Samsung UltraTOUCH S8300 Review
Initially announced at the MWC event this year, the Samsung UltraTOUCH S8300 (also known as the Tocco Ultra Edition) is the manufacturer’s latest flagship model. Despite numerous phones were showcased at the expo, the UltraTOUCH definitely managed to attract much attention. Being an Ultra series phone, it brings along many of the advantages of other, more narrowly specialized devices in a nice and good-looking body, making it appealing to the common consumer. It combines several key features. First off, the Samsung UltraTOUCH sports a 2.8-inch touch-sensitive display which allows it to take advantage of the TouchWiz user interface and a rich number of widgets, automatically turning it into an adequate, modern device. On the other hand, it is also equipped with an up-to-date 8-megapixel camera. You would say it is a high-end camera phone?! Not exactly. In addition, it has a slim and attractive body with a numeric keypad, designed to turn heads from the ground up. Still, its various features and capabilities prevent us from referring to it as just a fashion accessory. So what exactly is the UltraTOUCH? As we mentioned in our preview - it is a multifunctional, all-purpose, high-end device, designed to satisfy the needs of a widest range of choosey users, while still being a phone in the first place.
The Samsung UltraTOUCH S8300 is the successor of the Soul, but in contrast to it, the navigation touch display is no longer present, which allows more space for a larger, 2.8-inch touch-sensitive screen. The manufacturer has incorporated the AMOLED technology, which provides an incredible image quality when indoors, in spite of the not-so-high WQVGA resolution. The colors are vivid and the contrast is high. Once you step into the open however, “incredible” is no longer a valid adjective for what you see on the screen, but you will still be able to use it. There are only three buttons below it – send, end and the unique-looking back button, which introduces a new rhomb-like shape with a metal frame.
You can compare the Samsung UltraTOUCH S8300 with many other phones using ourSize Visualization Tool.
numeric keypad. As a whole, the keys are large enough, but what we really find appealing is the striking red color solution. This is definitely one of the UltraTOUCH’s strong sides. The keys are small, but pressing them feels pleasant. Like it or not, the keypad is flat, so distinguishing the keys by touch is not a piece of cake. Also have in mind that the first row of the keypad is too close to the front body, so your finger will often inconveniently press against the edge. In addition, the weight of the device isn’t very well balanced, so typing doesn´t come in very handy.
Other features include a loudspeaker and camera for video conversations, both positioned above the display. The left side houses only the volume rocker, while the camera shutter, the hold key and the microUSB port (fortunately, there is one) are on the right. These also feel really good to use and should not give you any trouble.
Turning the phone turtle reveals a simple design, with only the Samsung logo standing out against the black housing. Opening the slide provides a bit more flare; the 8 megapixel camera shows up on a vivid red finish, geared with a dual LED flash and a tiny self-portrait mirror.
As a whole, the phone looks good enough and due to its cool red elements you cannot take it for any other device. We aren’t fully convinced, however, that the slider is handy enough to use as it lacks the protruding edge (unlike the Soul) allowing you to flick it open and closed more easily. On the other hand, the Samsung UltraTOUCH S8300 has been designed with touchscreen use in mind, so you won’t need to open it too often anyway. Although using the screen feels acceptable, it could´ve been better. It gives nice vibration feedback and is accurate enough, but keep in mind that gets messy the second you start using it. In addition, scrolling feels like a real pain. No matter where and what you are scrolling in, the home screen or any submenu, the phone simply reacts inadequately. We think this is a drawback of the TouchWiz interface itself, but more on this on the next page.