Samsung F480

The F480 looks like an Omnia, works like an iPhone and may be the best phone for accessing Next G services, like Foxtel TV.


7.8
CNET Rating
6.6
User Rating

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Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies. Twitter: @Joseph_Hanlon


Design
Think Samsung's Omnia, but squatter. It's no surprise that two Samsung touchscreen handsets released in short succession should look so alike. There are subtle differences in the shape and size of the mechanical keys, and the Omnia's 3-inch display is a 2.8-inch touchscreen on the F480, but otherwise these guys are like twins separated at birth

The F480 has a pleasing weight and its brushed metal finish feels nice to hold. Samsung has opted for a capacitive touchscreen in the F480, as opposed to the resistive touchscreen technology it tends to employ, and while these technologies are vastly different, the end result subtly favours the F480. Capacitive touchscreens react to fingers only (or contact with any part of your body), so you cannot use a stylus, but the upside is a more responsive display.

Samsung has designed a good touchscreen interface for this handset. Incorporating the company's TouchWiz widgets homescreen and large colourful menu items, we've had no significant difficulty in navigating the menus or performing basic phone functions. We're still not sold on the usefulness of the TouchWiz widgets, though our review unit came with four Telstra widgets which are great links to Next G services.

Features
Comparisons with Apple's iPhone are inevitable, on the merit of the touchscreens and colour menus mostly, but there are important differences to note. Firstly, the F480 isn't a smartphone. It runs on Samsung's proprietary operating platform and as such you cannot develop or install third party applications to this phone, other than Java-based software.

Also, the F480 doesn't include Wi-Fi hardware or a GPS receiver, like Apple's smartphone. Instead the F480 sports strong consumer phone features, including a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash and access to Next G services and mobile Foxtel.

In unison with 7.2Mbps HSDPA data speeds the F480T has an excellent pre-installed web browser. Its interface is simple and clean, and it does a great job of rendering pages in a single column mobile view, which is lucky because zooming requires more keystrokes than the finger gestures iPhone users will be accustomed to.

The F480 supports a range of multimedia including DRM-free MP3 and AAC music files and MPEG4, H.264 and H.263 video files. The music player interface is serviceable, but it has nothing on the slick iPod Coverflow menu found on the iPhone.

Performance
Unlike the Samsung Omnia, the F480 has fewer feathers in its cap, but we've been mostly impressed with how each of these features has performed. Making and receiving calls is good with a loud, if slightly muffled, speaker at your ear. Creating messages is a breeze due to a well-designed onscreen T9 keypad. Some people may be disappointed to discover the F480 doesn't use a virtual QWERTY keyboard, but from our experience with other touchscreen phones, this is not a feature we'd make use of anyway.

The speed of menu navigation and processing in applications is mostly sufficient. The time between selecting an option or application and seeing the results is typically about one second. This pause is smoothed over somewhat by animated transitions, though these tend to stutter and lag.

The F480 does an excellent job of behaving like a portable media player, though with matching file recognition and no significant internal storage or 3.5mm headphone socket on the phone (it does come with a cumbersome 3.5mm extension adapter), it's hard to recommend the F480 over the iPhone as a media player.

On the other hand the F480 may be the best Telstra Next G handset we've come across. Watching Foxtel TV on this phone truly shows off how great this service is; the streaming is fast and without interruption and the picture and audio is as good as to be expected — which is about YouTube video quality.

The 5-megapixel camera certainly seems to have all the settings and adjustments that have become common across the higher-specced camera phones. The F480 has a variety of shooting modes and white balance settings, picture quality and focusing mode adjustments. In the field we found the camera took photos that represented the colours we saw well, but tended to flare in sunlight and often struggled to focus. As far as 5-megapixel camera phones go the F480 is a mid-range shooter and will pass the test for Facebook bloggers, but not so for people who may want to print these photos down the track.

Overall
At CNET we love to see phones that know exactly what they are, and don't fail pretending to be something they are not. This describes the F480 exactly. The F480 is the perfect match for the first generation iPhone, before Apple filled its phone with MS Exchange support and a GPS receiver.

If you're in the market for a chic-looking touchscreen phone, with responsive input, a decent camera and a standard range of media playback, then the F480 is worth checking out. If you're looking for a business-capable smartphone, look elsewhere.

