You might not think that the name of this phone conveys much to you. ‘Soul’ certainly doesn’t seem to say a great deal to us. But get past that and what we have here is quite an impressive mobile phone.
The Soul, (aka model number U900), is a slider and its build quality is superb. The slide mechanism is really nicely sprung. It needs minimal force to open and close the phone. There is a lot of metal in the casing, and when closed this mobile measures just 105.9mm tall, 49.5mm wide and 12.9mm thick. It weighs 112g.
What makes this 3G handset stand out is not its support for 7.2Mbps 3G, but its second screen. Beneath the main display, a standard 320 x 240 pixel, 2.2-inch unit, sits a second, touch sensitive display which Samsung calls its Magical Touch window.
This screen’s functions change depending on what you happen to be doing. When you switch the phone on it offers the opportunity to move between messaging, profiles, calendar, music playback and the phone’s main menu. Switch into music playing mode and the controls change to offer play/pause, back, forwards and a view of your music list. When the camera is operational you’ve got macro mode, flash, self timer and exposure control available.
You can customise the Magical Touch interface by setting the colours it uses. On the topic of customisation, the main screen has a very detailed theme generator. With a little work you should be able to ensure no other Soul looks quite like yours.
We’ve seen a few dual screen, touch control systems used in mobiles recently, and have to say that the Soul’s offering is one of the better ones, being smooth, responsive and easy to get to grips with.
There is a lot more here besides the touch control. A 5-megapixel camera produced reasonable but not outstanding photos during testing. Face detection helps the camera ensure any people in a photo are in focus. A front facing camera handles two-way video calling.
100MB of built-in memory makes the Soul a potential handset for music fans. A Bang and Olufsen digital power amplifier helps with playback quality. A microSD card slot on the right-hand side means you can add more memory if needed. The use of a proprietary rather than a 3.5mm headset connector lets things down, but battery life is very good and an FM radio is also present.
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