Samsung Tocco SGH-F480 review

Our review of Samsung's latest touchscreen phone

TechRadar Verdict

Good looking phone with a decent camera, though the touchscreen still has a way to go


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    Stylish compact design

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    Responsive touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera

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    Drag and drop 'widgets'

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    Good quality music player

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    Decent earphones supplied


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    Touchscreen control not always slick

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    No virtual Qwerty keyboard text input, Wi-Fi, camera flash limited

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    No support for adding extra widgets

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    No smartphone OS feature customisation

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Samsung, like most of the major phone manufacturers, has occasionally been guilty of making phones that put style over substance, that look great but don't deliver what their catwalk looks promise.

Fortunately, the Tocco doesn't quite fall into that category. It's certainly got the style thing sorted, following on from Samsung's other touch screen tasties like the Armani and the F490.

It's a petite, minimalist, slimline slab with brushed metal back, shiny metal surround and sleek black plastic on the front, framing that large 2.8in touch screen.

While the screen dominates the front (there are just call start/end and action keys below it, plus a small speaker and video call camera above it) the sides are equally sleek, broken only by slots for microSD memory cards (up to 8GB ones are supported) and charger/headphones, a volume rocker, camera shutter button and a screen lock button on top.

Unusually, it comes with a choice of battery covers. There's the standard shiny one but there's also an odd leatherette affair that wraps itself over the front with a tiny hole for the loudspeaker. It's certainly useful for protecting the screen but since there's nothing to hold the flap in place, so it does tend to, erm, flap about.

Fire it up by pressing any of the three hard keys on the front and the 262,000-colour screen springs into life with a riot of colourful icons.

But these are no ordinary icons, oh no. For this is Samsung's TouchWiz user interface and these are 'widgets'. Widgets in this case are actually application icons which can be pulled out of a Mac-style dock that runs down the left-hand side of the screen.

Place your thumb on one, then drag and drop it from the dock on to the screen and place it where you like. There are ten in all, including date, time, calendar, music, games, gallery, profiles and FM radio

It's all very intuitive and easy, and there are a few nice 3D animations too, though we did find that the screen would occasionally lock up, requiring us to press one of the hard keys to get it going again. We also felt that with such a nice big screen they've missed a trick by not including a QWERTY keyboard, so you'll need to text using a virtual standard numeric keypad and T9.

The 5-megapixel camera does a pretty good job of still snaps in good light. It's fairly quick to wake up by holding the shutter key (slightly under three seconds) and offers a good range of settings including multi-shot (up to 15 rapid-fire shots), anti-shake and face detection (which makes sure the central face in a photo is in focus) plus an LED flash.

There are also a few fun options like mosaic shot, which stitches together several different pics into one, and smile detection, which tries to stop you taking a pic unless it can detect a smile, though it didn't seem terribly reliable to us.

Pics were generally sharp with only some of the usual minor colour balance quibbles that are par for the course with cameraphones.

Video, as is often the case, let the side down a little offering only a rather jerky QVGA (320x240 pixels) resolution. There is however a basic video editing suite which allows you to adjust the resolution of your flicks and add an additional soundtrack.

The music player is a decent one, making good use of the touchscreen by allowing you to skip to part of a track by running your thumb along the progress bar.

There's a ten-setting graphic equaliser as well as a shuffle option and the opportunity to give your favourites star ratings out of five. There's a so-so 223MB of onboard memory available but you can add up to 8GB with an optional microSD card.

The headphones are better than we expected, with nice chunky bass and rubberised rims so they fit snugly into your ear and block out extraneous noise. If you need to change them though, the lead includes a 3.5mm jack adaptor.

There's also a web-based music recognition app, which identifies any tunes you hear on the built-in FM radio (48 presets – way more than you could need) or any other radio come to that.

Web-wise, it has 3G and supports high-speed HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps, which is great if you can get it. The browser has a few nice touches - you can move the pages up or down by rubbing your thumb along the bar on the right, though it doesn't offer the same option for scrolling across, and you can zoom in or out using the volume buttons.

There's also the option to break the page up into numbered sections which you can flip through or select from a menu. Unfortunately the numbered menu features tiny keys that are really difficult to press accurately with your thumb. The verdict is –better than some, but still a good way short of devices like the iPhone or the HTC Diamond.

Battery life didn't bowl us over though we probably can't complain since we got a little over two days out of it.

It's certainly a very stylish phone and it ups the ante on its predecessors the Armani and the F490 by being practical and fun to use as well. In fact, if it weren't for the presence of touchscreen titans like the iPhone and HTC's Touch Diamond, it would clearly stand out from most of the competition. As it is, it's good, but has to take its place behind the touchscreen leaders.

Network availability – Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile



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