Also rather confusing is the arrangement of navigation buttons throughout the interface. You fairly consistently get OK on the left, Cancel/Back on the right (which we think is the wrong way round for a start), and a settings tab in the middle. However, every now and again the otherwise identically arranged buttons serve a different function. Also, you sometimes end up with a Back button in the usual spot but it doesn’t actually go back anywhere, it closes the app. It’s all stuff you’d probably get used to, but it’s also such basic usability: it should be right.
Other peculiarities include the web browser having, as one of its three main controls, a brightness slider and the fact that if you want to leave a program running in the background (i.e. multi-task) then you must press the central button to bring up the main menu rather than just press the call end/exit button, which closes the program. It may sound logical, but in practice it constantly catches you out.
Perhaps most striking of all, though, is how ugly the whole thing is. Both due to its blockiness and Samsung’s choice of really bright clashing colours, to our eyes it just looks horrible and there are no other themes to choose from so far.
Overall, though, it’s a very capable OS that has a good, fast web browser with support for tabbed browsing, pinch-to-zoom (though sadly, the one-finger zoom function seen on some previous Samsung devices has been dropped), and full web-page rendering. In fact, the only thing it really lacks is Flash support. Samsung claims it does support this, but we found no content that did work. Like the iPhone, you can also double tap the home button and start searching both the phone and the Internet, and you can choose from Google and Bing search engines.
Messaging services are also well catered for with SMS exchanges arranged in conversations, multiple email accounts supported, and all the usual social networking services catered for. Indeed you can even import contacts from Twitter and Facebook, and updates from those services appear in each contact’s entry. The general layout and way you work with these services does feel rather disjointed, though. For instance, to see all the ”inboxes” of the various services you must go to the Social Hub from whence you can access the SMS messages folder. If, however, you go straight to the messages folder you can’t navigate back to the Social Hub.
One important thing for typing is of course the keyboard and despite it looking a bit blocky this phone’s one is very good. It responds accurately, the predictive text is pretty good, and the text editing features are easy to use – in fact, they completely copy those of the iPhone except there’s no magnifying glass, but you instead get a little marker that helps indicate where the cursor is.