Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Touch-sensitive music slider
- Stylish design, reasonable build quality, HSDPA-capable
- Poor implementation of touch controls, no real new features, slider doesn’t feel as firm as it should, poor tactility of keypad
The idea behind the F330 is commendable, but its implementation is less than successful. Users will quickly be frustrated by the poor design of the touch-sensitive controls.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
Sporting touch-sensitive navigational controls and a stylish, mirror-style display, the F330 is an attractive slider that is part of the Samsung Music Edition series of phones. A dedicated music button and playback controls built into the navigational pad make this a reasonable music handset, but the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack and no real other inspiring features will turn many away.
Like most Samsung handsets, the F330 certainly doesn't lack style. The mirror-style finish on the front covers most of the external fascia and is complemented nicely by chrome highlights and a deep metallic blue finish. The handset feels reasonably well built, but we did note that the slider doesn't feel as sturdy or firm as many competing models.
The touch-sensitive navigational controls are the most notable feature of the F330. Unfortunately, they are a major let-down. Although the idea behind the controls is good, a lack of consistent response when pressing buttons makes this a frustrating handset to use. Part of this is due to the combination of touch-sensitive and regular buttons — for example, the centre button of the navigational pad is a regular key, but the directional buttons are all touch sensitive, as are the two selection buttons and answer/end calls keys.
Most frustrating is the fact that when the phone goes into standby mode, the touch-sensitive buttons don't respond until a regular button (such as the centre navigational key, music button or keypad) is pressed. The keypad is also a mixed bag: the flat and shiny design of the keys means tactility isn't the best, although their size means with a bit of practice they are functional.
The F330's interface is similar to most other proprietary Samsung UI's. It is fairly responsive and generally quick enough; however, scrolling through long lists using the navigational pad is a little sluggish. An annoyance is the fact that the two selection buttons can't be assigned to different functions — having the Planet 3 shortcut assigned to the right selection button isn't an ideal solution considering the poor implementation and design of these keys.
As a music player the F330 does a solid, if unremarkable job. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack, but an adapter included in the sales package allows any regular set of headphones to be used. The packaged headphones sound average, although surround, dynamic and wide sound settings improve the audio somewhat; there are also regular preset equaliser settings such as rock and pop. The F330 features A2DP Bluetooth for wirelessly streaming music to a compatible set of headphones or speakers.
The F330 is an HSDPA-capable phone and it is available in Australia on the 3 Mobile network. Voice quality is solid and volume is more than loud enough to hold a conversation in a fairly noisy environment. When purchased from 3, the F330 provides access to the Planet 3 portal, which is available by pressing the right selection button. We had no problems browsing content through the mobile Internet portal, including news, sport, mobile TV, music and games. For most part, the F330 loaded pages swiftly, and we managed to download a few music tracks in just a couple of minutes.
Other features include a Google search and Gmail application, a 2-megapixel camera with self-portrait mirror, an FM radio and a host of PIM features, including memos, tasks, voice recorder, world clock and stopwatch.
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