Samsung Tocco Icon 2 Stars

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At first glance, the Tocco Icon is reminiscent of the iPhone 4, thanks to its angular styling and silver edges. But pick it up and you’ll notice it has a plastic chassis and is really light. So even though it has the benefit of a capacitive touch-screen, it still has the feel of a cheap handset. However, it does look quite stylish, offering a soft menu button at the bottom of the screen and the dialler soft buttons sitting to either side.

Samsung has mostly been going down the Android route with its phones recently, and the Tocco Icon represents a return to its roots.

On display

That capacitive touch-screen is all of three inches, so if you’re inputting messages and emails you might feel everything’s a bit squashed – however it offers a reasonable experience if you’re browsing the web. The screen res is only 240x400 pixels, so we didn’t expect a lot from it, so were pleasantly surprised by its bright colours and high contrast.

TouchWiz

The screen is better than that on the original Tocco, but we still found it too sluggish for out liking. Inputting was slow, even when we had the benefit of the QWERTY keyboard in landscape mode, and once in portrait mode you’ll end up with an alphanumeric keypad, so that doesn’t lend itself to speedy typing.

However, if you’re new to smartphones, you’re likely to enjoy the TouchWiz interface that Samsung offers.

Making connections

Connectivity is often an issue on cheaper phones, but we were happy to see Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 2G. It’s a shame about the lack of 3G, as connecting to the web via 2G is frustratingly slow, but connect via Wi-Fi and you’ll do just fine.

Music to your ears

The Tocco offers pretty good sound quality from its loud speakers (although you’ll have to pay out for your own headphones if you want to keep your tunes to yourself). However, be aware that it’s not exactly what you’d call a media phone – the sound distorts at louder volumes and there is no way to sort out the balance of the sound. You also won’t get many songs on your phone with just 30Mb of included memory. If you need any more you can splash out on a microSD card and get an extra 16GB.

Getting social

So it may not be a media phone, but we had hoped for more from the Tocco Icon’s social networking faculties. Unfortunately, we couldn’t even access our social networks, despite all our efforts, which included connecting via Wi-Fi and fiddling with the settings. It’s a pity because on paper the Icon sounds impressive, with the ability to share details and media with Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Another disappointment came in the small number of really decent apps on offer – we couldn’t help but be disappointed by the Samsung App Store.

Snap happy?

For snap taking, there’s a 3.15 megapixel camera (it’s the same one found on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8), which produced reasonable picture in daylight, but disappoints in low light, producing pictures marred by pixilation and noise.

Long life

So while the camera failed to impress, the good news is that battery life is excellent – hardly surprising as there is no 3G to drain the power. We only had to recharge every couple of days – surprising for a smartphone.

Our conclusion

The Tocco Icon is a reasonable choice for smartphone newbies – as it carries out all the basic jobs, plus offers the chance to do some tweeting and listen to some tunes. But, if you’re keen on accessing the net, it’s a bit of a letdown without 3G  – even though it does save on battery power. The lack of apps could be the last straw – but then the handset looks good enough and has Wi-Fi at a price of less than £100.

Pros:
Excellent battery life means you won’t be forever searching for your charger.
Cons:
Surfing the net can be slow without 3G – unless of course you can connect via Wi-Fi.
Rating:
  • Look and Feel 3 Stars
  • Ease of use 2 Stars
  • Features 2 Stars
  • Performance 2 Stars
  • Battery life 4 Stars

Final verdict: 2 Stars

Review by Mobile Choice