Samsung S5560 preview: First look
Connectivity and browser
The connectivity options on the S5560 are interesting in that they present a problem. It relies on quad-band EDGE for over the air Internet connection. Bluetooth, and more importantly Wi-Fi, are the local connectivity options.
This gives it an advantage against the Samsung S5230 Star. Well, it did anyway - now that the S5230 Star WiFi is out, that's a moot point. Now the only thing separating the two is the 5-megapixel camera of the S5560 (plus the microUSB port and 3.5 mm audio jack, which replaced the proprietary port of the Star).
This above-average connectivity gets to flex its muscles thanks to the web browser, the same one we found (and loved) on the Star.
It's a WebKit-based web browser, an application Samsung have developed in-house. With full Flash support, kinetic scrolling and one-finger zooming it is one of the finest web browsers we have seen so far, especially on a feature phone.
We should note that the sample we used for testing had not quite final firmware and the Flash support was buggy. When we get a final version for a review, we'll be able to do more thorough tests.
We won't go into detail - the Organizer section of the S5560 is just like the one on other Samsung feature phones running TouchWiz. We just wanted to point out the highlights.
The Office document viewer for one - it's a regular feature of TouchWiz, but it's still a big deal for feature phones. Office 2007 documents are not supported (e.g. docx), however.
While we're at it, Exchange ActiveSync support is also present, which should appeal to corporate users.
And for the non white-collar crowd, there's an extensive editor for both photos and videos as well as the Communities app. It helps you upload data to content sharing sites like YouTube, Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, Picasa and a few others. It will automatically resize images and has a handy account manager.
Maybe one day we will be able to go to a manufacturer's website and configure a mobile phone with features of our choosing, much like with computers. That's still not possible but large manufacturers like Samsung offer many different models so the choice in features and designs is really fine-grained.
No, we're not saying that "Samsung S5230 Star WiFi + 2MP more = Samsung S5560". The design of the phone is more appealing. The standard microUSB port and 3.5 mm audio jack are also a big plus for the S5560.
But it's a cutthroat world out there with plenty of competition. The list of possible major competitors of the S5560 is quite long.
Perhaps one the toughest competitors will be the LG Arena - it comes with a higher res screen, 8GB of memory, LG's S-class UI and it also does Wi-Fi and GPS. Not to mention its 5 megapixel camera is capable of capturing WVGA video. Unfortunately for the S5560, the Arena is also equally priced at abouy 200 euro. We doubt it will stand a chance at this pricing point.
LG are also throwing in the LG Pop in the battle this Christmas season. It doesn't have the 5MP camera or Wi-Fi connectivity but it's positively tiny, while offering many of the same features. The Pop is shaping up to be the first touchscreen phone for a lot of people - exactly the kind of demographic the S5560 is hoping to muscle in on.
The Samsung S5600 Preston and the S5230 WiFi will also pose a challenge, especially with the inevitable drop in their price. Or maybe the Nokia 5530 XpressMusic for the smartphone features. The Samsung F480 is still around as well, getting a relaunch quite often (F480i being the most recent entry). It's a battle-tested candidate and its styling still looks fashionable - not to mention it's got a spectacularly performing camera.
And finally, there's the LG GT505, which matches the specs of the Samsung S5560, but for some extra cash throws in 3G with HSDPA and GPS with optional WisePilot Live satnav software.
There's no lack of affordable touch phones, that's for sure. The only thing that can make or break the Samsung S5560 is the price. Currently the S5560 is priced at about 70 euro more than the retail commitment-free price of Samsung S5230 Star and Samsung S3650 Corby, which is a bit high. And the lower midrange segment the battle has always been decided by the pure price-to-feature ratio more than anything else.