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If you’re obsessed with Facebook and Twitter then Samsung has you in its sights for the Monte GT-S5620. This handset is an affordable touchscreen mobile that goes heavy on the social networking features and includes widgets for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Bebo as well as support for multiple instant messaging platforms.
In terms of functionality, the Monte fits in between the likes of the youth orientated Genio Touch and the full blown smartphone goodness of the Bada-based Wave. However, in terms of design it's closer to the Genio range as like those models the chassis is made entirely from plastic. Nevertheless, it feels quite solid and the curved battery cover does make it comfortable to hold. Only the plasticky looking silver edges let the side down somewhat.
The front of the Monte is naturally dominated by the largish touchscreen but you’ll also find three buttons sitting beneath it: a centrally mounted home button flanked by two call control keys. There’s also a lock switch and camera button on the right-hand edge and a volume rocker switch on the left.
With any touchscreen phone, the display is crucial and here the Monte has a bit of a surprise up its sleeve. While we’re used to budget and mid-range phones using resistive displays, Samsung has gone for a capacitive one here. As a result, it’s very responsive to touch input with every swipe, dab and flick accurately registered. However, Samsung unfortunately hasn’t made the most of the capacitive nature of the screen as the user interface has no support for multi-touch and annoyingly it doesn’t have a full onscreen QWERTY keyboard either. Instead, you have to enter text using a virtual numerical keypad. Nevertheless, the screen is reasonably large measuring three inches diagonally and the resolution of 420 x 320 pixels is good for a phone in this price range, so text and icons look pretty sharp.
The Monte uses Samsung’s Touchwiz 2.0 Plus for its user interface. This is significantly better than previous version of Touchwiz. As with the older Touchwiz iterations you’re provide with three homescreens that you access by swiping your finger left or right across the display. However, widgets are now accessed via a small button in the top left-hand corner of the screen. This opens a window at the bottom of the display and from here you can drag the widgets onto your desktop and rearrange them as you like. There are also three shortcuts buttons across the bottom of the screen to take you to the dialler, phone book and main menu.
Touchwiz 2.0 provides a broader range of widgets to choose from than previous versions including a whole host of social networking widgets. These include Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Bebo. Naturally, there are a load of other widgets including a calendar, mini music player and FM tuner. There’s also one for the BBC’s iPlayer service. However, we couldn’t get the streaming to work as it always seemed to refuse to connect to the server. We did however manage to download complete shows and watch them offline.
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