Not everyone can afford a handset as expensive as the iPhone, HTC Hero or Palm Pre. Manufacturers like LG and Samsung are well aware of this and have created a range of much cheaper touchscreen mobiles, like the S5600, to fill this gap. The S5600 can be seen as an evolution of the Tocco Lite, but whereas the Lite was hampered by slower EDGE data speeds, this new model supports HSDPA so it’s much speedier when it comes to downloading music tracks or viewing webpages.
The S5600 certainly provides evidence that cheap doesn’t have to mean ugly, as Samsung has done a stellar job on this phone’s styling. Measuring 103 x 55 x 13mm, the handset is quite small and as it’s nicely curved on the rear it sits comfortably in your hand. The glossy, piano black finish may be a demon for attracting finger prints, but it still manages to look quite tasty and is nicely offset by the graphite effect used on the two call handling buttons at the bottom the screen. Despite the fact that the chassis is largely made of plastic, the phone still manages to feel quite well built, and although it’s not laden down with buttons, there are dedicated keys for volume, camera and the lock mode.
There are two versions of this phone: the Preston model that’s available on Orange (and which we had in for review) and the Blade version which is exclusive to Vodafone. The only difference between the two is that the centrally mounted D-pad is square on the Preston and triangular on the Blade.
Key to any touch-phone is its display and thankfully Samsung has done a pretty good job in this department. Given the price, it’s understandable that the company has stuck with a resistive display rather than using the capacitive type that Apple employs on the iPhone. The 2.8inch screen may be a tad small by most touch-screen phone standards and can feel a tad cramped when you’re using it to view webpages, but for most of the phone’s other main functions it performs admirably.
The smaller physical size of the display also means that text and images look reasonably crisp despite the rather low 320x240 resolution. More importantly, however, the screen feels responsive to finger presses and swipes, something which can’t be said of many other budget touch-screen devices such as the LG GM750. This responsiveness is also helped by Samsung’s speedy TouchWiz operating system. This OS is nowhere near as advanced as the iPhone or Android OSes, but it is built from the ground up for touch input and this very much shows through in its usability.