Samsung Star mobile phone
Samsung's Star mobile phone is a good introduction to the world of touch-screen mobile phones
- Compact, responsive touch screen, TouchWIZ UI, good on-screen keyboards, price
- No 3G, screen isn't particularly sharp, widgets could be improved, no dedicated apps
The Samsung Star is a functional and easy to use touch-screen handset that will appeal to people on a tight budget. The lack of 3G connectivity will turn many potential buyers elsewhere, however.
Price$ 199.00 (AUD)
Samsung's Star (S5230) is an entry-level, prepaid mobile phone that features the company's TouchWIZ UI. It's a good introduction into the world of touch phones for first time and occasional users. Exclusive to Virgin Mobile, this sleek mobile phone is responsive and easy to use but the lack of 3G connectivity will force many users to look elsewhere.
The Samsung Star (S5230) bears an uncanny resemblance to the original Samsung Omnia. It's thin, light and, despite the largely plastic build, it feels sturdy and well built. Below the display are three physical keys: answer, end call and a large back button. The central position of the back key does look strange, but as the menu button is on the touch screen itself, this is something you'll quickly get used to. External volume controls on the left side and lock and camera buttons on the right round out the controls.
The Samsung Star's display is bright but it doesn't have a high resolution. It's bright and clear enough for everyday use, but text isn't as sharp as we'd have liked and sunlight glare outdoors can be an issue. Horizontal and vertical viewing angles are commendable, especially considering the price and market positioning of the phone. The phone uses a resistive touch screen and Samsung includes a stylus, but you shouldn't be needing it very often — the display is responsive and most keys and buttons are large enough to tap with your fingers.
Like many Samsung phones, the Star runs the company's proprietary OS and features the TouchWIZ user interface, which is also used on the Icon range. The TouchWIZ interface uses a three-page home screen and has a big focus on widgets. A row of widgets sits on the left edge of each screen. To use one you simply drag an icon from the panel to the main area. Each of the three home screen pages is customisable and you can add any widget onto any page. Unfortunately, the widgets’ functions aren't labelled in the sidebar, so it's hard to work out what they do without adding them to the screen.
Unlike other TouchWIZ UI Samsung phones, the Star's menu is split into two pages, one for the main menu and the other having three sliding tabs for communications, tools and multimedia. The multimedia page includes shortcuts to many social networking sites and online services including Facebook, YouTube, MySpace and Flickr, but these are merely links to the mobile Web page of each service rather than dedicated apps.
The Star can be unlocked using by drawing a letter of the alphabet on the screen — Samsung's "smart unlock" feature. You can use different letters to launch apps as the phone unlocks, including messaging, music and the Web browser.
We found the Samsung Star's messaging capabilities to be excellent for an entry-level touch-screen mobile phone. Samsung offers three input options, including a numeric keypad, a landscape QWERTY keyboard or handwriting recognition using the stylus. The keys are responsive and there is no keystroke lag when typing at fast speeds.
The Samsung Star's lack of 3G connectivity is a real downside. Though it's an entry-level handset, there are 3G mobile phones available with similar prices, albeit not with a touch screen. Though the Star's touch screen is handy and very easy to use, we're not so sure it makes up for the lack of 3G, especially for those looking to access the mobile Web.
Other features include a basic 3.2-megapixel camera without flash, a suite of PIM functions, an FM radio, voice recorder, music player and Bluetooth connectivity. A microSD card slot for extra storage is included, but it's under the battery so you'll have to power off the phone to access it.
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @Goodgearguide
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Settings in iOS 10: Every notable change you need to know
- FBI faces lawsuit because it's stayed mum on iPhone 5c hack
- Early iPhone 7 reviews: You'll miss the headphone jack, but the camera and battery life are tops
- Toshiba's new SSD line features rock-bottom pricing
- Watch out: iOS 10 install is reportedly bricking some iPhones
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- CCSenior UNIX AdministratorNSW
- FTBI and Report DeveloperQLD
- FTSenior Systems Engineer x 2NSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- FTSolution ArchitectACT
- FTDrupal Developer - Senior or Mid levelQLD
- FTSAP DevelopersSA
- CCSenior IT Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Desktop Engineer - SCCM / AD / 2012 ServerNSW
- CCPersonal AssistantNSW
- FTICT Transformation Integration ManagerNSW
- CCCitrix SpecialistVIC
- FTSenior Wintel EngineerNSW
- FTIT Service Desk Manager - Team LeaderNSW
- FTService Desk OperatorsSA
- TPTechnical Support Officer (Unix/Linux, Windows and Mac)VIC
- CCSalesforce DeveloperNSW
- CCPeoplesoft DeveloperACT
- FTRegional Market Manager - Wide Bay RegionQLD
- FTFull Stack Developer - Symfony 2QLD
- CCSoftware Licencing SpecialistNSW
- TPLevel 2/3 Desktop Support AnalystVIC
- FTDevOps EngineerNSW
- FTPERMANENT Business AnalystsSA
- FTProgram L&D Manager, Financial ServicesNSW