The Samsung S5260 Star II hasn’t fallen too far from the proverbial tree – it borrows the overall design from the original Star. Still, the choice of materials and design refreshments have done the S5260 Star II a lot of good. Quite importantly, the Star II has kept its friendly size – the phone measures 107.5 x 54.0 x 12.4 mm and weighs 94g.
The S5260 Star II is not a completely new design but the original best selling recipe didn’t need more than a few better ingredients anyway: a capacitive display, a standard microUSB port and even Wi-Fi connectivity.
A facelift is also on the list of updates. The original Star wasn’t exactly a looker but it still sold in droves. The S5260 Star II has more charm to it, which is essential –touchscreen feature phones are all over the place these days. The design is very clean – the front for one is a single piece instead of a mismatched collection of materials we sometimes see in low-end phones.
The 3” WQVGA capacitive touchscreen is the centerpiece of the front panel. Its brightness, contrast and color rendering are OK though nothing special. The viewing angles are good though and the capacitive sensor is well calibrated. It responds to very light presses but it’s not overly eager to register a touch, reducing the number of accidental presses.
Sunlight legibility isn't one of the strong suits of the display, mainly because of the high reflectivity of the screen.
Above the display, there's just the earpiece - there's no ambient light sensor to adjust the brightness or a proximity sensor to automatically lock the touchscreen during calls. Below the screen there are three hardware keys - the receiver keys on the left and right and the menu button in the middle.
The three hardware controls are prominent and thumb-friendly but not particularly good-looking.
The right-hand side of the S5260 Star II features the Power/Lock key and the microSD card slot, which is covered by a plastic flap. On the left side there isn’t much to see other than the volume rocker.
The 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port are found on top of the Star II. The microUSB port is protected from dust by a sliding cover, while the audio jack is left open. The bottom of the phone has just the mouthpiece.
Our test Star II unit is white and it has a white lacquer back cover – it looks pretty good and it hides fingerprints quite well. Samsung will also offer a black one too but we guess the white one will be in the center of their marketing campaign. After all, there are bucket loads of black phones in this price segment, while white ones are few and far between.
Removing the back panel uncovers the 1000mAh battery and the SIM compartment. So far we don’t have an official battery life rating from the manufacturer, however during our test the Star II clocked in 3 days of moderate usage with GSM standby and Wi-Fi on all the time.
Update, Feb 1: We spend some more time with the Samsung Star II for a more extensive battery test and the results were impressive. From a full charge, it took almost 10 days to drain the battery. During that time, we made 50 minutes of calls, Wi-Fi was off but there was the occasional connection with a Bluetooth headset and we also browsed several web pages over the mobile internet connection.
The Samsung S5260 Star II is tall and not too wide, making it comfortable to use as a handset and the slightly rounded back and sides improve the feel of the phone in the hand. Pocketability isn't an issue.
The Star II is a simple but solidly built phone and Samsung does deserve credit for the choice of materials. The controls are easy to reach and press, leaving us with no major complaints (at its low-end price point).