The Samsung M1 -- also known as the Vodafone M1 360 -- is the cheapskates' choice if you want to get stuck into Vodafone 360.
The M1 is the little brother of the Samsung H1, also called the Vodafone H1 360. Samsung has cut the cost of the M1 by giving it an 81mm touchscreen, slightly smaller than the H1. It's not an OLED screen either, so it's not as bright and vivid. The camera has been cut from 5 megapixels down to 3.2, and there's a 1GB microSD card included instead of 16GB of on-board memory, although you can expand that using your own card. The M1 also ditches Wi-Fi, but there's HSDPA on board, so surfing over 3G should be zippy enough.
Despite the cuts to the hardware, the M1 still packs all of the social-networking features flaunted by its more expensive sibling.
On phones other than the H1 and M1, using Vodafone 360 means installing an app, and on
most phones, you'll only get access to the service's address-book
feature. But Vodafone 360 flows in the M1's veins, and you'll get the full range of
Vodafone 360 social-networking features, such as the ability to prod your friends with a
message telling them where you are, including a link to the built-in
The H1 goes on sale this Friday from free on a £35-per-month, 24-month contract, and Vodafone promises the M1 will be cheaper than that, although it won't confirm the exact price. Expect the M1 to hit the shops before Christmas this year.
Vodafone threw us in the back of a black cab to show us the M1 -- click 'Continue' to see the Samsung M1 flex its muscles.
The Samsung M1 shows your contacts, call history, status updates and other gubbins in a 3D Cover Flow-style interface, so you can see who you've been in contact with in a layered timeline.
There's lots of options to group people together so you can look at your friends separately from your workmates, for example.
The M1's screen isn't OLED like its big brother the Samsung H1, and it's slightly smaller. Here's the H1 to show the difference in brightness between the two phones.
We found both phones' screens fast and responsive to our touch, however -- the M1's screen is still very usable.
Our quick first go on the M1's on-screen Qwerty keyboard was a rousing success, and we had no trouble typing quickly and accurately right away, thanks to the responsive touchscreen and auto-correction.
Unusually, we preferred the portrait on-screen keyboard to the one in landscape mode in our initial hands-on -- we didn't like how the letters on the lower row surround the spacebar, but we're willing to give it another chance in our full review, so stay tuned!