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Unfortunately, Samsung's decision not to include an onscreen QWERTY keyboard in the operating system has hampered the interface. Instead, you have to always rely on the alphanumerical key pad, which is a pain when you're texting or entering web addresses. Perhaps this was a necessity because the resistive touchscreen isn't as accurate at registering finger presses as the capacitive screens found on the iPhone and HTC Hero. Certainly the touchscreen can be a little temperamental when it comes to registering user input. Most of the time it does a good job, but every now and again it just fails to register a finger press at a crucial moment and this can soon become frustrating.
Another area that's certainly not the Genio's strong point is connectivity. There's no 3G or Wi-Fi support leaving you completely reliant on GPRS or EDGE for data downloads. This means the browser can be excruciatingly slow to use and that downloads, such as music tracks, take so long that you won't bother trying again after your first attempt. Another thing that may be an issue for some is the phone's lack of GPS, although at this price you can hardly expect this feature to be included. Nevertheless, the phone's Java version of Google Maps can use triangulation to give you a rough estimate of your current location.
Price cutting is also evident in the phone's camera. As a result you get a very basic 2.0-megapixel shooter that lacks both a flash and autofocus. As you would expect, indoor shots in low light come out looking quite poor with the little detail on offer swallowed up by graininess. Outdoors in decent light it performs a little better, but let's face it, you're never going to get great results from a camera with such a low resolution.
On the plus side, battery life is pretty impressive, no doubt helped by the fact that the phone doesn't have to deal with battery-sapping 3G or Wi-Fi technology. The upshot is that you can expect to get around three and a half days worth of moderate usage from it, which isn't bad for a touchscreen phone.
Unfortunately, charging and syncing the phone with a PC is carried out via the handset's proprietary Samsung connector, so if you don't have this lead to hand you won't be able to upload new music or photos to it. Worse still, if you're left it at home before going on holiday with your mates, the likelihood of borrowing a compatible charger when the battery's flat is reduced. The sooner manufacturers standardise on micro-USB, the better we say. This port also doubles as the headphone socket. However, Samsung has been smart enough to supply the phone with a stereo headset that has a split lead so you can use your own cans with the phone without forsaking the hands-free functionality.
The Samsung Genio Touch is by no means perfect. It's disappointing that a phone that's targeted at social network users lacks 3G and it's maddening that Samsung hasn't include an onscreen QWERTY keyboard. In other areas, however, it puts in a good showing thanks to its easy to use operating system, impressive line-up of widgets and good battery life. If you're on a budget, but are interested in a touchscreen handset, it's worth checking out.
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