genio

The Genio feels like a cheap phone. Its build quality isn't particularly convincing and its interface looks cheap, although this is largely by dint of the rather blurry, low resolution screen.

Samsung has also made some significant cuts to the list of features to bring the Genio in at a bargain basement price.

We liked:

The Genio is certainly a bargain, and if all you want is a simple, fun phone for calling and texting people, there's no significant reason not to consider it at under £100.

Its media handling abilities aren't particularly graceful, but they work, and the inclusion of the FM tuner is useful.

The bundled headphones are pretty good as well, and the fact that you can attach your own 'phones as long as they have a 3.5mm audio connector is a definite plus.

The interface might not be terribly responsive, but we never experienced a crash even with multiple widgets running. Writing text messages is also easily done, and you'll hit decent speeds in no time - if your current phone has a T9-enabled keypad you'll have no trouble upgrading to this one.

We disliked:

Power users should look elsewhere. The Genio's email abilities are hampered by the lack of a full QWERTY keyboard and limited space for text entry, and the omission of 3G or wireless puts a major dent in the Genio's data handling abilities.

And, even if 3G was present, it's unlikely it would improve the browsing experience much thanks to the limited internet browser.

The interface also re-inforces the Genio's budget positioning. The screen is demonstrably worse than other touchscreen handsets.

It's responsive enough, but the edges of text are blurry and relatively indistinct, which is annoying.

Verdict:

The Genio is an also-ran in the war of the touchscreen phones.

It offers a few organisational, web browsing and social networking features, but unfortunately that doesn't make it anywhere near as fun to use or as handy as a bona fide smartphone.

The lack of 3G makes it grindingly slow compared to others and the inability to sync with proper office applications or online services such as Google Calendar is annoying.

The interface isn't particularly subtle and the screen isn't as crisp as some.

It's an undeniable bargain, though - if you're looking for a for a neat, functional touchscreen handset on a budget this could be it - but we'd advise saving up a while longer.