Samsung F480 is definitely among the most compact phones on the market. Hardware controls have been kept to a minimum, shedding off a good deal of extra bulk.
The touchscreen has rendered Samsung F480 quite minimalist in terms of design and construction. The touch-based UI has removed the need of many hardware keys resulting in a handset standing at the very modest 95.9 x 55 x 11.5 mm. In reality you will have no problem slipping it in any pocket, no matter how tight.
The front panel is, quite naturally, dominated by the 2.8" display. The Samsung F480 screen is capable of showing up to 262K colors and supports QVGA resolution. The latter sounds like good news, given the widescreen resolution of Samsung F490, which we found to be not much of a treat. However, the disastrous sunlight legibility we are used to seeing in most Samsung handsets is also the case with the F480.
There are three keys under the display, all plastic with bronze-like finish. These are the call and end keys, with a confirmation key in the middle. When Samsung F480 is in standby, the confirmation key launches the shortcuts menu, which is similar to the Croix layout (think Samsung Armani, F490 and F700).
On the left of Samsung F480 we found the volume rocker and the microSD card slot. The volume rocker serves some interesting extra purposes across applications. For example it is used for changing the size of a web page in the web browser, which we found to be a very convenient solution.
The right side of Samsung F480 features the universal connection port and the dedicated camera key. Once again Samsung are using an all-in-one jack for charging, transferring data and connecting accessories, with all its pros and cons. The camera key is rather stiff and difficult to work with.
Two things to note at the top of Samsung F480: the lanyard eyelet and the Hold button. The Hold button is used for locking the phone to avoid unwanted presses when you're carrying it. Unwanted presses are quite unlikely anyway, as the display reacts to fingertips only and doesn't respond to presses with other objects (stylus and the like).
The centerpiece at the back of Samsung F480 is the 5 megapixel camera lens. The camera didn't quite offer the performance we were hoping for, but a 5 megapixel shooter is always worth noting. Besides, our impressions are still too raw to judge.
We are delighted with the build quality of Samsung F480. The quality materials used, the classy brushed-metal look of the back and the solid feel are well worth the cheer. There was nothing, for the little time we spent with the handset, to raise construction or durability issues. The F480 easily pulls off those high-end looks.