Once again in the Samsung S8300 we have a few different picture galleries. Accessed from different parts of the menu they are optimized for touch operation and are decently user-friendly. The first is an inherent part of the file manager and accessing it is as simple as opening any folder that contains images.
Once you open a picture to view, you can sweep you fingers across the screen to see the next image without having to return to the image list. The sweeping is really responsive and fluid and we do like it more than we did on the Pixon. Then again, the capacitive screen might be the reason for this and not some software improvement.
The alternative to the picture gallery is PhotoBrowser. It has a dedicated icon in the main menu and is the quickest way to access you images. Sorting by face is again available, where you can name your pals and the phone automatically tags them when they appear in the photos. That's quite handy if you want to check out all the photos you have taken of a given person.
The galleries also have slideshows and a nice accelerometer-based feature. It lets you browse pictures in fullscreen landscape mode by simply tilting your phone on its side (plus, of course, you get automatic rotation of the photos by changing the device orientation).
Now this is something new with Samsung feature phones and something definitely worth checking out. The Pixon did have built-in GPS but its use was limited to geo-tagging and some Java applications, meaning no voice-guided navigation is available. The Samsung S8300 is an entirely different story as it comes with Samsung Mobile Navigator preinstalled.
The application itself is something we've seen before but its presence on a feature phone certainly is news. Using your phone for navigation is no longer only reserved for smartphones.
Samsung Mobile Navigator is in fact a regular Route66 product, so you can be quite sure that its functionality and map data is sufficient. It has voice-guided navigation and a huge number of extras, but the goodies come at extra cost.
At this stage we are not really sure yet how will the pricing of the GPS navigation be formed.
The Samsung S8300 makes use of the same camera module as the Samsung M8800 Pixon. However the engineers promise even further improvements in picture quality by enhancing the image-processing algorithm.
The handset is capable of taking photos with a maximum resolution of 3264 x 2448 pixels. The videos recorded by the S8300 can go up to VGA resolution at 30 fps, which still qualifies as pretty good even though the rumored Samsung i8910 should be able to record 720p HD video.
The camera also has a number of nice built-in features including the Samsung proprietary wide dynamic range option, the anti-shake digital image stabilization, geotagging, face detection, smile shot as well as viewfinder gridlines.
The camera interface is nicely touch-optimized and is certainly one of the most comfortable camera interfaces on a touchscreen device so far.
Unfortunately we are unable to provide you with camera samples as our unit had some issues related to its pre-release status. We will of course make up for that as soon as we acquire a more stable device.
So far so good - the Samsung S8300 UltraTOUCH a.k.a. Tocco Ultra made a great first impression on us and left us eager for more. The capacitive touchscreen OLED display is simply amazing and certainly one of the key selling points of the phone.
The 8 megapixel camera is also more than a welcome addition and even if its picture quality is on par with what M8800 Pixon offers, that will satisfy the majority of users.
The colorful and user-friendly updated TouchWiz interface is yet another great part of the S8300. Even slightly unstable and buggy as it was in our unit, it was still a joy to use and makes the phone all the sweeter.
All that being said, the lack of Wi-Fi may turn down a lot of potential users, so positioning the device in the correct price group, will be one helluva challenge. We certainly hope, Samsung we'll do fine at it.