you're happy with your snaps, you can take advantage of the phone's built-in links to Facebook, Picasa, Flickr, Photobucket and Friendster (it's big in Asia) to get them off the phone. Uploads are pretty slow, thanks to the lack of 3G connectivity, but our tests using Facebook worked without a hitch.

Social networking

The Lite also offers quick links to social-networking sites via a dedicated section in the menu, and widgets that you can drag onto to the home screens. But they're just links to mobile versions of the Web sites -- not built-in applications -- so they're not very impressive.

Some of the widgets available are more useful, such as the weather widget, which shows live updates, or the music player, which lets you control your music from the home screen. We just wish that live updates from sites like Facebook had been included too. It's also easy to accidentally slide the widgets around the screen with your finger. The Samsung i8910 HD has a lock function to stop this from happening, and it would be good if the Lite had that as well.

Battery life

The Lite's battery kept us tapping for ages, and was barely dented even after a full day's testing. Combined with its clear, loud call quality, and responsive dialling screen, the Tocco Lite has the phone basics covered very well.

Conclusion

Compared to other phones in its price range, Samsung's Tocco Lite is an impressive handset. Although its touchscreen is resistive, it's pleasant to use and responsive, and dialling and texting poses no problems. The user interface is confusing in places, but, for the most part, Samsung has kept it simple. The biggest drawback is the Lite's lack of 3G support, which sometimes leaves you feeling like you're slowly plodding through a muddy field in a pair of wellies.

Edited by Charles Kloet