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Prior to owning my iPhone 4 (which I have had since September) I wasn’t really into mobile phones and was very clear when choosing a mobile phone on my contract over 2 years ago that I was not paying a premium or additional money towards the “latest technological wonder”. I simply wanted a phone that was easy to use, looked neat and compact and that allowed me to make calls, text and use the internet for Facebook. I had previously owned a Samsung phone in the past and found the phone very easy to use and was familiar with the navigation and features which is why the Samsung Tocco Lite appealed to me and was my choice.
***Samsung Tocco Lite*** Sansung describe the Tocco Lite as “A Smartphone with a difference that you can feel”. The phone has the following features: 3.2 Megapixel Camera FM Radio and MP3 player Bluetooth TFT Touchscreen GPRS WAP Java Compatible Picture Blogging Image Editor Quad Band Video MMS Compatible
The Samsung Tocco Lite as suggested by the name is a reasonable compact and light smartphone. The phone is rectangular and is only 10cm high, 5 cm wide and only 1cm deep. The phone is also very light weighing 93g. Looks wise the phone has minimal buttons and the front of the phone there is a large touch screen and towards the bottom of the phone is a large back button and a call and call back button on either side of the back button. Around the edge of the phone on the front on the white model the phone has chrome edging and the back of the phone consists of the block white casing. Around the edges of the phone are volume buttons, an unlock button and the charging/ USB port.
The phone is available in three colours; black, pink and white. My review will be based on the Tocco Lite in white as this is the colour I owned.
***Price and Availability*** I came by owning this mobile through my Vodafone contract. This was in Jan 2010 and although the phone was not the latest model of smartphone around it was one of the “newer” smartphones Vodafone had to offer without having to pay an additional one off cost on top of my monthly contract price. The white model of the Tocco Lite at the time was relatively new and Vodafone were advertising this as “exclusive” to their network although this was only the case for a number of months. When I first ordered the Tocco Lite the phone to buy as a handset only deal or on Pay As You Go was around £140. This was reasonably expensive but not in the same price bracket as the “most advanced” Smartphone at the time which was the iPhone 3GS which was £300+.
At time of writing (February 2012) the price of the Tocco Lite Handset varies however is priced around the £60 mark. The white model which I own is slightly more and you should expect to pay around £70. The handset can be purchased from Vodafone, Orange, O2 and 3 in addition to retailers including thecarphonewarehouse and Amazon
***Using It- My Experience*** The Samsung Tocco Lite came in a small box along with SIM Card, battery, charger (AC and separate USB) and user guide . I did refer to the user guide to set up the phone and insert the battery and SIM card by sliding the back of the phone open and then charged the phone up. As my previous mobile phone to this phone was a Samsung I knew how to navigate around a Samsung phone as the features were very similar however the instructions are worth having a look at the fully make use of the features of the phone.
When I removed the Tocco Lite from the box I was pleasantly surprised. The phone is a lot lighter and
more compact than I was expecting and I also felt it has quite an expensive look and feel about it.
Once charged I turned the phone on which is done by holding a chrome button on the side of the phone in. Compared with newer Smartphones the Samsung Tocco Lite does take quite a while to load up and after around 90 seconds it is ready to use. The Tocco Lite is a touch screen which when I first starting using this phone was not a new concept to me as my previous phone also was operated in this way. For those that have never used a touch screen the Tocco Lite is reasonably easy to use but personally I do not think it is the best touchscreen and can be frustrating at times. Navigating through the menus on the phone using the touchscreen and making calls is not so much of an issue however when writing a text message it does take some practice at sending texts on this phone. If holding the phone portrait you have to use the touchscreen buttons as if you were writing a text message on a standard phone (i.e. press number 1 twice for A or tap the 1 key twice for the letter B) or you have the option to turn the phone sideways and at a landscape angle the keyboard reverts to a full keyboard where each letter of the alphabet is shown. This is great for those with small fingers but if you have larger fingers the individual buttons can be too hard to press and become very hard to type the intended word first time. I did find it almost impossibility to type words correctly if I was even very slightly under the influence of alcohol so if I ever did text Mr Lools when I was on the rare occasion at a pub then my text messages were difficult to read. There is the option for predictive text however if you tap the wrong key this makes using predictive text even more confusing. If I’m honest at the time of owning the Tocco Lite I did not really find the touchscreen too much of an issue however it is only now that I am using an iPhone or have used other touchscreen handsets I feel I noticed the issues with the Tocco Lite.
Making calls using the Sumsung Tocco Lite is very easy and the call buttons on the front of the phone make sure you have a shortcut to get to your contacts and keypad. To make a call once you have inputted the number or selected the contact you press the call button on the bottom left hand side of the handset and to hang up you press the call end button on the bottom right of the handset.
Navigating through the menu on the phone is very easy. Once you have unlocked the phone by pressing a button on the side of the phone then touching the screen you can access the phones keypad. Personally I did find that if in a packed handbag the Tocco Lite can unlock itself as the unlock button is easy to get caught on objects in bags and pockets and then another object can touch the screen. The main menu is where you can find all of the different sections within the phone. The main ones being call log, phonebook, messages, files, applications, browser, camera and settings. Within these sections there are different sub sections in which you can choose other programmes for example within applications you can find games etc. You also have the option of using a “widget” which means that you can set a shortcut function to many of the programmes on the phone for easy access. If I’m honest I did not utilise this function as I mainly used the phone to make calls, send text messages and used the browser to access Facebook.
