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Samsung Tocco review: Samsung Tocco

Samsung's latest touchscreen handset, the Tocco, is ready to take on the iPhone. The Tocco's interface is much improved over previous Samsung touchscreen phones and it struts HSDPA and a 5-megapixel camera with autofocus. Does its great style tip the scales in its favour?

Frank Lewis

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3 min read

When it comes to phones, buttons are out and touch sensitivity is most definitely in. Unfortunately, Samsung's previous touchscreen mobiles -- the Armani and F700 -- were slightly awkward to use.

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8.3

Samsung Tocco

The Good

Good touchscreen interface; cool widgets feature; 3G download speeds; good camera.

The Bad

No full onscreen keyboard; poor Web browser; interface can feel sluggish.

The Bottom Line

The Tocco is a stylish handset with a wealth of features, including a 5-megapixel camera and HSDPA support. It's not quite an iPhone killer, but it's still one of the best touchscreen phones around

Not to be defeated, the company is back with the Tocco, a new touchscreen handset that's available at Carphone Warehouse for free on a monthly contract or for around £350 SIM-free. It boasts a wealth of cool features and a completely redesigned user interface called TouchWiz. Is it a case of third time lucky for Samsung?

Strengths
Some of the style and panache of Samsung's Armani phone has obviously rubbed off on the Tocco, as the two look remarkably similar. Like the Armani, the front of the handset is dominated by the large touchscreen, with only three physical buttons -- call answer, call end and main menu -- to break up the clean lines.


The Tocco's touchscreen is capacitive, making it a lot more responsive to touch than previous Samsung touchscreen phones

We've criticised Samsung's touchscreen phones in the past for their drab, monochrome-style interfaces, but the new TouchWiz interface is a breath of fresh air in comparison. It's faster and more responsive and also has adjustable haptic feedback where the phone vibrates slightly when you touch menus or icons.

The interface looks great on the 71mm (2.8-inch) display and features a cleaner layout with more colourful icons. We also really like the slick animations when you move between screens. For example, when you switch from the main menu to the new widgets screen, the display revolves with a pleasing 3D animation.


On the back of the Tocco, there's a 5-megapixel camera with an LED photo light

This new widgets screen is probably the most innovative aspect of the handset. It features a dock on the left-hand edge from where you can drag various applications on to your home screen to personalise it. Widgets range from a music player to digital and analogue clocks, as well as games and a picture viewer. Up to seven widgets can sit on the home screen at any one time. We love it because it provides a neat way of grouping together the stuff that you want to access most often.

There's plenty more to like about the Tocco. It supports HSDPA so you get fast Web access at speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and there are dual cameras for video calling. The main camera is also very impressive. It's a 5-megapixel model and besides autofocus and an LED photo light, it has face detection and smile detection. The latter automatically takes a picture when it spots a grinning mug in the shot. Add in extras like an FM tuner, RSS reader and 223MB of onboard memory and microSD card slot and you've got a feature packed handset.


Weaknesses
As the Tocco is a touchscreen handset, comparisons with the iPhone are inevitable. For the most part, it stands up well, but there are areas that could be improved a lot.


Right underneath the touchscreen are three hard keys that let you send and end calls, in addition to accessing a shortcut menu

In particular, the browser is poor compared to Safari. Whereas Safari makes full Web pages easily readable on the iPhone's small screen, the Tocco's browser struggles to pull off the same trick. The main problem is that there's no zooming feature to let you quickly hone in on areas of text or graphics. While you can move the page around by swiping your finger on the display, it's not as intuitive or as responsive as on Apple's handset.

There's no doubt that the TouchWiz interface is a huge improvement on Samsung's previous efforts, but we think it could still be tweaked further. Although it's mostly speedy, there are times when sluggishness creeps in to spoil the party.

Also, even though the smaller screen size on the Tocco means that it's a more petite handset that fits comfortably in your palm, the lack of screen real estate means that it's not quite big enough to fit a virtual keyboard. Instead, all input has to be done using T9, which isn't ideal when entering Web address or composing emails.

Conclusion
While the Tocco isn't quite an iPhone killer, it does look very stylish and offer up a plethora of great features, including an impressive camera and HSDPA support for speedy Web downloads. In our book, that still makes it one of the best touchscreen phones around at the moment.

Edited by Shannon Doubleday

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