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The numberpad under the slide is large enough and is very comfortable to use at speed. Texting fast should not present any problems. With the numberpad hidden away, you are reliant on two softkeys, the Call and End keys and that touchpad. It functions very like the one on the previously mentioned Samsung Soul.
There are up to five options available at any one time, and what you get depends on what application you are in. So, when you are looking at the home screen you've got shortcuts to profiles, phone book, messaging, the main menu and a Google screen offering Google search and Google Mail.
When you are playing music you've got forward, back, tracklisting, pause and play controls. When you are using the camera, you can toggle macro mode, flash, make self-timer settings, change brightness and take a shot. The camera options flick round 90 degrees so they are easy to use when you hold the phone horizontally to take photos. It is all quite intuitive, and the tiny bit of haptic feedback you get when you make a press is welcome.
The only real problem is that with all this touchy feely stuff going on, the temptation to tap at the main screen for more touch control is great. Certainly if you've used a fully touch-capable handset before you may find yourself hankering for one again here.
As far as the main specifications go, this is a fairly well appointed mobile phone. As it is on 3 you will have guessed already that it is a 3G handset. It supports HSDPA to 3.6Mbps and is tri-band GSM. A front camera caters for two-way video-calling and a button on the number pad area gets you started with a video call.
What it lacks, however, is Wi-Fi and GPS, and automatic screen rotation. And if you are interested in buying a phone on 3 to take advantage of mobile web browsing you might want to think twice about this one. Yes, you can browse, but the small screen doesn't provide a lot of viewing area, and the phone grumbled at some pages. For example, it told me the TrustedReviews home page was too big for it to handle.
However, there is one group of users who might want to consider this phone as a prime choice, and that is music fans. Not because of the headset connector, which remains staunchly proprietary in its connector type. Nor because of the built in memory, which is limited to just 30MB, (although it is expandable via a microSD card slot on the right edge of the casing). No, music fans may love the battery life. Samsung puts this at 420 minutes of talk and 350 hours on standby. I played music from a full battery charge for an impressive 17 hours 22 minutes. After music playback stopped, the phone stayed alive for a good few hours more giving a total battery life of 22 hours 51 minutes.
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