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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Having thoroughly enjoyed itself on the camera side of things, the Samsung Tocco Ultra Edition then pulls out another gem of a feature: watching video on the 2.8-inch AMOLED screen.

Video reproduction

Some phones might be able to show video to a decent standard, but the level of clarity, colour reproduction and detail led some people to actually gasp when we showed them 'Speed Racer' (a highly coloured film) on the screen.

Sound quality

Add to that the presence of Samsung's proprietary 5.1 Surround Sound option, which helps make the often poor quality digital audio sound fantastic by using an algorithm to improve the base and mid-tones, and listening to a video (with a decent set of headphones, although the ones supplied in the box by Samsung are more than adequate and better than most supplied by other brands) feels like listening on a home cinema system.

Long term watching

However, watching a whole movie on the handset wasn't as pleasurable as it might have been on a standalone PMP player like an Archos, as the screen was just a little too small for extended viewing. We transferred a half hour TV programme onto the device (and it looked just as good as Speed Racer) and that was more palatable, so this is more of a bite-size video machine.

Given this feature it's odd that Samsung has decided not to add a link to a video player on the menu - instead you have to navigate to the chosen file through the 'My Files' link to open the video.

Music and radio playback

The music player, on other hand, is given its own pride of place in the menu screen, the widget side bar, and the switcher activated by the camera button. It's functional enough, with the same great sound provided by the 5.1 surround sound option.

You have the ability to sort your music by artist, album or track, and also to create playlists, so all the functions you would need are there, as well being able to see album artwork, and while it might not entice you to give up your normal MP3 player, it's certainly a more than viable option for tunes on the go.

There's also an easy to use FM radio that can be accessed through the widgets bar on the home screen, which not only does all the usual things you expect a radio to do but also allows you to record from it as well. This is a feature we've started to see more and more from Samsung, for instance the miCoach, and it manages to do so with breathtaking sound quality. Add all these features together and you can see this is a handset set up for media, which makes it all the more perplexing that there's no headphone jack on the chassis itself.

Add to that the fact there's only 100MB of onboard storage and a 1GB microSD memory card in the box, and you start to wonder if this is an opportunity missed by Samsung to create one of the best media phones out on the market.

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.