The Tocco Icon runs Samsung’s proprietary feature phone OS, topped with the TouchWiz user interface that’s a staple of many of the manufacturer’s phones including the Samsung Wave II. For a feature phone OS, it’s not bad-looking.
It gives you three home screens to populate with widgets, such as calendars and email notifications, and an attractive main menu that lays out all the phone’s key features as icons on pages to flick through. You can change the basic look of these menus with themes, downloadable from within the Tocco Icon’s browser.
Superficially it all seems rather good for a phone that costs substantially less than £100, as it looks very similar to the UI offered by Samsung’s higher-end Bada phones. Scratch away the veneer though and there’s a disappointing amount of stuff actually there.
The widget library is all-too sparse, and misses out on obvious choices like an RSS news feed and a nice big clock. There are some clocks included, but not the nice big pretty ones many people like to plop onto their primary home screen.
App potential is similarly limited. Samsung supplies the phone with Facebook and Twitter apps – which we admit are this season’s must-have virtual mobile accessories – but beyond that possibilities on offer are seriously limited. There’s a link to the Samsung Apps web portal on the main menu, but at the time of writing this unlocks access to a grand total of zero apps and eight java games. This will improve in time, but we’d guess not by a great deal.
Samsung Apps – where are the apps?
The built-in social networking apps aren’t perfect either. The Facebook app is fine, but the Twitter app is happy to chop up words between lines, making tweets look ugly. With an Android phone like the Orange San Francisco you could easily solve this by downloading another client, but you can’t here. For quick social networking updates, it does the job. Just not immensely well.
Browsing is also compromised. Fairly regularly our browsing was interrupted by a pop-up informing us that the phone had run out of memory and couldn’t render the web page. Even a factory reset didn’t solve the problem. It would seem there just isn’t enough internal memory (or RAM) here to keep the phone ticking over happily – and there’s no microSD card bundled to help out. There is Wi-Fi on-board to keep browsing quick at home, but when out of range of a hotspot you’ll have to rely on non-3G EDGE connectivity as 3G HSPA doesn’t feature.
The capacitive touchscreen makes scrolling through pages comfortable enough, but we found the browser’s software keyboard fairly inaccurate, making typing addresses and emails a chore. Samsung has tried to keep this to a minimum, making you use T9 input when in portrait mode – saving the virtual Qwerty keyboard for landscape – but even so mis-typing letters was common. Oddly, the slightly different keyboard layout used in the text messaging interface is more reliable.
Virtual keyboard performance is inconsistent
Both the browsing memory issue and dodgy keyboard could be fixed with a software update, we’d wager, but we also wouldn’t bet on one turning up and doing so any time soon. In adding Wi-Fi and improved social networking skills to its Tocco range, Samsung’s edging the series towards smartphone territory. But it just doesn’t have the chops to compete with bonafide smartphones – now available at the same price.
If your needs are simple though, its built-in features compare well with other feature phones. There’s a good built-in dictionary, an instant messaging app for Yahoo and Palringo users, a YouTube app, FM radio and Samsung’s Social Hub software, which cobbles together all your social networking updates in a single stream to stick on a home screen.