Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Samsung Tocco Lite S5230

Smart phones come in many different forms and whilst our last review was of the superb Blackberry Storm 2, this time round we thought we'd take a look at a budget smart phone so we've chosen the Samsung Tocco Lite S5230
 We first became aware of the Tocco Lite when a work colleague got one on contract, he absolutely hated it and within a few weeks he'd sold it and gone back to using his old nokia phone with his new contract provider. Whilst looking round Ebay for a good deal on a Tocco Lite it became apparent that some people just couldn't get on with this phone whilst others raved about it. We wanted to know just what it was that had people so divided about the Tocco Lite so we bought one to try!.

The Samsung Tocco Lite S5230 Mobile Phone

 The Tocco Lite we bought was silver in colour, brand new in the box and locked to Vodafone. As we already had a Vodafone PAYG Simcard left over from our Blackberry review it was easier to use the remaining credit on that than it was to top up a new simcard so we kept the new simcard and used our old one instead. Our first impression of the phone was that Samsung had a bit of a winner at the budget end of the smart phone market. The Tocco Lite is a really nice phone, it has a nice touch screen with a 3 inch display, a 3.2 megapixel camera with face recognition and video capture, an mp3 player and a great web browser!. I'm not really sure what else you could want in a mobile phone!.

Tocco Lite S5230 Navigation Menu is very easy to use!

 As usual we look for ease of use and I think this is where some people fall out with the Tocco Lite, specially if they are switching from a more 'standard' mobile phone like a Nokia. The touch screen menu's on the Tocco Lite can be a little tricky to come to terms with. We found the key to using the Tocco Lite was to simply use it as you would the mouse pad on a laptop. The phones menu's are easy enough to navigate and you can be adding numbers to a phone book or taking picture or video in seconds. What's not so easy is the side menu. You can actually pull out the side menu and scroll down it just like you can on an I-Phone 3GS and from this side menu you can easily access the internet, launch your mp3 player or any other application you choose to have on your phone. You can also 'drag and drop' these apps onto the phones desktop which is why we suggest treating it as you would a mouse pad on a laptop. Once you get over this and get into it, the Tocco Lite becomes a cracking little phone!.

Samsung Tocco Lite showing side menu

As with most mobile phones these days, the Samsung Tocco Lite has some nice little features, there is a conveniently placed lock on the side of the phone, very useful if the phone is going to be in your pocket for any length of time!. The camera has a mirror right under the lens so when taking pictures of yourself, you don't have to guess anymore!.
 Phone calls and the phone book are really easy to access once you've mastered the touch screen and internet browsing is far far easier than on a standard mobile phone. Tilting the Tocco Lite sideways gives a much better view of internet pages and the touch screen keyboard is great for typing, far far better than using standard mobile phone keys.
 As with every mobile phone, if you want to use the music player you have to expand the memory and the Samsung Tocco Lite has a micro sd slot located underneath the simcard, it's easy to plug in a Micro SD Card and once you have, you can store a lot more music and pictures than you can with the standard memory. With a headset and an extra memory card we doubt you would need an Ipod!.

Samsung Tocco Lite, a Micro SD Card fits under the Sim

 Battery strength on the Tocco Lite is good, one charge generally lasts several days under regular use and spare batteries are cheap enough if you don't buy them from the local mobile phone shop. The same goes for a protective leather case to keep your phone in good condition, we picked up a nice Leather Case off Ebay for £1.85, this was from a UK seller and it was postage free!, for that price the leather case is well worth having!.

Samsung Tocco Lite S5230, protect it with a Leather Case!

 Moving music and pictures onto and a Tocco Lite is easy enough with the use of a data cable and of course you have the advantage of being able to charge your phone this way too. We did find the Samsung software a little difficult to use at first but like most software packages, a little familiarity goes a long way and spending some time working things out will make life a lot easier.

Samsung Tocco Lite S5230 Internet Browser

 In conclusion, although some people find the Samsung Tocco Lite S5230 difficult to use but we think this is nonsense. Once mastered, the Tocco Lite actually becomes a fantastic mobile phone with a lot of features you'd expect to find on a top of the range smart phone. We probably use mobile phones more for mobile internet these days and the Tocco Lite is excellent for this, so much so that it's now taken over the Nokia N95 as our standard take anywhere mobile phone. If you are looking for a cheap and feature packed phone, this Samsung phone is a cracker!.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Nokia N95

