After trying out the Samsung Star (S5233) for over a week, I must say that this entry-level full touchscreen phone from Samsung comes as a contender in that category.
The first time I powered up the phone and saw the UI, it reminded me of the Android OS. Samsung’s TouchWiz UI is fast, responsive and pretty slick.
The screen is a full 3 inches with a resolution of 240×400 pixels. The display is bright and crisp while the haptic feedback of the touchscreen can be adjusted for sensitivity (1 as subtle to 5 as shaky). This gives you the ability to choose how much response/feedback you feel whenever you touch the screen.
While using your fingers to navigate the touchscreen is quite easy, the Samsung Star comes with an aluminum stylus which is retractable to different 3 lengths (much like an umbrella stick). The stylus is primarily for handwriting recognition. There’s an option for alphanumeric, small qwerty and full qwerty as input method while the accelerometer provides automatic re-orientation of the display screen depending on the position of the phone.
The phone runs a number of standard widgets for photos, music, clock, calendar, etc. on the left side of the screen that you can drag and drop into the home screen for easy access. The home screen is also extended to 2 more screens just by swiping your finger sideways (there are 3 small dots that indicates which screen you are in). This is one feature from Android I like since it gives an impression that you have a larger virtual screen to work on (I’m tempted to call it extended desktop).
At the bottom of the screen are 3 physical buttons — two for making/dropping calls and a center button that functions as cancel/back button. While the phone is just 12mm thick, the phone feels thicker than it seems although you get a good hold of it with one hand.
The speakers in the front is loud and crisp at low volume (probably due to the DNSe) but doesn’t have enough bass. The camera at the back is 3.15MP (2048×1536 pixels) but no autofocus so captured images aren’t even decent enough to post here.
If you’re looking for connectivity options, the Samsung Star might not be for you — no WiFi, no 3G (just GPRS/EDGE), no GPS — just Bluetooth with A2DP. This is an entry-level touchscreen phone that retails for Php10,490 (some stores sell it for Php9,999).