Samsung Star S5230 Review
Samsung seem to have kept the tradition and the Samsung Star S5230 comes running the well known TouchWiz interface that is also available on the Preston S5600, UltraTOUCH S8300, OMNIA HD i8910 etc. Honestly, we don´t really like the whole widget thing, but it certainly has its fans out there, that´s for sure. There are three separate home screens where you can place widgets, similarly to the way it´s done on Android devices and switching between them is as easy as sliding a finger. The cool thing is if you drag a widget outside the active area, it´s moved to and appears on the next screen, plus you can set one and the same wallpaper on all three of them. There is a bunch of preloaded widgets, including ones to deliver Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and Picasa functionality that are no more than simply shortcuts to the corresponding websites, but there is one that allows you to download and install additional widgets that we find most appealing.
LG ARENA review or LG Viewty Smart Preview), because there is a vertical scroll list that shows the pictures assigned to contacts – they can be switched by sliding a finger upwards or downwards. The phonebook shows all entries on a vertical scroll list. We are pretty disappointed with the searching itself, because it feels clumsy and is, unfortunately, not performed as you type letters in. Thankfully, there is a slider on the left that filters entries by the first letter of the contact name and we believe this is the best way to find a particular contact fast.
All functions the Organizer offers should be more than enough to meet the needs of ordinary customers. You´ve got Calendar where you can enter up to 300 events, take a look at them in daily, weekly and monthly view or just see them all on a vertical scroll list. You also have Notes, Tasks, World Clock, Calculator and Unit Converter here, while Voice Recorder and Stopwatch are both available through the application menu. The My Files app that is actually a fully fledged file manager is also in the above mentioned menu.
Typing away messages (SMS, MMS and email) can be done in several entry modes. First, you´ve got the standard phone keypad of course. Second, you can activate handwriting recognition, a function we don´t really like here, since writing by using your finger feels like an uphill battle on this phone, not to mention screen fails to register pressing in its entirety, which is way too important when it comes to hassle free handwriting. Third, there is a full, software QWERTY keyboard that is only available in landscape mode and takes several minutes to get used to. The automated text entry and spell checker software kicks in anytime you misspell a word and we are pleased with its functionality indeed. We need to point out that since the screen measures only three inches, keys are not exactly large, so people with thicker fingers might find them somewhat difficult to press. The only thing we don´t like is that setting up your email account is not automatic, i.e. you will have to enter all relevant settings manually even if you happen to be on a popular service provider.
The Samsung Star S5230 comes equipped with Samsung Mobile Browser v0.8, a Webkit based application that supports both JAVA and Flash. Page rendering is fast enough, although cannot really make up for the excessively long loading of web content. You need to double tap the screen to zoom in on things, or alternatively, keep your finger pressed against the screen until context menu pops up allowing you to zoom in/out. The lack of pan view is not immediately obvious here, since most pages are loaded in bird´s view mode anyway. Despite what manufacturer claims, not all Flash elements are displayed correctly. Certain pages are visualized properly, while others fail to for no reason in particular. For an instance, the YouTube player on our webpage doesn´t work on this phone at all, while the one available on the PC version of YouTube and flash elements there are both loaded and rendered without a hitch. Another gripe we have with the browser is that text is not rearranged and squeezed together to fit the new frame size when you zoom in on something. All told, we are neither really pleased nor generally displeased with the browser. Still, we wouldn´t be caught using it often, because pages load really slowly due to the lack of 3G and Wi-Fi support. Truth be told, following up feeds feels way easier through the RSS reader that you can find in the application menu.
Local connectivity is available through Bluetooth and USB in three different modes – Media Player, PC Studio and Mass Storage. The Samsung PC Studio software pack is most interesting, since you will be getting its latest version along with the phone. It comes with a brand new interface that looks better and is, by far, much easier and intuitive to work with. That´s the ticket, Samsung!