Samsung was showing off two new finger-touch phones at MWC this year: the F480 and F490. Unfortunately, both are tri-band GSM for Europe and Asia, so they won't be offered directly in the States, and we wouldn't really recommend them for use the US. However, the two phones represent Samsung's second generation of finger-touch phones, and run a new version of Samsung's finger-touch UI. We hope to see similar phones for the US announced at CTIA in a few weeks.
Samsung's first generation of finger-touch phones included the F700 "Ultra Smart" that debuted at last year's 3GSM, which was then followed by the diminutive Armani phone. Both implemented "Croix", Samsung's first stab at a finger-touch phone interface. Croix was okay, but did seem a bit rushed (to compete with the iPhone) and wasn't nearly as refined as LG's competing UI on phones like the Prada and Viewty.
The new F480 and F490 run "TouchWiz", which you could think of as Croix 2.0. Samsung told us that TouchWiz will replace Croix on all new Samsung finger-touch phones. In fact, the F490 was originally slated to run Croix - and that's what was on display in the booth - but it was recently decided to upgrade the UI to TouchWiz instead of Croix on the final shipping version.
AD article continues below...
As you can see from the photos above, TouchWiz is very similar to Croix in most places. The basic layout and menu structure remains unchanged. TouchWiz upgrades the look to be more appealing and user-friendly, including text labels on the main menu icons and new icons added to the sub-menus.
There are some very key changes in several places, though. The cryptic icon bar at the bottom has been replaced with much more intuitive virtual soft keys that are clearly labeled. The system-wide shortcut menu also has a dedicated hardware button now, instead of the square icon taking up valuable screen space all of the time. The dialer also has larger number buttons now, and the phone book starts with a more powerful interactive screen now, instead of a plain menu, saving a click or two for anything contact-related.
By far the most "fun" improvement, though, is definitely the new home screen. The new home screen has a completely customizable set of widgets that can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the "desktop", and added and removed via a handy pop-up dock. The setup is highly customizable, fun, and very easy to use. Be sure to check out the video above to see this in action - it's really neat.
TouchWiz will be available on both the F480 and F490. The F480 is like a slightly larger Armani phone. The Armani phone is so tiny, though, that the F480 is still quite small. The little bit of extra size allows for a vastly improved camera (5 megapixel auto-focus) plus HSDPA for Europe and a larger, 2.8-inch display.
The F490 is a big brother to the F480. They're very similar, but the F490 steps up to an even larger 3.2-inch display. With a 16:9 aspect ratio and 240 x 432 pixels, it's optimized for video in landscape mode. The F490 is just about as thin as the F480. It's a bit taller, but the big surprise is weight: it's incredibly light.
Our coverage of THE big US cell phone show. Hands-on with new phones from Samsung, Kyocera, Nokia, LG, Sanyo, Motorola, Playboy, Sharper Image, Clarity, HTC, ZTE, Velocity, Sony Ericsson, and a tour of Windows Mobile 6.1.
Feb 27, 2019
Each year, we trek to Barcelona to check out the mobile industry's latest and greatest at the industry's largest trade show: MWC. It's not all great, so after seeing it all in person, we pick out the real winners for our Best of MWC awards.
After "soft-launching" with the Plex phone last year, TCL is now previewing its first widely-available lineup of own-brand phones: the 10 series, all of which offer premium features for under $500. TCL officially announced very few details of the three phones, but shared more with Phone Scoop in a hands-on session.
Feb 24, 2019
Nokia today introduced five new phones, all of which run a clean version of Android One, with a promise of three years of Android updates. The new range includes a unique new camera-oriented flagship, three very affordable Android models, and one feature phone.
Apr 16, 2018
Sony today announced the Xperia XZ2 Premium, a high-end Android phone that boasts some of the most advanced imaging features available in a mobile device. The XZ2 Premium has a 5.8-inch 4K HDR display (16:9 aspect ratio) that Sony says is 30% brighter than its previous mobile 4K screen.