As we already mentioned, a camera with features like the one of Samsung F480 simply cannot go unnoticed. The camera interface has been altered in both looks and functionality. We find it to be the most convenient camera interface on a touchscreen device so far.
All the widely advertised features on Samsung cameraphones are all here. Wide dynamic range, face detection, anti-shake, you name it. The face detection feature does not work nearly as smoothly as on Samsung U900 Soul but it's still good enough.
Image quality is however somewhat of a letdown, at least as much as we are able to tell at this stage. A very strong red tint appears on the photos as a result of wrong white balance settings. We tried shooting at different white balance settings but none of the available options managed to get rid of the red tint. We are however quite sure that this will be fixed in the retail version of the handset as there is nothing easier than that. Another disadvantage of the camera is that it is on the slow side, taking about 5 seconds to save a picture. Here are some samples for a taster of the image quality the Samsung F480 manages to achieve.
On the positive side the image processing is quite nice and the noise levels are very low on most occasions. The dynamic range is also decent and highlights and/or shadow-clipping is rather rare to be seen. All in all we are safe to conclude that this is the best camera mounted on a phone with such modest dimensions. Here is how the two photos look when we corrected the white balance with a photo editing application. We also downsampled them to 1024 x 768 pixel to show how they would normally look on your desktop pc. No other changes have been made.
Samsung F480 sample photos with corrected white balance
We picked the web browser as the last Samsung F480 feature to highlight in this preview. It did impress us and we feel a pat on the shoulder is more than well deserved.
The web browser offers full screen and normal modes, as well as two view modes. The desktop page rendering makes the pages appear as on a common desktop PC. Its main problem is that, when reading text, you have to endlessly scroll around as it usually doesn't fit on the screen. The smart-fit mode however is an entirely different story. It makes the pages fit perfectly on the 2.8" QVGA screen and reading is vastly improved.
Samsung F480 features a great web browser
The other thing we really appreciated in the web browser is the usage of the volume rocker for changing page size. The sharp performance of that feature was what won our approving nods in the first place. The web browser of Samsung F480 also offers Page pilot - a nice kind of mini map that allows quick navigation of large and elaborate websites. Thumbs-up again for the smooth and fast performance, which is superior to most other touch-operated devices.
Finally, you can scroll around by simply sweeping a finger across the screen. The movement is however rather illogical, as the page moves in the same direction as the sweep. We did prefer Apple's implementation, where the page moved in the opposite direction, as if you are actually pushing it to the side.
Web broser demo video
Once again after the MWC, Samsung F480 did manage a good impression effortlessly. It is bound to give the Samsung Armani a good run for its money. We'd go even further and say there's little to stop the F480 from cannibalizing its haute couture parent. The Samsung F490 should also feel threatened, as its larger size (and by no means superior functionality) may be a good enough deal-breaker.
Samsung F480 may not have the best camera around, but smooth handling and fun-to-use can be even more important than that. Sleek looks are essential too and the F480 has nothing to fear in that department. It also has the usability and customization opportunities to keep your interest for a long time.
At this stage we suffice to say that we prefer Samsung F480 to both F490 and the Armani. We are yet to see how well it will fare against the rest of the competition but odds are it has every chance of becoming one of the most successful Samsung models.
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