Samsung's latest flagship model promises to bring the life and "Soul" to the party, but can the company's new flagship slider deliver? We had a First Look at the new phone, the Samsung Soul, at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona, Spain.
The Samsung Soul is a 12.9mm thick full metal bodied slider design mobile phone that boasts something not seen before on a mobile phone handset. Instead of the traditional d-pad beneath the main screen, the Samsung Soul offers a second that changes depending on what you are doing with the handset.
Normally this means giving you shortcuts to the music player, the Google search function the phone has built-in, or your messages.
So, when in music mode, music related icons will light up on the navigation indicators. When in camera mode, camera related icons such as zoom and brightness will appear and so on.
The whole premise and deliverance is very much like the idea purported by the Optimus Maximus from Art.Lebedev, that it's easier to navigate buttons if the buttons change to your needs.
In practice the screen is easy to use with a delay built-in on the first set of shortcuts so you can't accidentally press them in your pocket by accident.
The changing icons did make it easy to use and saved the company having to explain what each button did on-screen elsewhere.
Of course this being a Samsung handset the screen features haptic feedback as well so you get a sensory touch whenever you press a button.
Luckily for Samsung, this touch element isn't the only reason you'll be buying the phone as the Samsung Soul boasts a 5-megapixel camera with features such as face detection and image stabiliser and offers 7.2Mbps HSDPA, where such speeds are available.
Trying to be all things to all parties, the phone also sports a decent MP3 player and following their team up with Bang & Olufsen for the Serenata, the phone also boasts a digital power amplifier by the company called ICEpower which in our brief listen sounded very good.
price dependant on contract
In our brief First Look the sound was very impressive, as were the features considering the size of the unit. It might lack Wi-Fi and a GPS unit, but it was certainly smaller than the Nokia N95 for instance.
Samsung say it has high hopes for the Soul believing it will sell in droves and those hopes will probably turn into reality.
The brushed metal design is very "now" and the intelligent buttons are cleverer than they've been given credit for in a futuristic, intuitive interface kind of way.
You could argue that the touchscreen element is merely a gimmick to make the phone stand out from the crowd, questioning why the whole screen isn't a touchscreen like other devices offered by the Korean company, but then it doesn't need to be.
Will it sell bucket loads as the company hopes? Most likely. Should you be one of those to buy it? The jury's still out, but it looks promising.
The Samsung Soul is due to be released later in the year.