Touchscreens don’t have to come from Cupertino to get our attention. But is the slick, snappy Tocco really a contender?
If we’re being honest, this touchscreen madness is getting a little out of hand. Suddenly, Nokia is the only company making phones with buttons, and we’re starting to miss them. But Samsung’s not feeling sentimental – its new Tocco features a revamped touchscreen interface, which is excitingly based on widgets.
We like widgets, much more so than the phone’s name, which is Italian for touch. But trust us, we got off lightly with Tocco – it was previously simply known by its code numbers, ‘F480’.
A widgety world
It’s a good job the interface has been revamped, because Samsung’s previous smartphone interface was tricky to handle.
The Tocco’s got a regular menu of icons, but at the tap of one virtual button you can switch to the widgets – a dock of options that can be dragged on to the main screen as you please. Best of all, the Tocco interface is very fast and responsive, making the phone a cinch to use in most respects.
It also makes the phone very customisable – you can hide or display everything from the clock and reminder icons to the network’s name-check. Other options include games, the phone’s music player and the FM radio.
The Tocco Widgets are cool enough, though it’s a matter of taste whether you’ll prefer this or the icons on the iPhone. And unlike Apple’s first dog-and-bone, this one’s 3G, with spanking 7.2Mbps speeds. This is lucky as, unlike the iPhone, there’s no Wi-Fi on board the Tocco – an oversight, surely?
Small and stylish
On the other hand, it keeps the size down – the Tocco sits much better in the hand than earlier Samsung efforts or the iPhone. The screen is a decent 2.8in number and, although it’s not as colour-rich or high-resolution as Apple’s, still looks great.
Texting, one of the iPhone’s achilles heels, is not perfect here either. The Tocco uses a virtual phone keypad with predictive text. A QWERTY keypad would have been too small to be comfortable, so this was the best choice, but it’s still hard to type at speed.
There is some redemption thanks to the excellent camera. Not only is it a 5MP model, it has grown-up features like face detection, image stabilisation and smile shutter, which sees the camera take a shot automatically when it sees a grinning mug.
Music lovers will enjoy the Samsung’s player, too. There’s only 230MB of memory here, but you can add more with microSD cards. And if you hear a track you don’t recognise, the Shazam program is on hand to send you a message with the track details and album art.
The customisation extends beyond the widgets – if you like haptic feedback, the Tocco has this too, letting you adjust the level of vibration from none at all to masochistic.
It’s not perfect, but the Samsung Tocco is one of the neatest touch-sensitive phones yet, matching excellent specs with an appealing UI.
Samsung F480 Tocco review
Compact, good-looking and responsive, the Tocco is one of the slickest touchscreen phones out there