Samsung Tocco Ultra S8300 review

Is the new Samsung Tocco Ultra S8300 up to the task?

The Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition
The Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition

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The Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition features the usual array of messaging options you'd expect on a high end handset, with the ability to send SMS, MMS and email right out of the box.


Email was rather tricky to set up, as when trying to integrate our Gmail account we were asked to enter all the settings, including ports and SMTP server.

While this information is available on Google's help section, it still was difficult to input and might put off those that aren't that technically literate, which would be a shame to lose such a big feature.

When we finally got Gmail working, the messages downloaded in a rather odd order. Not only did it add in both sent and received messages into one box (admittedly, this conversation method is a mainstay of the Gmail account, but still, it would have been nice if the Tocco Ultra Edition could have had some ability to handle this), but the latest ones weren't there.

And try as we might, it seemed unable to get the most recent messages, preferring to show us some from last November, despite sorting by date, name and anything else we could think of. Also each message, which you'd already read on the server, was marked as unread, with no option to 'Mark all as read', so unless you wanted to scroll through the 500-odd messages most people have saved in their Gmail account, you're stuck with an 'unread email' icon in the corner of the screen.

Text entry

The beauty of a touchscreen is the ability to have a full QWERTY keyboard without the pain of having to increase the size of the handset or scrimp on screen size, but the downside is losing the tactility of the physical keys.

Samsung has solved this with the Tocco Ultra Edition by having a responsive touch screen combined with a well-spaced keypad for easy text entering. Writing messages is easy to begin with, but Samsung has included some odd choices in terms of text entry that confused us somewhat, as it seems the company is trying to re-invent the wheel.

The first point of concern is the surprising lack of a physical / delete key on the phone, which you feel is pretty pivotal in a handset.

The Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition instead has a virtual key on the screen when entering text, meaning that backspacing when making a mistake can be a bit of a hit and miss affair.

Bizarrely entering text on the internet, which you would think would call up a miniature version of the text input, just showing us the text we're entering and if a mistake is made, you have to double tap again to enter the text mode to fix it.

While nothing is inaccessible, it's a very convoluted method of text entry, and that's even before the T9 mode is activated.

Text messaging

Predictive text has been around for a while, and for that reason it's been pretty much perfected. Users are used to the layout most companies use for their phones (ie the * key used for scrolling through word choices, the 0 key for spaces and the # key for changing between capital letters and numbers).

But the Tocco Ultra Edition eschews this practice to move everything one space to the right, meaning seasoned texters will be constantly pressing the wrong key in the early stages.

There's also no ability to move backwards should you scroll past the word you want, and if you want to go back to the original entry you'll have to go through reams of words Samsung has 'helpfully' put in that it thinks you'll need.

Therefore should you be writing the word 'Erm' (if you text as you speak, that is) you'll need to cycle through nine different options, including 'Droppings' and 'Doo' (which was mildly amusing to our three-year-old psyche).

Not only that, but using the punctuation key is confusing too. In every other phone there's a set order to the way the characters are cycled in T9, but the Tocco Ultra Edition has decided to inexplicably mix this up, meaning that you're constantly screaming in annoyance when you miss the comma time and again and have to delete rather than being able to go back.

Admittedly, this isn't a deal breaker, but given the amount of texting most people will probably do on this phone, it's a real irritation.

Other than that, the messaging is pretty standard fare, with the up / down key once again being your best bet to scroll through a whole heap of sent and received mails.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.