Samsung Monte review

The Samsung Monte has the looks and the specs, but does it have the brains?

The definitive Samsung Monte S5650 review
The definitive Samsung Monte S5650 review

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Make no mistake – the Samsung Monte is a looker. Taking the curved, tapering lines of the the Genio Touch and combining them with a more Jet-like shape, Samsung's style is continuing to evolve.

While the top is a typically angular bit of design, there's significant curving of the chassis near the bottom, where you tend to grip the phone.

Samsung monte

The result is that – despite being thicker than some phones with larger touchscreens, like the iPhone 3GS – the Monte feels slight in the hand, and is very comfortable to hold.

The design flair come from the narrowing flashes on the side of the Samsung Monte, along with the matching line on the Back key. Our review unit featured a classy-but-boring silver finish, but we've seen the orange version, and were much more taken with that.

Hidden around the design flourishes are a few physical keys. On the front you have Call, Back and Terminate keys, with the latter moonlighting as the power button. Just below these three is a small hole for the microphone.

Samsung monte

The 3.0-inch touchscreen gives eye-catching, vibrant colours, but isn't the most crisp display around. That's not to say text or images look jagged by any means, but the lower resolution compared to higher-end phones is noticeable.

While perfectly bright and legible indoors or in cloud cover, the TFT screen becomes almost completely useless in direct sunlight.

Samsung monte

Along the Monte's right side is a black Camera key, camouflaged under the tapered end of the coloured flash. Above that is a Lock key, with the cover for the microSD card slot just a little higher.

Samsung monte

On the opposite side, there's a volume rocker, which doubles as a zoom function when in camera mode.

The top of phone features just the 3.5mm audio jack and a cover for the micro USB port.

The camera juts out slightly, but not too far, from the rear casing. The back cover itself is removed by prying it away from the phone's chassis at the bottom, and then popping it off.

Samsung monte

Inside, you'll see the battery sitting snugly and the SIM card slot on the side.

The Monte is smartly built, but it definitely has a plasticky feel about it. It's solid enough, and isn't lacking quality, but there's a creeping sensation that it's a budget phone.

Both the screen and rear casing pick up more grease and smudges than you can possibly hope to stay on top of.