Samsung F480 review: Touchdown!

GSMArena team, 04 April 2008.
Pages: 1234567

Promising camera

Samsung F480 equipped with a 5 megapixel camera with a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels. It also has a LED flash, but it's rather inadequate and you shouldn't probably count on it too much.

The camera interface has been tweaked both in terms of looks and functionality with Samsung F480. We find it to be the most convenient camera interface on a touchscreen device so far. All the widely advertised features of Samsung cameraphones are here. Wide dynamic range, face detection, anti-shake, you name it. The face detection feature does not work nearly as reliably as on Samsung U900 Soul but is still performing on a good general level.

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Samsung F480 Touch UI Samsung F480 Touch UI
Camera user interface

In terms of image quality however there are white balance issues, which we are hoping will be fixed in the final version of the handset. A very strong red tint appears on the photos as a result of wrong white balance settings. We tried shooting at different settings but none of the available managed to get rid of the red tint. However fixing the white balance of a camera is the easiest software fix a company can do and we believe that Samsung will solve this problem - after all we had a beta unit for reviewing.

We are not however so certain about the other disadvantage of the camera: its speed. It takes about 5 seconds to save a picture and that is by far not the fastest time on the market. On the other hand the pictures might just be worth the wait.

The Samsung F480 image processing algorithm is quite well worked out, noise brought to a very low level without sacrificing much detail. The pictures look smooth and the dynamic range is surprisingly good for a cameraphone of this size. Highlights and/or shadow-clipping were very rarely seen, except for the red channel which was sometimes clipped but that is due to the white balance issue we mentioned. Once it is fixed, it would be safe to conclude that this is the best camera mounted on a phone of such modest dimensions and truly one of the most capable on the market.

Samsung F480 sample photos

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It is more than obvious that Samsung have improved the image quality of their cameras recently. Only a short time ago we saw the Samsung U900 Soul perform better than the N95 8GB in our impromptu shootout and now the F480 brings another pleasant surprise.

Here are the sample pictures we took with the phone so you can see for yourselves.

Bothered by the red tint? Here is then how the photos are looking after the white balance was corrected with a picture editing application. No other changes have been made. Not bad, is it?

Sample photos with corrected white balance

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The video recording capabilities of Samsung F480 aren't really spectacular. It captures videos in QVGA resolution at 30fps. This might have been a decent achievement about a year ago but now it is getting obsolete. After all, the LG Viewty is able to do 120fps in QVGA resolution. Numbers speak for themselves, don't they?

Check out a sample video captured with the Samsung F480 camera.

All but Wi-Fi

With Samsung F480 you can count on 3G with HSDPA speed and GPRS for browsing internet on the go. EDGE is also present as a handy back-up for browsing in areas where 3G network is missing.

In addition to the network connectivity options, Samsung F480 also offers seamless USB connectivity. Upon connecting, one of the three modes gets activated. You can also opt for the handset prompting you every time to select which profile should be used.

"...The web browser has two view modes. The desktop page rendering makes the pages appear as on a common desktop PC. The smart-fit mode however is an entirely different story. It makes the pages fit perfectly on the 2.8" QVGA screen and reading is greatly improved..."

Finally, there are also a memory card slot and Bluetooth support. The A2DP profile is also covered, which means that you can listen to your favorite tracks on a stereo Bluetooth handset. A notable enhancement to the Bluetooth File Browser service is the ability to make certain files or folders visible or invisible based on your needs.

The only significant connectivity feature that Samsung F480 lacks is Wi-Fi. This however is not really surprising as non-smartphones with Wi-Fi are rarer than Eskimos in the desert.

Web browser beyond expectations

Samsung F480 features a great web browser, which makes surfing a really enjoyable experience. Except for a few minor problems here and there, the browser is truly worth the praise.

The web browser has two view modes. The desktop page rendering makes the pages appear as on a common desktop PC. Its main problem is that, when reading text, you have to endlessly scroll around as it usually doesn't fit on the screen. The smart-fit mode however is an entirely different story. It makes the pages fit perfectly on the 2.8" QVGA screen and reading is greatly improved. In addition to that you can go for either fullscreen or normal mode when in web browser. The former is using the ample display even better and it did win our appreciation.

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Web browser is great Fullscreen mode

The other thing we really liked in the web browser is the usage of the volume rocker for changing page size. The sharp performance of that feature was what won our approving nods in the first place. The web browser of Samsung F480 also offers Page pilot - a nice kind of mini map that allows quick navigation of vast and elaborate web pages. Thumbs-up again for the smooth and fast performance, which is superior to most other touch-operated devices.

Finally, you can scroll around by simply sweeping a finger across the screen. The movement is however rather illogical, as the page moves in the same direction as the sweep. We prefer the Apple iPhone implementation, where the page moved in the opposite direction, as if you are actually pushing it to the side. Here is a quick video demonstrating the capabilities of the web browser.

Web browser video demo

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