Samsung Tocco Icon
The Samsung Tocco Icon GT-S5260 is an updated version of the brand's popular Tocco Lite and looks fairly similar, although it does throw a few extras into the mix - with the key update being the step up from a resistive touchscreen to a capacitive display. There is no 3G connectivity, keeping the Tocco Icon firmly in budget feature phone territory, but you do get Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to fill the void.
Measuring a svelte 107.5 x 54 x 12.4mm, the Tocco Icon weighs 94g and sports a neat candy bar design. The shiny fascia is largely dominated by the display while the silver edges and glossy back cover give the handset a premium look. However, the glossiness has a tendency to pick up greasy fingerprints far too easily so keeping a cleaning cloth on hand might be a good plan. The minimalist design allows for just three buttons underneath the screen - dial and end keys and a central menu key for launching the app menu.
On the left-hand edge of the you'll find the conveniently placed volume up and down controls, while the right-hand edge is home to the power/lock key. The top of the unit is home to a 3.5mm for plugging in a pair of headphones, alongside a port for hooking up the charger. Built-in memory is limited to a paltry 30MB, but you can can boost the memory up to 16GB by making use of the microSD card slot.
The inclusion of a capacitive touchscreen is a neat upgrade. The Tocco Icon's touchscreen is nice and responsive and although not quite up to the standards that you'd expect from a top-tier smartphone, it's one of the best we've seen on a handset in this price range.
The screen's mediocre resolution means that that video playback isn't brilliant, with images taking on a somewhat soft and grainy appearance. The colours are also rather washed out and it's almost impossible to make out any details on particularly dark areas of the screen while colours, overall, look a little washed out.
The three-screen homepage can be customised by adding widgets that you want instant access to. All you need to do is tap the widget icon in the top corner of the screen, choose your widget and drag it onto the home screen. Options include a clock and calendar and shortcuts for email, LinkedIn, and Google. You can also add up to four new panels to the three that are there already - all you need to do is tap the widget icon, rotate the phone to landscape view and press the + icons.
Running on Samsung's proprietary OS, alongside the brand's TouchWiz 3.0 UI, the Tocco Icon is fairly zippy and navigating through colourful the icon-based menus is a piece of cake. Measuring 3 inches, the TFT LCD screen is impressively large for a feature phone, although the 240 x 400 pixel resolution certainly leaves a lot to be desired. Menus screens look reasonably clear and colourful but reading the text on web pages is a bit of a trial. Web browsing is reasonable, although nowhere near as fluid as the experience you'd get with an equivalent Android smartphone. You wouldn't want to use it for accessing the Internet too much, but for checking the odd news story or fact it works well enough.
If you're into your social networks (let's face it - most of us are these days), then you'll be pleased to hear that you can check into Facebook and Twitter and there's also a Social Hub feature which collects these together in one menu with your text messages and email. However, it doesn't actually display your updates and messages together on one screen - you'll need to select each one separately to check out the latest tweets, updates and messages. That said, the Facebook and Twitter clients are easy to use and much smoother than some that we've seen on budget handsets. The phone also includes built-in IM clients from Yahoo! and Palringo.
Texting uses a conventional alphanumeric keypad, but the Tocco Icon also has an acceloremeter, so turning it on its side will bring up a QWERTY keyboard. However, even in QWERTY mode, the virtual keys are very small and we found that we hit the wrong keys frequently and had to go back and correct what we'd just typed.
Call quality is good - we found that it was easy to carry out calls, even in noisy environments, with clear sound and hardly any inteference. The handset is comfortable to hold while talking, although it's just that little bit too small to employ the old "holding between chin and shoulder" manoeuvre for handsfree operation. You're better off using speaker phone or getting a proper handsfree kit. There's also a "fake call" mode, a Samsung favourite, for when you want to scarper from a situation without appearing rude. Once activated on the settings menu, you simply hold the volume key down and a fake call will appear on your phone. If you're extra sneaky, you can even set a name and number to appear on the screen and record a voice message to make it sound as though there's actually someone on the phone.
It's easy enough to add email accounts from all of the major platforms - functionality is fairly basic, but it's certainly good enough to keep an eye out for new messages and fire off any time-senstive replies.
Cameras and entertainment
The 3.2-megapixel camera with digital zoom is a fairly basic affair, but it does just about does the job. Along with the conventional single shot mode, a smile shot function will automatically take a snap when it detects your subject smiling, while a panorama mode can be used to stich several shots together into one long image. There's no built-in flash, but there are several shooting modes, such as Sunset, Fireworks and Sports, which do a little to help image image quality in tricking shooting conditions. You can also set the white balance manually, or just leave it in auto mode. Unfortunately, there are none of the special effects that we're increasingly getting used to seeing on cameras and smartphones, so you won't be able to take your snaps in black and white or add any fancy colour filters. For remote shots, you can use the timer function, choosing between 2, 5 and 10 second delays.
Despite the relatively low megapixel count, the camera did pretty well on outdoor pictures, even during a rain shower with overcast skies, but the resulting images weren't the sharpest we've seen from a phone. That said, they were certainly good enough for uploading to Facebook or showing to pals, even if the quality isn't good enough to make it into the family album. The panorama mode was surpisingly good, stitching the pictures together seamlessly for a great panoramic shot.
The video recording is even more basic that the photo offering. Quality certainly isn't the primary concern and you won't find any high-def credentials here. Video capture is limited to a rather lame 320 x 240 resolution (at 15fps) or you can opt for 176 x 144 if you want to get more footage on the memory.
You can transfer your tunes across to the built-in music player using a microSD card, or with a Samsung charger/USB cable with the Tocco Icon supporting MP3, AAC, and WMA audio file formats. Once on the phone, tunes can be selected by artist, album, genre or playlist and the best bit is that the music player buttons are accessible on the home screen, even when it's locked, saving you the job of having to unlock the screen in order to change tracks.
As you'd expect, the on-board speaker is fairly rudimentary but it does a perfectly good job of playing back music as well as turning the handset into a speakerphone. Likewise, the audio quality is pretty good when listening through a pair of headphones. The phone also sports an FM radio and unlike some devices, the tuner is located in the phone itself, rather than in the supplied earphones. This means that you're free to swap to a different pair of headphones for radio listening if you choose or you can listen through the speaker.
You'll also find a few other features on board the phone including a stopwatch, calculator, voice recorder and dictionary, along with Google Maps which is somewhat strangely located within the games folder.
The Tocco Lite does reasonably well when it comes to power, with its 1000mAh battery offering up to 780 minutes of talk time and up to 1000 hours on standby, according to Samsung. We found that the battery lasted pretty well, even while we were tinkering with all the on-board features for hours on end.
Being a non-smartphone certainly has its advantages when it comes to price - the Tocco Icon is available from around £10 on a monthly contract and just under £50 on a PAYG, while you can pick one up SIM free for around £55.
Overall, the Samsung Tocco Icon isn't a massive step up from the Tocco Lite, but the inclusion of a capacitive touchscreen is certainly a compelling reason to buy if you liked the original phone. The compact chassis, slick design and ease of use also add to the package, while the features such as the straightforward audio player and the sneaky fake call function may appeal to some.
While the screen is large, the resolution isn't great and that combined with the fact that there's no 3G connectivity means that web browsing isn't brilliant, although it is just about usable. Likewise, the social networking offering is very basic. What you really miss out on, however, is all the fun that you'd get opting for an entry-level Android phone with much more potential.
If your budget is tight, then the Samsung Tocco Icon offers you a reasonable touchscreen experience for your cash.