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Samsung Tocco Lite Overview

Posted by Dark Legion 11/01/2009 , ,

The best-selling phone in the first half of 2009 has probably been the LG Cookie. The secret to the Cookie's success is simple: it's a touchscreen phone with loads of gadgets for just £100. So now Samsung have released the Tocco Lite to go head to head against the Cookie for best budget touchscreen phone. Which phone will win in the Cookie vs Tocco Lite battle?

Well, the Tocco Lite is arriving on the scene 6 months later than the Cookie, so it should be 6 months ahead of the curve, and a clear winner. But in fact the specification is almost exactly identical to the Cookie, and the Tocco Lite is retailing at a slightly higher price, although this may fall in the weeks after launch. What then, is the point of the Tocco?

Physically, the two devices are exactly the same size, to within a millimetre! The screens are identical in type, size, colour definition and pixels. With a good size screen (3 inches) and high resolution, Samsung's TouchWiz user interface works well on the Tocco Lite. TouchWiz can now be regarded as a mature technology, and it seems to be pretty much universally popular. Mobile widgets let you customise your home screen and give easy access to apps such as the clock, weather forecast, etc. There are also widgets for popular web apps such as MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. The built-in accelerometer sensor will automatically rotate the screen when you turn the phone on its side, so you can easily switch between portrait and landscape modes. The virtual QWERTY keyboard is easy to use, and we think that you'll have no problems using the touchscreen. The addition of "real" keys for call, send and select make it even easier to use than a full touchphone. The user interface also supports handwriting recognition and gesture lock.
As we commented earlier, the spec of the Tocco Lite is virtually identical to the Cookie's. There's a 3.2 megapixel camera with digital zoom. Samsung's "Smile Shot" feature lets you take a photo when the camera thinks your subject is smiling. You can also edit your photos on the camera itself. A basic camcorder is available too. There's a music player, FM radio with RDS, and support for downloadable MP3 ringtones. Audio quality is good, with a virtual 3D surround effect, an equaliser and support for DNSe. The memory is similar to the Cookie's, and is expandable to 16GB with a microSD card. When it comes to connectivity, the Tocco Lite supports Bluetooth and USB. Like the Cookie, there's no WiFi and no 3G, which means that features like YouTube are going to be on the slow and jerky side. But remember that this is a budget phone - you can't have everything, and this seems like a reasonable compromise.

The web browser is very good, making excellent use of the large screen and with easy access to RSS feeds, Google Mail, Google Search and Google Maps. The lack of 3G does hamper the web browser though in terms of download speed.

Battery life seems to be pretty good. The Tocco Lite doesn't have the heavy duty battery of its big brothers, the Tocco or Omnia, but it has fewer gadgets to power, so it seems to be up to the job. Just don't expect it to last as long as your ancient Nokia and you'll be OK.

Taken on its own terms, the Tocco Lite is a fabulous phone. Whilst it lacks some of the features of high-end phones (3G, GPS, 8 MP camera, WiFi, etc), it does offer a lot for your money: a beautiful touchscreen user interface with 3.2 megapixel camera, stereo FM radio with RDS, accelerometer sensor, handwriting recognition and up to 16GB microSD expandable memory. It's available at launch with some fabulous contract deals: free line rental, or free gifts such as an XBOX 360, etc, and it comes in a choice of pink or black. The big question for many will be whether to choose the Tocco Lite or the LG Cookie. We have struggled to find a real reason to prefer one over the other, and frankly we can't. It seems that Samsung have made a phone so similar to the Cookie that there's virtually nothing to choose between them. But don't get the impression that we dislike the Tocco Lite - quite the reverse. It's an excellent phone offering outstanding value. Whether you choose the Tocco Lite or the Cookie you'll be getting one of the best phone bargains of 2009. On balance, our user reviews seem to be giving a slightly higher score to the Tocco Lite.

Update: a minority of users have reported a problem with the audio cutting out every few seconds, so that you can't hear the caller. As far as we can tell this happens on O2 only. Mike B has a possible fix for this problem for O2 users: Try going to Menu - Applications - O2 - Get Settings. Install the settings you are sent and reset the phone. Since I did that, and received the settings for PAYG from O2 I haven't had any problems with calls, (at least for the last 2 days). Hope it helps ! Thanks to Mike B, and if you have tried this, please write a review to let us know how it worked. Please also report this problem if you experience it on any other network. John L has an alternative fix for O2 users: go to settings, network settings and for network mode select GSM 900/1800.

Features of the Samsung Tocco Lite include:
3.2 megapixel camera with digital zoom
Video recording (QVGA 15fps)
Display: TFT, 262K colours, 240 x 400 pixels (3.0 inches)
Music player (MP3/AAC/AAC+/AAC++/WMA formats)
Stereo FM radio RDS
64-voice polyphonic ringtones / MP3 ringtones
Integrated handsfree speakerphone
Personal organiser functions
Memory: MicroSD memory card slot (up to 16GB)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 2.1, USB 2.0
WAP 2.0, GPRS Class 10, EDGE
Quadband GSM
Size: 106 x 54 x 12 mm
Weight: 94g


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