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At first glance, the S8300 looks just like any other slider phone from Samsung. But upon closer inspection (and just by looking at the name), one would know that this new mobile puts the power to change the interface in your fingertips.


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Despite sporting a number keypad, the Ultra Touch is a very slim unit. The brush steel finish with red lining upfront gives it a classic touch. The unit’s spring-operated slider is well-built, with the keypad sliding in and out smoothly.

Right below the unit’s 2.8-inch AMOLED display, users can find the call and end keys and a diamond-shaped back button. Also up front is a VGA camera for video calls, a light sensor, and the unit’s speaker. The volume key is located on the left side of the unit while the multifunction jack (for charging and hooking up the headphone jack), hold key, and camera key are placed on the right.

The 8-megapixel camera is located at the unit’s rear and is only revealed as soon as the keypad is slid out.

The unit runs on Samsung’s TouchWiz operating system and navigating though the menus rely on touch. There are three main icons at the bottom of the screen: Keypad (which brings up a virtual keypad that allows you to dial a phone number without sliding open the unit), phonebook which brings up all your contacts, and Menu.

 


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The home screen can be personalised with widgets. Clicking the toolbar on the left side of the screen brings up all the widgets that the phone is offering. Widgets include Youtube, Facebook, Flickr, FM Tuner, Media Player, calendar, Weather, and more.

You can position the widget anywhere on the screen, with Samsung giving two whole screens (which can be scrolled up or down) for the widgets. If a user does not need the widget anymore, he/she can instantly remove it from the home screen by just dragging it back to the toolbar.

The interface is not as smooth as we want it to be, with text and number input lagging behind. Widgets needed to be ‘dragged’ in order to be in the position we want it to be.

Other features on the Ultra Touch include photo contacts, onboard GPS, Bluetooth, RSS reader, ‘Fake Call’ function, and HSDPA. The unit can also be used as a multimedia player as it can handle MP3, AMR, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, WMA audio files and D1 Mpeg4 + AMR video files. A microSD card slot next to the SIM card slot can expand the memory up to 32GB.

 


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The pictures taken from the Touch’s 8-megapixel camera were fairly average, but photos taken with the flash on were not good at all. We therefore recommend users to use this camera on well-lit places for the best possible output. The camera comes with focus mode, white balance, ISO, contrast, saturation, and sharpness adjustment, as well as options to enable effects, anti-shake, WDR (which claims to provide clear images even under backlight circumstances where intensity of illumination can vary excessively) and blink detection.

The 880mAh lithium-ion battery promises up to 4 hours of talk time and up to 300 hours of standby time, which is short for something that offers so much. Take your charger along with you at all times in case you need to charge the unit in the middle of the day.

Overall, users who are looking for a touch phone that comes with a number pad should check out the Samsung Ultra Touch. It has a lot of features that will keep you busy and is a good mobile to kick start your touch experience.

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