Samsung Ultra S (S7350) mobile phone
A "truly feminine handset packed with contemporary chic features". Or a basic Samsung mobile phone with a coat of pink paint.
Described by Samsung as a "truly feminine handset", the Samsung Ultra S (S7350) mobile phone is, predictably, pink. Looking remarkably similar to the Samsung UltraTouch (S8300) minus the touch screen, the Ultra S is a capable phone with some decent features, but it doesn’t offer anything new or particularly exciting, and its "feminine" features are little more than a marketing gimmick.
- Nice design, good build quality, simple UI, 5-megapixel camera, GPS, HSDPA-capable, Fake Call is amusing
- It's pink, keypad is flat and spongy, no Wi-Fi, no 3.5mm headphone jack, Mirror Mode is virtually useless
Take the Samsung UltraTouch, strip the touch screen and AMOLED display, splash it with a coat of pink paint and give some basic functions "feminine" names and you have the Samsung Ultra S. It isn’t a bad phone, but there is nothing exciting about it.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
The Samsung Ultra S (S7350) is actually a well-crafted handset. The phone features a stylish brushed steel finish on the front, and curved metallic-style plastic casing on the rear. A chequered silver pattern surrounding the camera lens is a nice touch, as is the smooth, spring-operated slider.
The Samsung Ultra S's five-way navigational pad is large and comfortable, as is its keypad. Unfortunately, the keys are too flat and require a firm press, so typing messages feels spongy. The first row of keys is too close to the bottom of the slider when opened, so your thumbs will often wind up bashing against the edge of the casing.
The Samsung Ultra S's display is bright and clear, but it’s a shame the company didn't opt for an AMOLED screen, as seen on the UltraTouch. AMOLED displays use less power but offer increased brightness and better clarity. The Ultra S's display is sharp and viewing angles are quite good, but the screen can be hard to see in direct sunlight.
According to Samsung, the Ultra S is "a girl's intuitive best friend", so it comes preloaded with features like Mirror Mode, SOS message, Etiquette Pause and Fake Call. Mirror Mode uses the front-mounted VGA camera to provide a "mirror", but the quality of the camera lens isn't good enough to see even minor skin blemishes, for example.
Fake Call is a rather amusing function that helps you get out of awkward situations by simulating a phone call and playing back a pre-recorded voice message when answered, while Etiquette Pause is a useful tool that silences incoming calls simply by putting the phone face down on a table. The SOS message feature allows users to send an immediate personalised text to a preset phone number with one button press. These three features are useful for both sexes, however.
The proprietary interface of the Samsung Ultra S is quick, responsive and well designed but there is no applications store available. The best Samsung has to offer is a customisable shortcut menu, available by pressing the left selection key. Users can assign 12 shortcuts in a 3x4 grid layout.
The Samsung Ultra S isn't a smartphone, but it still offers some decent features, including a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus, built-in GPS and 7.2Mbps HSDPA support, along with USB connectivity via a standard micro-USB jack. The camera is quite good for a mobile phone commanding this price but LG's Renoir remains the best camera phone we've reviewed.
A music player, FM radio and DivX support make the Ultra S a decent multimedia phone on paper, but once again the lack of a standard 3.5mm headphone jack cripples the Ultra S's potential use as a music player. The phone comes with 100MB of internal memory; a microSD card slot can hold cards of up to 32GB in size. Annoyingly, the slot is located behind the rear battery cover, which is stubborn to remove at the best of times.
The Samsung Ultra S also includes a Music Recognition feature, allowing you to record a 10-second clip of a song, send it to the music recognition server and get the title and artist information returned. This application is similar to Sony Ericsson's TrackID service and the iPhone app Shazam.
The Samsung Ultra S is available exclusively on Optus.
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