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Samsung Star II (S5260): first look

Star was a real breakthrough for Samsung and according to its press release the company sold 30 million items.

Think about this staggering amount. Many Star owners had never tried a touchscreen model before, because it was the first accessible phone without a traditional keypad.

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You can choose not only the color, but a WiFi or Star TV version as well.

Review of Samsung Star TV (S5233TV)

The official unveiling of the new Star took place recently and I would like you to give a first look at the phone. Full review will be published soon.

Dimensions of Star II (107.5 х 54 х 12.4 mm) coincide with those of the original model. The battery cover was changed due to the absence of mirror for self portraits (I have been campaigning against this obsolete element for ages). Soft plastic has openings above the speaker. The phone is likely to be offered in several colors. I tested the white sample of Star II. To be more precise white is complemented by the grey side. Chrome like elements decorate the body and the central key. The build is good without any squeaking or looseness. You don't need extra efforts to take the battery cover out.

The location of slots has been changed a bit. Luckily, a microSD (of up to 16 GB) card slot is on the body itself protected by the cap. Now you don't have to take the cover out. The top features a standard 3.5 mm headphones jack, while the movable cap hides a microUSB jack. A standard jack is a good thing to use any headphones. I am not sure that in the box you will find anything impressive.

I cannot label this handset as a budget one. Keys are located conveniently, while under the screen we have a traditional lineup of start call, end call and Menu keys. In a car you can easily answer a call without pressing a screen or activate calls menu by pressing a "green" key. These hardware controls are quite handy in comparison with purely sensor models.

A 3″ screen with the resolution of 240 х 400 offers the only positive feeling due to high brightness level. Viewing angles are decent, but people who decide to watch movies on Start II must be very brave.

A 3.2 MP camera records video, but is not equipped with autofocus, so pictures come out in a weird way.

In terms of wireless connection Star II can even beat more sophisticated devices. We receive the support of Bluetooth 3.0 and Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n). Bluetooth data transfer speed will please those who like to share music and pictures. My phone easily connected to hotspots to use social networks, check mail and so on. When I tested the browser it was impossible to open the review from our website and the phone cited the lack of memory.

When you press a central key you see open apps and can quickly move to the one you need or close any of them. Accessible touchscreen models will be popular in 2011. Another tendency is the access to social networks from mobile devices. In Star II these two tendencies come to the fore. Social Hub is a useful application for that and you can read about it in the review of Samsung Wave.

Samsung Wave (S8500) GSM/UMTS Phone Review

Here everything works in a similar way. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Gtalk clients have been already preinstalled. You can also use ICQ. Mail is also coordinated by Social Hub. Interestingly, when you receive new mail Email and Social Hub icons in the main menu display a number of unread messages. In settings you can also activate an adaptive menu to put frequently used apps at the top of respective lists.

A TouchWiz interface gives access to widgets. To my mind there is no change here. We have a typical set of mini applications with the dock at the bottom to select new and hide unpopular widgets.

In the press release you can read the following: "QuickType created by T9 Trace offers fast and simple text input. Users can move a finger on keypad, while our technology detects the word you are entering. QuickType boosts the speed of input several times in comparison with traditional options". Only English is supported, but I liked the approach. You can easily get accustomed, but the screen does not appreciate mistakes and you have to press the correct area.

Sound quality is average and the speaker seemed to be weak. With the headphones on the sound quality is B-, while the radio requires a headset. The player features an array of settings, for example, you can send a track in a text message, e-mail, Bluetooth or use for a ringtone, alarm, a contact or SMS signal. "Find Similar" service recognizes music. When the screen is blocked you can still control the player similarly to Samsung Wave. Drag out a small menu to see the track cover and controls.

All these instances are not typical of a budget model. The menu is logical and convenient resembling Bada devices. The model benefits from WiFi, Bluetooth 3.0, social networks clients, standard 3.5 mm and microUSB jacks together with a useful text input method. The key point is a price and timing. The model is likely to appear in February at the price of €125. I think that Star II is a logical continuation of the original and successful model.

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Sergei Kuzmin (skuzmin@mobile-review.com)
Twitter    Livejournal
Translated by Maxim Antonenko (maxantonenko@ukr.net)

Published — 19 January 2011

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