As mentioned I tended to use the browser for Facebook. This was using GPRS and because I had “data” as part of my mobile phone package I did not have to pay extra for this. One issue I did have with the browser with this phone was that it was extremely slow and pages took a long time to load. There were also occasions when using the browser that the phone and software would freeze completely and I had to remove the battery and then turn the phone back on again that way. The Tocco Lite did load Facebook and some other webpages like eBay and google but I did find with some sites the page did not load or display correctly therefore you could not navigate through pages easily. Personally if you intend to do a lot of internet browsing I would probably not recommend the Tocco Lite.
The other function I used on the Tocco Lite quite regularly was the 3.2 mega pixel camera. The camera was satisfactory for daytime shots although I would not describe as being the best of phone cameras. I did find for day time shots with lots of light there images taken were clear but with darker shots they did look slightly blurred and this was apparent if you uploaded onto a PC or onto Facebook.
I did not fully utilise the MP3 function because of the limited memory space on the phone which I tended to use memory space for images and videos. You can purchase additional memory with an SD memory card (micro) which I would say is advisable as the internal memory of the phone is quite small within the “my files” section (50MB). The phone supports card up to 8GB in size. There was an occasion when I took a video of my sons only lasting 30 seconds and most of the memory space was pretty much all used up. You can transfer files using the USB cable to your PC.
I tended to use the FM radio for music which I found satisfactory but I did find that when listening to radio the sound quality was a little crackly especially when turned up load. I also found if I was on the move the signal jumped quite a lot and it seemed that I got a lot of interference.
I use my mobile regularly throughout the day. On average I make or receive at least 10 minutes worth of calls each day, send around 5 text messages and check Facebook at least once on a normal day. I found with the Tocco Lite initially I could charge my phone up every 3-4 days and this would be enough to last me to undertake normal everyday activities. However after around 6 months of use I noticed the charge in the battery did not last as long and I needed to charge my phone up every other day at least. This may not be an issue to those that do not use their phone regularly but for those that make a lot of calls and send a lot of text messages you could find after a few months you need to charge the Tocco Lite almost on a daily basis.
As mentioned the quality of the sound on the Tocco Lite is reasonable if using for FM radio or for the MP3 player. I found when on normal volume and when I received an incoming call the sound quality of the phone also was very good and ringtones sounded clear. However if put on the loud setting I did find the sound to have a very tin like noise to it.
For making and receiving calls the phone is also very good. The only sound issues I had with the Tocco Lite was when I used speaker phone when making a call. The first issue I had was that when the volume was turned up the person I was talking to sounded extremely loud and quite crackly almost as if the speaker inside the phone was vibrating. If I turned the volume down when on speaker I found I could hear them a lot more clearly however they could not hear me as well. When making calls normally and not on speaker phone others did comment that I often sounded quiet and I feel that this is due to the microphone not picking
Pictures of Samsung S5230 Star
Samsung Tocco Lite- in white
up sounds if the phone is too far away from your face. When speaking on the phone I did find I had to ensure that the phone was near my mouth more so than with other phones so those I was calling could hear me.
Over the last 12 years I have had a number of mobile phones and tested the durability of them fully. If I’m honest I’m not the most careful of people with mobile phones which is why at least 4 mobile phones I have owned have had their life cut short by being smashed into pieces on the floor after being dropped. I would not say the Tocco Lite is “fall proof” nor would I recommend dropping the phone but over the 16 months I owned the phone it was dropped at least 10 times (by myself and my twin boys) and it survived most of these falls. It did not smash into lots of pieces on the first fall like 2 of my Motorola handsets did.
Externally I did find the white Tocco Lite handset to be slightly more durable than other black mobile phones I have owned and scruffs and scrapes from general wear and tear did not show up as easily. The white casing did show up some dirt but could easily be wiped over with a damp cloth. The main external damage to my phone was some light scuffs on the screen from being in my handbag and also the chrome edging on the side of the phone when dropped on the pavement outside.
After being dropped down the stairs and landing on the wooden hallway floor is the reason why I think the microphone inside of the phone stopped working and why I got a new phone but my Tocco Lite handset can still be turned on, used to browse the internet and send text messages I just can’t use it to make calls on.
***Overall*** The Samsung Tocco Lite is one of the better mobile phones I have owned and for a basic smartphone I do think it performs reasonably. The phone is good value for money and design wise I do think it looks a lot more expensive that it actually is. The touchscreen is very easy to use, and the phone is easy to navigate through the software meaning for those that like to make calls, send texts and use basic smartphone functions like internet and photo sharing it is great for. I probably would not recommend the Tocco Lite to those looking for a phone which allows lots of photos, videos and music files to be stored and for someone who likes using lots of apps because it is not possible on this phone. However considering the £70 price tag and that this is the most recent model of smartphone from Samsung I don’t think you would expect too much from this phone.
Durability wise I did find that there were some issues with the microphone and speaker however this occurred after over 16 months’ worth of use and the phone was dropped on a number of occasions which I feel may have had something to do with these issues . Although I wouldn’t recommend dropping the phone I was impressed that for a phone which had been dropped from a reasonable height over 10 times externally there were very few issues and I encountered no serious issues with the workings of the phone until after 16 months. Compared to other brands and models of mobile phone I do feel that this is very good.
By no means is the Samsung Tocco Lite as good as an iPhone (which my best friend constantly drummed into me and kept trying to tell me to get and iPhone) however for the price if simply buying the handset there is a massive difference between the two phones cost wise and as a result you would not expect the same features or performance and I never wished to debate on this obvious point. Now I have upgraded to a much more technologically advanced smart phone it is obvious that the Tocco Lite is quite a basic smartphone but for £70 great for someone that wants to make calls, send texts and have a phone to browse the internet on and use a smartphone for basic functions.