Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH review: Touch, slide, shoot

GSMArena team, 28 April 2009.
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Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH, otherwise dubbed as the Tocco Ultra edition, joins in on the bandwagon of full touch handsets that seem to be occupying the upper range of the market quite successfully. Nothing can compare to the ease of use of a touchscreen phone - given the user interface is done right. And Samsung have put a lot of effort in their proprietary TouchWiz interface.

The Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH is definitely among the most exciting devices that saw daylight during this year's MWC. We took a closer look at its beta-version and were impressed but the final one is even more impressive. No-one's claiming it's perfect, but it certainly has plenty to show off about.

The handset is known under different names across the world. You may hear people calling it UltraTOUCH, Tocco Ultra Edition (or Tocco Ultra) or just the S8300. But regardless of the name it's hiding behind, there's still the same classy touchscreen slider with an alphanumeric keypad.

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Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH (a.k.a. Tocco Ultra Edition) official photos

Key features:

  • Classy touchscreen slider with an alphanumeric keypad
  • Commendable build quality
  • Quad-band GSM and 3G with HSDPA support
  • 8 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash, geo-tagging, face and smile detection, image stabilization, wide dynamic range and D1 video@30 fps
  • 2.8" 16M color AMOLED touchscreen display with 400 x 240 pixel resolution
  • Anti-scratch screen surface
  • Accelerometer for screen auto rotate
  • Proximity sensor for auto screen turn-off
  • MicroSD card slot (up to 16 GB), 1 GB included
  • Built-in GPS receiver with A-GPS support, Google Maps
  • Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP)
  • DivX/XviD video support
  • Stereo FM radio with RDS, FM recording
  • Document viewer
  • Photo Contact
  • Smart dialing

Main disadvantages

  • User interface sometimes lags
  • Slow initializing of large microSD cards
  • Limited options for third-party GPS navigation software
  • No virtual on-screen QWERTY keyboard
  • Memory card isn't hot swappable
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Battery cover gets scratched easily

It's been a year since the announcement of the first device of this kind, the LG KF700. The Samsung S8300 takes over where the KF700 left off and attempts a huge leap forward. Just like the LG phone, the S8300 UltraTOUCH is a slick touchscreen slider with an alphanumeric keypad allowing users to experience the joy of having a touchscreen-equipped device without giving up the comfort of the traditional alphanumeric keypad. Usability-wise, there is hardly any replacement for hardware keys for typing text.

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Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH in the comfort of our office

It's not the first time you'll hear us saying how great it is to use a capacitive touchscreen, but heavy typing is the touchscreen's greatest enemy and it can be a frustrating experience trying to knock out a long SMS or email using the onscreen keyboard. And this is where the alphanumeric keypad really comes into its own.

The Tocco Ultra packs a powerful 8-megapixel snapper, Bluetooth support, GPS receiver with A-GPS, you name it. The only thing that seems to be missing (considering the price tag) is Wi-Fi support.

So without further ado, the Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH is in for a proper hardware inspection. Join us on the next page as we go through our checklist.

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