Samsung S5230 Review – Tocco Lite, Budget Touch

Samsung S5230 Review: The Samsung S5230 was codenamed ‘Tocco Lite’ and was released in 2009. It had a very clear remit: provide a touchscreen experience at a budget price. A look at some of the top phones of 2009 revealed the problem. Devices such as the Samsung i8910 or Apple iPhone 3GS had really revolutionised the way we used phones. But this came at a price. With these phones often retailing at over £400, many casual users were out of the market.

Clearly, Samsung were not alone in this idea. The Tocco Lite goes up against phones such as the LG KP500 or Nokia 5800 which also targeted this market segment. Prices were not ultra low. With touchscreen still in its infancy, there were no ultra cheap handsets. And so, these came in at arond the £150 mark.

The Samsung S5230 took its cues in the design from the previous years Samsung i900. It bore a similar look, but that was about it. Most of the other components in the phone took a downgrade in order to reduce the cost. A tell-tale on how quick the market was moving was the screen type: the S5230 featured the same resistive-type touchscreen as seen on models such as the original Omnia. Just one year later, this had been relegated into the mid-budget range, as the capacitive touch type favoured by Apple was far superior.

Full specifications here.

The phone was popular and proved to be a decent compromise on price. It took around 18 months, but the Tocco Lite got a successor: the Samsung S5260. Codenamed ‘Star II’, this added the much-needed multi-touch screen.

Samsung S5230 Review Pros:

For the fashion conscious, this is a tidy looking handset. The phone looks premium, although the construction is mainly plastic. Unlike the iPhone, the battery is removable and the rear covers can be changed.

Samsung’s TouchWiz proprietary software was evolving quickly and the latest incarnation debuted on the phone. Like the Omnia this allowed three separate homescreens. These were more customisable than other manufacturers, with areas being able to be widgetised.

The phone is well optimised for media. There are video and music players on-board, as well as a microSD card slot for expansion. The 3.0 inch LCD is far better suited in size for media.

Samsung S5230 Review Cons:

Resolution was a bit of a let down on this model. At just 240 x 400 pixels this was similar to the model a year before, and far below the Nokia 5800 (admittedly at reduced cost).

The camera was also toned down: we have a 3.15M resolution shooter, with no autofocus or flash. Neither was there a front-facing camera.

The resistive screen would prove to divide opinion. It was harder to use and required more of a tactile press to operate, and accuracy was harder to achieve. Other phones bundled in a stylus to help, but this was missing in the Tocco Lite.

Current Pricing and Future Prospects:

The S5230 was a relatively important milestone, although arguably has a lot of competition in the second-hand market nowadays. Only handsets in good condition and with original accessories may get premiums.

Where can I get one?

Both Ebay and Amazon have second-hand and refurbished models.

Interested in more phones? See a list of phones I own here.

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