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NUCLEAR UNICORN
4
Rating
 

"Apps are WAYYY too expensive"

NUCLEAR UNICORN posted a review   

The Good:good basic phone

The Bad:apps are expensive, texting is painful

this phone is fine for people wanting who just want to call, but for people like me, who want to text (excruciating) and get apps (expensive) it is pretty terrible!! I am sure not all samsungs are that bad, but this has started to put me off them. Saving up for a HTC Desire HD, it will be a shock when I get to see what a good phone really is!

NUCLEAR UNICORN
4
Rating
 

"Apps are WAYYYY too expensive"

NUCLEAR UNICORN posted a review   

The Good:good basic phone

The Bad:expensive apps, painful for texting

Not enough apps, but the apps there are are very expensive, the cheapest i found was $3.00, on sale from $7.00. Also gets annoying when texting, replacing words or guessing what words you want to type

Monique
6
Rating
 

"Looks great, frustrating for texting"

Monique posted a review   
Australia

Probably a good phone unless you send lots of texts. Since I mainly use my phone for sms'ing, it drives me mad! Predictive text is annoying also. It keeps adding words which aren't actually words and putting them before the words I use all the time.

I also think it gets too hot when I am talking on phone.

As soon as my contract is up I'm going back to a Nokia with buttons, not touch screen!!!

Simon
2
Rating
 

Simon posted a review   

The Good:Battery life

The Bad:Everything else

Functions well as a phone if all you are doing is making calls. The interface is frustratingly inconsistent - some places you touch and drag to scroll (contacts, web), which is good, other places you have to swipe your finger frantically to scroll a few pixels (everywhere else). Screen is horribly insensitive - do not try anything that requires a double-tap (like hyperlinks), the phone can't read them. Calendar only allows ~9 characters for a title, which sucks when synchronising with your desktop, so don't try to use one to organise yourself. On the up side, I usually only charge 1-2 times a week.

 

Simon posted a reply   

Oh and something else - the phone can store 500 sms messages in internal memory. However, if you install an SD card, it will only store 20 (yes 20!) sms's on the card. And it will insist on storing them there. Once you've used those 20 slots, the phone cannot receive any more sms until you delete some, even though the phone as 500 free slots. It's a pain.

Alex
4
Rating
 

Alex posted a review   

The Good:Not much

The Bad:Most things

I have just finshed my contract with this phone and i am so glad! It has been so frustrating since i got it and half the screen would not let me touch it. I really would not recommend this to anyone!

Fish
8
Rating
 

Fish posted a review   

The Good:Large, easy to see keypad,good camera,tough as a mallee bull (I drove off with phone on roof of car-landed face-down on road,cover off,battery out) & still functioned !

The Bad:not much choice in ring/alarm tones

Overall the best,easy to use phone I have owned- very clear interface. I don't use internet functions so can't comment in that regard. Love the large numerical display.

MR
3
Rating
 

MR posted a review   

The Good:Nice size, robust build, camera

The Bad:Menu, texting interface, slow internet

I bought this based on the positive review, but everyone I've met since hates this phone!
The menu is limited and poor, especially for the music player.
Texting is painful (doesn't even remember that predictive spelling was on for last message).
Camera was good, but no protection over lens, so not so great any more...
Internet is sloooooooowwwwwwwwww....
Don't even mention this in the same sentence as "iPhone".
But for ~ $240 its not so bad if you don't have iPhone expectations.


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User Reviews / Comments  Samsung F480

  • NUCLEAR UNICORN

    NUCLEAR UNICORN

    Rating4

    "this phone is fine for people wanting who just want to call, but for people like me, who want to text (excruciating) and get apps (expensive) it is pretty terrible!! I am sure not all samsungs are ..."

  • NUCLEAR UNICORN

    NUCLEAR UNICORN

    Rating4

    "Not enough apps, but the apps there are are very expensive, the cheapest i found was $3.00, on sale from $7.00. Also gets annoying when texting, replacing words or guessing what words you want to type"

  • Monique

    Monique

    Rating6

    "Probably a good phone unless you send lots of texts. Since I mainly use my phone for sms'ing, it drives me mad! Predictive text is annoying also. It keeps adding words which aren't actually words a..."

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