Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH review: Touch, slide, shoot
Connectivity lacks Wi-Fi
The Samsung S8300 is a globetrotter with its quad-band GSM support, although the 3G coverage is not global - it supports just the 900/2100 bands. The phone supports HSDPA up to 7.2Mbps and EDGE for whenever there's no 3G coverage.
Bluetooth is also present and comes with A2DP, which is as to be expected on such a high-end phone.
The microUSB slot is also quite welcome and it's a lot more popular than the proprietary slot the Samsung M8800 Pixon came with. You can set up the phone to connect in mass storage mode or PC suite mode (or Media player) or to prompt each time it's connected to the computer.
In mass storage mode it gives access to the memory card but not to the internal memory and you cannot use the phone while in this mode. Annoyingly, with S8300 it would often be impossible to access the memory card for a couple of minutes after connecting in mass storage mode.
The web browser is very good and pages are easy to navigate thanks to the touchscreen. However, a major omission is WiFi, something that would have enabled the S8300 to stand its ground against most other touch phones. Instead, you have to settle for internet over 3G.
Web browser has Flash
The Samsung S8300, much like the Samsung Pixon, features a great web browser - NetFront 3.5, which makes web surfing a really enjoyable experience. Except for a few minor problems here and there, the browser is truly worth the praise, and an added bonus is that is also packs basic Flash support (without video).
The web browser renders pages well in both portrait and landscape modes. The browser switches between both modes seamlessly when you rotate the handset to and from the landscape position. The available fullscreen mode coupled with a little zooming makes the most of the 2.8" WQVGA display.
You can zoom in and out using the volume keys, which is quite handy. Even at minimum zoom text remains readable enough for you to find what you're looking for and it fits most web pages in landscape mode. Zooming in and out is quite fast.
Finally, you can scroll around by simply sweeping a finger across the screen. The actual scrolling action is very sluggish and is perhaps the only downside in the browsing experience if we don't count the lack of tabbed browsing.
Organizer has it all
The Samsung S8300 has a number of useful time-managing applications.
For starters, the calendar offers three views - daily, weekly and monthly. You can choose which calendar view should be default and you can pick the starting day of the week - the options are Monday or Sunday. However, with the Samsung S8300 there is only a single type of event available in the calendar. You can set the starting date and time of the event and set an alarm to act as a reminder.
The alarm is quite customizable. You can set up to 10 alarms, each with the following configurable options - custom ringtone, volume, repetition days and name.
The calculator of the Samsung S8300 is very basic. Among the other organizer offerings are a voice recorder, a world time application and a unit converter. The voice recorder can record up to 60 minutes. For sporty types, a countdown timer and a stopwatch might come in useful.
There are also to-do and memo applications for taking down tasks and notes. You can also use the memo widget to place a memo on the homescreen where you're unlikely to forget it. The widget and the application are separate so don't expect your memos to automatically pop up on screen. Oh, and there's a to-do widget as well.
The Video editor also deserves a mention. It features both a video and an audio track, but while you can add multiple videos to the video track, you can only add one audio file. It can import video files up to QVGA resolution and there's the option to edit them - trimming, splitting or inserting text. It's a shame there's a resolution limit since the phone can shoot awesome VGA fast-motion videos. You can even use photos instead of videos - you just set the time period for them to be on the screen (from 1 to 30 seconds).
Finally, the Samsung S8300 comes with an office document viewer that supports Word, Excel, Powerpoint and PDF files. It's an application produced by Access and is one of the nicest additions to the software package.
The documents viewer is quick enough when opening files; however, panning is rather slow. The document viewer also works in landscape mode (rotating the screen automatically), which makes reading a little easier.