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Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition review

Barry de la Rosa
8 Jul 2009
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
289
inc VAT SIM-free; Free on £25-per-month, 18-month contract

Amazing picture quality and an above-average camera in a sturdy, well-designed package - but it's let down by its poor battery life.

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Specifications

proprietary, 2.8in 240x400 display

Samsung's Tocco Ultra is the first mobile we've seen with an OLED display.

Colours sprang out and contrast was superb on the Ultra's 2.8in touchscreen. However, despite the low power consumption of OLED displays, the Ultra's battery life was poor, lasting only seven and a half hours in our light usage test.

The built-in 8-megapixel camera produces pictures with a 3,264x2,448 resolution. Sadly, our reservations about phone cameras remain and while this is better than the 2- or 3-megapixel cameras you'll see on other phones, it's still no replacement for a decent compact camera. Shots taken outdoors were great but indoor shots, and especially those taken in poor light, showed a lot of noise.

The Ultra feels well-made, and its brushed aluminium finish looks smart. It snaps open smoothly and with a satisfying clunk to reveal the keypad. Its proprietary Samsung interface has a range of built-in applications for accessing popular functions, which Samsung calls widgets. A bar containing these pops out from the left-hand side of the home screen, and you can drag a maximum of four on to the screen to use at once. Widgets are limited in their functions, though, and most of the recognisable ones, such as Flickr, Facebook and Google, are simply short cuts to web pages.

The email widget supports POP3 and IMAP, but not Exchange servers. The calendar widget is a simple affair, but it can synchronise with Outlook using the bundled desktop software, as can your contacts. The Netfront browser is an adequate mobile browser but is limited by the Ultra's screen, which is smaller and has a lower resolution than the HTC Magic's display.

The phone's home screen can feel cramped, with widgets overlapping or straying off the side of the screen. The inconsistent touch control makes matters worse; sometimes it works smoothly, but at other times it lags behind your inputs. We found scrolling in the widget bar jerky, for example, and it often mistook a swipe for a press and opened an item. It's certainly not as slick as the iPhone or Android interfaces.

The phone has only 80MB of internal memory, although you can add more through the microSDHC slot. There's no WiFi, so you can't take advantage of wireless hotspots, but it includes GPS to help you find your way around town. The phone has no 3.5mm headphone port, although there's an adaptor in the box that includes a microphone, so you can use your own headphones and still take calls.

The Tocco Ultra's greatest assets are its 8-megapixel camera and the vibrant OLED display, which together could have been a winning combination. It's just a shame that you'll have to recharge it so often. A longer-lasting alternative is Sony Ericsson's C905, which also has an 8-megapixel camera.

Details

Price£289
Rating***

Hardware

Main display size2.8in
Native resolution240x400
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels8-megapixel
FlashDual LED
Video recording formatMP4
ConnectivityBluetooth, USB
GPSyes
Internal memory80MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included1024MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataGPRS, EDGE, HSDPA
Size110x52x13mm
Weight122g

Features

Operating systemproprietary
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord/Excel/PowerPoint/PDF viewers
Email clientPOP3/IMAP
Audio format supportMP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA
Video playback formatsDivX, XviD, H.264, H.263, WMV9, MPEG4
FM Radioyes
Web BrowserAccess NetFront 3.5
Accessoriesheadset and remote, USB data cable, travel mains adapter
Talk time4 hours
Standby time14.6 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)7h 35m

Buying Information

SIM-free price£289
Price on contractFree on £25-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplierwww.handtec.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.vodafone.co.uk
Detailswww.samsung.co.uk

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