Samsung Genio review -

3

Review by Sunetra Chakravati, 12/12/2011 3:56:26 PM

6out of 10
Performance
8 out of 5
Look and feel
8 out of 5
Ease of use
6 out of 5
Features
6 out of 5
Battery life
Pros:

Continuous news feeds from Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Cons:

The YouTube application fails on account of the EDGE data speeds failing to cope with the necessary streaming.

Samsung’s marketing team has been in overdrive this last month or so. Turn on your TV set and a run of adverts is bound to feature the psychedelic turns of their latest touch-screen phone to the tune of La Roux’s Bullet Proof. The phone in question is the Samsung Genio, a phone primarily aimed at the youth market.

So what makes the Samsung Genio youth friendly? Well, two things really. Firstly, the phone comes with a variety of interchangeable covers, ranging from a garish yellow to a blinding pink. The second is that the phone is embedded with a range of widgets that act as shortcuts to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, and even my Grandma knows that social networking is the preferred means of contact for anyone under the age of 25.

Look and feel

The Genio resembles a pebble in terms of its shape and it fits snugly into the palm of your hand. It feels great and despite not being won over by the loud back covers (we’re clearly not the target demographic) we admired the polished black front fascia. Apart from three hard keys; a call, call end key and a centre key – which somewhat confusingly is the back button, the phone is dominated by a 2.8-inch TFT capacitive touch-screen. We’re pleased to say it’s highly responsive, perhaps even a little too much so. When typing texts with the T9 mode switched off we sometimes found that if we left our digit on a key for even a millisecond too long, then it would skip to the next character.

While its responsiveness cannot be questioned, the display is not the sharpest we’ve encountered with some of the menu icons in particular looking a tad dowdy and pixelated. With no 3G the Genio instead relies on EDGE data speeds to access the internet. The overall browsing experience was good with only a degree of patience needed for sites to load up in full. However, we would have preferred it if we could view the sites in landscape, while the YouTube widget was next to redundant as the EDGE data speeds just couldn’t cope with the necessary streaming.

Social networker

As mentioned, social networking is key to the Genio’s appeal. By signing in via the designated widgets, quick feeds to Facebook, Twitter and MySpace can rest on your home screens, keeping you continually updated with your online community. Each feed takes up a sizeable chunk of the display however, so it’s a good thing Samsung has included three home screens – if you have an account with all these networks, we suggest putting one on each page to enable you to read them untroubled. Frustratingly, despite being logged into Twitter, if you want to visit the site in full you will again be required to enter your details. This is not the case with Facebook, with a firm press on the quick feed taking you to the site in full.

The two-megapixel camera is never going to win over any photography enthusiasts, with no flash making low light and night time shots virtually impossible. Of course, it’s important to remember that this is an entry-level phone, so to judge it in comparison to much higher-end, more equipped phones is somewhat harsh. With this in mind we overlooked the lack of 3G and the aforementioned poor camera experience, focusing instead on what the Genio sets out to be – a ‘funky’ social networking device that kids will be proud to pull out in class or on the bus. Something Samsung achieves.

The verdict

Samsung may be targeting a niche market with the Genio, but we feel we’re not too long in the tooth to remember what it was like to be footloose and fancy free. So with our teen hat on (backwards, naturally) we can see the appeal in the Samsung Genio and expect it to hit its mark.