The Tocco Ultra is Samsung’s follow-up to its original Tocco handset. That mobile introduced the concept of Widgets, and they make a repeat appearance here.
Widgets are small links you can drag from a sidebar onto the phone’s main screen. They let you personalise things to your taste, putting shortcuts on the main screen for on-device software like the FM radio, music playback and calendar, and off-device stuff like FaceBook and MySpace links. It’s a pity that widgets are quite large, though. We found there was only room for three or four on the screen at once.
The Tocco Ultra itself is also a bit of a beast, as it is a slider. With the slide out the phone is about 135mm tall. With the slide tucked away the phone is 110 x 51.5 x 12.7mm. It weighs 122g. The good news is that its weight and size reflect good build quality and a phone that feels robust in the hand.
The touchscreen isn’t as large as we are getting used to from top-end phones. Its 2.8 diagonal inches and 240 x 400 pixels put it a little way behind the leading edge. But its AMOLED technology means it is sharp and bright, has good colour contrast and is readable outside.
We weren’t entirely happy with the touchscreen, which seemed reluctant to respond to all our finger presses. And there’s no multitouch support for things like zooming. When looking at Web pages, for example, you need to call up a zoom bar and use that instead. It’s not a huge pain, but it’s not leading edge, either.
This is a 3G handset with HSDPA to 7.2Mbps and, while it has some top-notch features, it lacks others. It has GPS, for example, but no Wi-Fi. There is an accelerometer for automatic screen rotation and a front camera for two-way video calling.
The main camera shoots stills to a range of resolutions up to 8 megapixels. We’ve noted before that this seems like overkill for a mobile phone, where we think 5 megapixels is really plenty. And you should bear in mind that the image quality won’t be the same as you’ll get on a dedicated digital camera with that number of pixels.
Still, the camera takes advantage of the built-in GPS for geotagging, and there are features like anti-shake and blink detection to help you get the best quality images. We liked the macro mode too.
Music playback is of course catered for. The headset connector is not a 3.5mm type but instead shares the main power port. The provided headset is two-piece, though, so you can use your own 3.5mm headphones by plugging them in past the microphone. And there is another useful plus in that you can record from the built-in FM radio.
Memory runs to 75MB on board and you can add more via microSD cards. Samsung provides a 1GB card to get you started.