At 107.5 x 54.0 x 12.4 mm the Samsung S5260 Star II is a pretty compact device that you can easily slip into any pocket. It has grown a bit on its S5230 predecessor, but you won’t notice the difference unless you have the two devices side by side.
The weight of 94g is also perfectly acceptable. We can hardly think of too many occasions that it might become a burden. Then again it doesn’t make the most solid impression when you hold the phone in hand.
In terms of design alone, the Samsung S5260 Star II is not essentially different from its predecessor. The overall styling is familiar and the controls have mostly remained unchanged.
However, the finish of the Star II is undeniably superior. The lacquered surfaces give the new Star the right measure of sophistication that makes all the difference in this price range.
After all, feature phones are having a hard time competing against affordable smartphones nowadays and design is becoming increasingly important.
The 3” WQVGA capacitive touchscreen is the centerpiece of the front panel. Its brightness, contrast and color rendering are acceptable. 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 taps.
Sunlight legibility isn't among the strong points of the display, mainly because of the highly reflective coating.
Above the display, there's just the earpiece – no ambient light sensor to automatically control the brightness or a proximity sensor to lock the touchscreen during calls. Below the screen there are three hardware keys: receiver keys on the left and right and the menu button in the middle.
The three hardware controls are prominent and thumb-friendly, causing no usability issues whatsoever. On the white version of the phone, the buttons are made of transparent plastic. They look like glass on the creamy white surface of the front.
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.
Switching to the left side we come upon the volume rocker and the lanyard eyelet.
The 3.5mm audio jack and the microUSB port are found on top of the Star II. The microUSB port is sealed with a sliding cover, while the audio jack is exposed.
The bottom of the phone features nothing but 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. The Samsung Star II will also come in black in case you find white too extravagant.
Removing the back cover reveals the 1000mAh battery and the SIM compartment. Samsung still hasn’t announced the official battery stats of the Star II, but we can only commend its real life performance.
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 to a Bluetooth headset and we also browsed several web pages over the mobile internet connection. Granted, that isn’t the most intensive usage, but we doubt most owners will treat the Star II much differently.
The Samsung S5260 Star II is tall and narrow, making it comfortable to use in calls and the slightly rounded back and sides improve the feel of the phone in the hand. The controls are easy to reach and press, leaving us with very little complaints. A side-mounted memory card slot and a standard 3.5 mm jack are nice to have in an affordable phone.