Samsung Star: Another reason why touch-screen phones rule

MANILA, Philippines - When cellphones are named by a long series of letters and numbers there are two things that happen to me. One, I immediately think they are too hard to use and two, I wish that they had a simpler name.

Enter the Samsung S5233S. To be fair the simple name of this touch-screen beauty is Samsung Star. Now, when a cellphone is named just like the number one newspaper in the country — it means that I have to take a very close look at it from cover to cover, right?

And so I did.

For starters we all know that for now one of the best features of a cellphone is if it has a good touch-screen function. Take a look at most cellphones today and several of them boast touch-screen capability.

Why? I think that it is because most of us want to be able to control our lives (and cellphones, too) with a touch. Although life is not that simple to live, more so control (just by touching the right buttons, everything will be fixed) a cellphone is. Perhaps this is why I prefer to write about cellphones rather than life.

Samsung has in the last few years loaded the market with all sorts of cellphones (and other gadgets, too). I remember the first Samsung cellphone I reviewed was a small and really cute unit that was a cool looker.

I have followed the developments of the Samsung cellphones and have been a witness to how the company has kept pace with the more established brands in the market.

What I admire about the company is that it has a cellphone for almost any range of cellphone users. I particularly like the Omnia that was a novel development for Samsung when it was launched.

The S5233/Star is another winner from Samsung. The touch screen works really well and the cellphone has some of the cutest widgets and best composed ringtones. I love the ringtone that mimics bugs singing — matter of fact, I sometimes opt not to answer a call so that the caller will call again and I will hear the ringtone. I am that kind of cell phone user. I just love fixing my wallpaper and specially picking ringtones that make a cellphone uniquely me.

Techie time

Thee Samsung Star is loaded with a TFT resistive touch screen of 256K colors on a three-inch screen. It comes in a standard candybar form, which makes it easy to grip. It has 88MB of internal memory and a micrsoSD expandable up to 8GB. It is EDGE-capable, quadband and Bluetooth-ready.

You know it’s a Samsung if it has a large screen and three buttons at the bottom. That has become quite standard with Samsung. It is light, but not flimsy in any way. If you check the left side of the screen there are volume adjustment buttons, which double as the scroll keys. The backside is clean, except for the panel with the lens of the 3.2-megapixel camera lens and a self-portrait mirror. Why people take their own fotos with a cellphone I will never understand, but obviously Samsung does because it has that mirror that gives you a good enough glimpse of what you will look like when you shoot yourself. I liked that when I picked a wallpaper I was able to crop it just as I liked it. That makes personalizing the phone even more fun.

What’s in an interface?

The interface used for the Star is called TouchWiz, which made the Star a little brighter when looking at it in the dark. The best thing about the touch screen on this unit is that it responded almost immediately when touched. I tried to drag and drop one of the widgets on the main screen and the phone responded quickly.

I also had fun using the Gesture Lock which allowed me to unlock the phone, open an application or even dial a contact by drawing an alphabet letter on the unlocked screen. I was able to assign any letter from the alphabet to a function and when I drew the letter the phone performed the action asked.

I like that…

1. The touch screen responds quickly. Access is more intuitive than ever, allowing you to tap, drag and flick your way through the mobile’s features.

2. It is a candybar that is light and compact. So, it also a good accessory to have when you don’t want to bring around that big bag. An attached stylus pen is a good companion to the touch-screen phone.

3. A good music player. OK, I am not a big music fan but my niece said she enjoyed listening to the music she was able to download on the phone.

4. I can use it as good digital recorder. When I rush out of the house I sometimes forget my digital recorder, but I have not yet forgotten my cellphone. I had an interview, which I taped with the Samsung Star — the sound quality was good and I met my deadline for the story. Perfect.

All said, the Samsung Star is indeed a star. The little kinks that came with the Omnia touch screen have been fixed. Now, the touch screen is quite admirable. As I always say once you go touch you will stick to it. The Samsung Star is another reason why touch-screen cellphones rule.


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