By July 15, 2008

Samsung F480 Tocco Review

The F480 Tocco is another high-end touchscreen phone from Samsung following in the footsteps of the Armani and the F490 Nerva. It looks like every mobile phone manufacturer wants to have touchscreen devices in its arsenal and I wonder how much this has to do with the success of the iPhone and the HTC Touch.

Samsung F480 Tocco Review

Samsung F480

Samsung F480 (Tocco) Specification:

  • Size: 98.4 x 55 x 11.6 mm
  • Weight: 100 grams
  • Camera:  5 MP, 2592?1944 pixels, autofocus, video(QVGA), flash
  • Battery life: 250 hours standby & 3 hours talk time
  • Display size: 240 x 320 pixels, 2.8 inches touchscreen
  • OS: Custom flash UI on S60 OS
  • Bluetooth: 2.0 with A2DP
  • Memory: 240MB shared memory & MicroSDHC
  • Networks: GSM 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps
  • FM radio with RDS
  • MP3/AAC/AAC+ player
  • AC Charger: Output 9VDC, 2.5A

 

What’s in the box?

  • The Samsung F480 handset
  • Battery
  • Mains Charger
  • Case
  • Handsfree wired headset
  • USB Data Cable
  • CD-ROM
  • User’s Guide

 

GENERAL

The Samsung F480 Tocco is a lightweight, slim and attractive looking device. On the front we have a 2.8″ TFT display which sits flush within a metal surround. There’s a front-facing VGA camera for video conferencing and a few basic controls under the screen.

Looking to the left hand side of the unit we can see an up-down rocker button for in-call volume control as well as scroll control when browsing web pages for example. Below that a hinged plastic cover hides the MicroSDHC memory card slot.

Samsung F480 left side

Samsung F480 left side

 

On the other side of the unit there’s a similar plastic cover sitting over the proprietary connector used for charging, connecting a set of headphones (supplied) and for connecting to a PC via USB. Also on the right is a camera button used to launch the camera app. and for actually taking a photo. Directly beneath that are a couple of holes used to attach phone charms or lanyards.

Samsung F480 right side

Samsung F480 right side

 

Flipping the F480 over reveals an attractive brushed metal back and the 5 mega pixel camera complete with flash. Looking at the back of the F480 you could easily be forgiven for thinking that it was digital camera rather than a mobile phone.

Samsung F480 back & camera

Samsung F480 back & camera

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 5.0MP camera
  • FM Radio with RDS
  • Classy looks
  • Thin & light

LOWLIGHTS

  • Screen attracts dirt and fingerprints
  • No on-screen keyboard
  • No WiFi
  • Tri-band only

 

 

REVIEW

I first saw the Samsung F480 Tocco a few weeks ago when I called in at a local phone store. Initially I thought is must be a new Windows Mobile device that I hadn’t seen before (unlikely :P) as I thought it rather unusual for a ‘non-smartphone’ to be almost completely touchscreen. Returning back to the office I decided to drop Samsung a line to see if I could review one.

First impressions of the F480 is that it’s a classy looking phone. The front is clean and understated with just a few push button controls housed in a shiny case. Turning the phone over the metal casing is obvious which makes the phone both look and feel robust.

The supplied leather case should help to maintain its good looks. However, you’ll soon discover that the F480 is a total fingerprint magnet that will have you rubbing the screen on your shirt each time you finish a call having held the glossy screen to your ear! The other drawback of having such a shiny screen is the performance in bright lighting conditions, especially direct sunlight. It’s virtually impossible to use the F480 under these conditions and it has you looking for shade each time you attempt to make a call.

The touchscreen works very well and is quite sensitive to even a soft touch, not quite as good as the iPhone but certainly better than many other touchscreen devices that I’ve used in the past.

The user interface is also a pleasure to use and the main menu is set out as a series of 12 icons. Each of the sub-menus appear in list form and the last used item in each of the lists is highlighted as the default when you open up the menu. This sounds like a reasonable thing to do but actually becomes a bit of a pain, I’d like to be able to turn this feature off but sadly that doesn’t seem to be possible.

It’s been a long time since I used a phone with a numeric pad and as a consequence I find texting and emailing with a numeric pad a bit of a chore. The F480 doesn’t have an on-screen QWERTY keyboard which would be ideal for texting and emailing. I guess T9 is something that you will either love or hate but it would be nice to have the option of both included.

The Samsung F80 Tocco

The Samsung F480 Tocco

 

The 5 mega pixel camera on the F480 Tocco is quite pleasing. It includes autofocus, digital zoom, LED flash and also a funky new feature called “Smile Shot”. This is similar to the face and smile detection being incorporated in to many mainstream digital cameras and is supposed to be able to tell when your subject smiles and snap a photo at precisely the right moment! This isn’t something that I was able to get working quite right but I suspect that it may depend on the subject and the environment as to how effective this is. That said, the F480 is able to take fairly decent pictures but as I have stated before, camera phones are no substitute for proper purpose-built digital cameras and this one is no different. It is among the best I’ve seen though.

As a music player the F480 performs quite well. There isn’t a vast amount of free memory available on the device as standard, 240MB wont go very far but it will allow you to get a few MP3 files on to start you off. Fortunately you can add up to 8GB of additional storage memory thanks to the microSDHC compatible memory card support. When you do finally run out of music there’s always a built in FM radio, with RDS support, to give you something to listen to.

The media player application is decent and easy to get to grips with.

The application offering the greatest surprise is the built in web browser. To be honest I was expecting this to be basic at best but I have to say that it puts many other mobile web browsers, even the mainstream Pocket IE in smartphone, to shame. The best of the viewing modes for web pages is the smart-fit mode where pages are rendered neatly on the screen and can be read without having to scroll left and right.

There is another disappointment here though as it is NOT possible to rotate the screen and display webpages landscape on the device. Again I would have thought this logical and easy for Samsung to achieve but this feature is sadly missing.

The F480 is quite well connected and, where you have coverage, the HSDPA connection is extremely fast. Bit of a shame that the radio is only tri-band but this wouldn’t bother me too much. Music is transferred to the device via a USB cable connected to a PC. Transfer rates are high thanks to the USB 2.0 support.

The lack of WiFi is also a bit of a shame and something that I particularly missed especially coming from a Windows Mobile background where WiFi is normally standard. With the excellent web browser I think that the F480 would really benefit from WiFi support.

 

f480_angled_right

 

CONCLUSION

The Samsung F480 Tocco really surprised me. I thought that the beauty of the device would only be skin-deep but there are plenty of other bits on the inside to get the gadget freaks excited.

Cameraphone fans will love the 5 MP camera and those just wanting a cool looking phone that fit easily in their pocket will find this phone easily fits the bill and then offers so much more besides.

If only the F480 had Exchange email support then it’s be a phone that more business types could enjoy.

The F480 is a great all rounder offering Music, Video, Email, Web browser and Camera in one neat package.

 

Posted by: Matt

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About the Author:

More than 20 years in the IT industry. Blogging with a passion and thirst for new technology since 2005.
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