The Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH certainly isn't the slimmest among the touchscreen phones but the keypad and the slider design are enough to explain that. Standing at 110 x 51.5 x 12.7 mm it still feels rather pocketable, being only a tad longer (but somewhat slimmer) than most sliders. Its weight is also highly unlikely to trouble too many customers' pockets.
As we already hinted we find the design of Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH quite attractive. The black metallic frame and the rest of the seemingly high quality plastic give the phone a sophisticated and exquisite look.
As you may have spotted on the previous page, there are some design differences between the S8300 press photos and the early pre-release sample we've got. As it seems, the final version may not have any orange highlights, and the keyboard will not be black but red. There may be some other differences as well, so please take our photos with a pinch of salt.
The layout of the functional elements on the front panel is rather typical for a touchscreen operated handset. You get three buttons at the bottom - Call and End keys and a Back button that is used for going one step backwards throughout the menu. The back button is actually the rectangular one in the center, which resembles a D-pad to a great extent, but it actually isn't one - it's just a simple ley.
All the keys on the front are large and comfortable enough to use and provide nice tactile feedback.
At the top you get the earpiece, the ambient light sensor and the videocall camera. There is also a proximity sensor that is used for locking the display when holding the handset next to your ear.
The rest of the S8300 UltraTOUCH front panel is taken up by the 2.8" OLED capacitive touchscreen display. Now this is our favorite part of the handset - OLED picture quality and capacitive touchscreen (no pressing necessary - you just have to touch the display) create a great user experience for each operation. Every picture looks incredibly vibrant on the OLED display since it has simply amazing contrast.
Not long ago we predicted that OLED displays would become more and more common as their prices got lower due to their far superior picture quality. We are now more than happy to see this prediction come true. This means the future of mobile phones promises even better picture quality and longer battery life.
Okay, we might not be entirely correct about that last thing, but there will be more juice left for the GPS and other power-hungry applications on the phone.
Samsung also claim that the screen of the S8300 UltraTOUCH is scratch, reflection and smudge resistant. Now we didn't have enough time to check that first item on the list but the rest seemed as more of marketing gimmicks than actual features. The legibility under direct sunlight wasn't by any means Omnia-bad but it wasn't spectacular either. And getting the display a fingerprint mess wasn't too rare of an event.
The sensitivity of the display, as the capacitive technology suggests, is excellent. The only problem it brings is that you are unable to use any other object for pressing the screen. The so-very-90's stylus is out of the question and so is operating the phone with gloves (fingernail, pen or any other artificial object). That means there's no option for handwriting recognition, however, that's a reasonable trade-off in our books.