This particular Nokia N95 is a 2 gigabyte model that's locked to orange. It's an unwanted contract upgrade that we managed to pick up cheap off Ebay. We've been reviewing this model using an Orange Dolphin pay as you go simcard which gave us 300 free texts per month and free access to facebook and myspace for a £10 top up, it also now gives 50 megabytes of free internet access after orange recently changed the dolphin package.
The Nokia N95 mobile phone complete with krusell case
The first thing we did before reviewing this phone was buy an 8 Gig Micro SD Card for it, after all, buying a 2 gigabyte N95 and adding a bigger memory card is actually a lot cheaper than buying an 8 gigabyte N95 outright!.
We don't know about you, but when we use a mobile phone we like functions to be easily accessible and the Nokia N95 is certainly easy to use. The menu's are located down the left hand side of the phone and without even sliding the phone open you can easily access a lot of functions. You can see appointments and set your alarm, access your contacts, view your call history, missed calls, received calls and dialed numbers etc. You can also access your text messages and start your internet browsing from this easy to access menu too.
Nokia N95, A nice easy access menu
We found this easy access menu very good and very easy to use, it quickly became the way we accessed text messages and the internet and we think it's a massive thumbs up because we didn't have to waste any time looking through menus to get at what we wanted.
Looking a bit deeper, the Nokia N95 is a feature packed mobile phone, once you get past the quick menu there is a vast amount to this superb mobile phone. 8 gig of storage is a massive amount, we managed to get our whole mp3 collection into this phone once we changed the micro sd card!. Not only that, there was still plenty of room for storing photographs.
Mentioning photographs brings us nicely to the phones camera. Very few phones around have a 5 megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens!. The pictures it gives are superb, easily as good as most digital cameras. Although you can access the camera by going through the phones menu's, you can also just open up the lens, this causes the phone to jump straight into camera mode and from here you can either take a quick picture or change to video mode and do a bit of filming, in keeping with easy access, we thought having the lens cover as a camera activation switch was a really nice touch from Nokia. There is also a camera lens on the front of the camera, its not as good quality as the main camera and you have to go through the menu's to access it but it is ideal for taking pictures of yourself and for anything that you might want to send by mms messaging.
Camera side of the N95, just open the lens and you're ready!
The Nokia N95 menus are easily accessed from two buttons either side of the numeric keypad, the button on the right is the multimedia key and this gives access to the camera, music player, fm radio, picture gallery, internet, maps and the video centre. We didn't bother with the life blog but looking at the rest, there is a fantastic choice of multimedia available on this mobile phone, the music player is great with 8 gigs of memory behind it, once you're into the music player there are options for both shuffle and repeat so you can happily listen to a favorite track or just pick a track randomly, it's a bit like having your Ipod in your phone!. Another nice touch from nokia is the reverse slide, most phones open one way but the N95 slides both ways and simply sliding the phone the other way gives access to the music player which again is a great shortcut to get to what you want fast.
Reverse slide reveals keys for the music player
The only multimedia device we had any disappointment with was the fm radio and that was because you need to use it with Headphones as they also act as the arial. When it comes down to it, this is only a minor gripe and it certainly doesn't spoil what is an excellent multimedia package the N95 has.
Nokia N95 multimedia menu
The other key is the menu key. This gives you access to just about everything this phone has, mobile phone settings, Ringtones, downloads, apps, gallery, music player, contacts, calendar, office tools, internet and everything else you can think of.
When it comes to internet browsing we found the N95 to be quite good as far as mobile phones go. Obviously you can't expect a lot with such a small screen but navigating web pages wasn't too bad and our orange internet access was very good. We wanted to see if orange internet was any good so we used the n95's tools menu to activate the wireless lan and tried surfing via a 10 meg home connection, I'm pleased to say that orange world was equally as good so internet on the move with your N95 should be excellent. Also in the tools menu we tried the bluetooth. Here at 3G Mobile Phones we like bluetooth, it's very handy for transferring big files from phone to phone and more importantly it doesn't cost anything!. We had no trouble adding music files and ringtones via the bluetooth, both from another mobile phone and via the Bluetooth Dongle we have plugged into our pc. A word of warning though, bluetooth can be a back door into your phone so we only switch ours on when we are transferring files, the rest of the time it's switched off and this is easily done on the N95 via the menu>tools>bluetooth pathway. The N95 has a massive amount of indicators on the screen, everything from battery power to unread messages and just about everything in between. As well as indicators for wireless lan, there is also one for bluetooth so it's easy to check at a glance if it's on or off.
N95 main menu, from here you can access everything!
The Nokia N95 is an outstanding mobile phone, there are just so many features on this phone it would be difficult to highlight them all. So far we haven't mentioned infa red, maps, gps receiver, voice dialing, video calling, voice and text notes as part of office, voice commands, barcode reader and applications (apps) that can be installed. These features can all be accessed via the menu key!. This phone is simply amazing and it deserves all the plaudits it gets, it is one of the best mobile phone handsets on the market and that's a big compliment given that it's already a few years old. The fact that it's still up there speaks volumes considering how fast technology changes!.
We added a few bits and pieces to the Nokia N95, first off was the 8 Gig Micro SD Card, having the extra memory was great when it came to storing music, photographs, extra ringtones and video, an 8 gig micro sd card is well worth investing in if you have the 2 gig version of the N95.
Krusell Designer Leather Case. There's nothing worse than a scratched mobile phone!. We spend a fortune on our phones then don't bother protecting them!. One of the best things we bought for our N95 was a Krusell designer leather case. This case wraps around the N95 longways and has a clear screen at the front so you can easily see if you have any messages at a glance. This leather case has kept our N95 in tip top condition and when we resell it on ebay, we actually expect to make a profit on it such is the condition it's in and the bargain price we got it for in the first place!.
Spare Battery. Sometimes it's not possible to recharge your phone, yes there are car chargers and windup chargers out there but our answer to being away for a few days was to buy an extra battery!.
Spare battery for the Nokia N95, bought cheap off Ebay.
That's about if for the Nokia N95, if we had to sum up this mobile phone quickly we would say superb!, get one because they are well worth it.

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