Is the Samsung S5233 really a star? Find out for yourself in our review of the phone that also covers its features, price and technical specifications.

Mobile Phones: Samsung: Samsung S5233 Star

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Samsung S5233 Star

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The Samsung S5233 Star is a budget touchscreen phone that offers a lot of basic high-end goodies for users. While it doesn’t excel in anything special it does live up to its name in more ways than one- through sales figures that are already through the roof. This one is definitely a star for the masses.

Design and Looks
The Star shares heritage with Samsung's Tocco line of phones. It is also alternatively known as the Tocco Lite and promises to be as legendary as the other Tocco phones. The form of the Tocco Lite reflects its price tag. It is both compact and light weight featuring a modest 3 inch display which is the deciding factor of a touchscreen phone's size. The display is of the resistive type and like most resistive touchscreens requires the firm press of the stylus to register a click. It does not have the capacitive qualities of the resistive touchscreen of say, the Jet, but fits the bill perfectly well. The brightness level of the display is good enough although visibility and colours do get washed out in sunlight.

As for the rest phone exterior- the Star has a simple generic touchscreen phone design. The only distinguishing feature here would be the metallic frame bordering the front edges of the phone. The front features the three hardware keys namely the call, end and back key. Above the display lies the earpiece, there is however no ambient light sensor nearby. The design at the back is essentially the only place where touchscreen phones can really show some individuality. In this case, the Star has a dotted back that also makes gripping easy. The camera and the self-portrait mirror are located at the upper left corner and are placed on a grooved metallic plate. This plate is recessed offering the only protection to the generally unprotected lens against scratches. A minor flaw in the design is the placement of the memory card slot which lies below the battery, so, no hot-swapping.

Like most Samsung touchscreens the Star features the intuitive and popular home-bred TouchWiz User Interface. If it wasn't for the amazing TouchWiz UI, most potential Samsung customers would shy away from their phones. And like always, the TouchWiz does not fail to impress. It features three homescreens that are changeable by sideways sweeps. Each homescreen can store as many widgets as the user desires and the same can be dragged dropped or removed from the homescreen using the widget side-tray. The widgets can be aligned by simply shaking the handset; this is possible thanks to the motion sensing accelerometer that's present on the phone.

The user interface is a bit laggy and users are cautioned from running too many applications at the same time. An interesting feature that's available here and on every other TouchWiz phone is the Smart Unlock feature which lets users lock and unlock the phone by drawing the appropriate user-programmed letter across the screen of the phone. Similarly, users can assign a letter to open any other application in much the same way.

The phonebook here is the same as on other TouchWiz devices. It can store up to 2000 contacts with multiple fields for each contact. What's novel about the phonebook is the photo call feature. Normally photocall would imply thumbing through pictures of contacts on the phonebook and then dialing the person you wish to speak to, but in the TouchWiz devices such as the Jet, photocall also means that you can tag each of many faces on a single group photo so that each contact is just a touch away from a call.

Telephony is perfect for the price paid but what's really great about the phone is the loudspeaker- the Star has the best loudspeaker for a touchscreen phone. Unfortunately a key feature missing here that's present in even low end phones is the Smart Dial.

As usual messaging options include SMS, MMS, Email and IM. Input support is provided by the virtual QWERTY keypad, virtual alphanumeric keypad and handwriting recognition. The virtual QWERTY is fairly comfortable for touchscreen standards thanks to the large screen that affords widely spaced keys. For those of you that are used to texting with the regular alphanumeric keypad that is common to non-touchscreen phones, you can invoke the virtual version of the keypad while texting.

The native email client has support for many common types of email formats and servers. The client is capable of sending attachments up to 5MB in size. It also offers support for all common types of office documents. So, you can view Word, Excel or PowerPoint attachments without having to open them separately with the office application.

The music playing capabilities of the phone are decent at best notwithstanding the presence of the DNSe technology (Digital Natural Sound engine) which offers sound enhancements like widening, dynamic and surround effects. What's new here is that music fastforward and rewind. The music player application is feature laden and can replace standalone portable music players. The music player can also be controlled from the homescreen. The FM radio application comes with RDS support. To top it off, there is a Find Music recognition that identifies the song being played on the radio provided your GPRS is activated. It works in much the same way as Sony Ericsson's Track ID music recognition feature. There is also an option to record songs off the radio. On the hardware front, the audio output is nothing remarkable.

The videoplayer sports a simple interface. It supports a variety of formats including MPEG4. There is however no support for VGA videos, not that it will be missed. Changing the orientation of the video from portrait to landscape is possible by simple tilting the phone to the desired orientation. This is possible thanks to the phone's accelerometer.

The phone does not have a Photo browser but the in-built picture gallery is more than sufficient. It is completely motion operable- sweeping the finger across the screen causes the photo to switch. Like the videoplayer, changing the phone's orientation switches the picture's orientation from landscape to portrait or vice-versa.

The 3MP camera on board provides only the bare minimum. It does not come with flash or autofocus. Thankfully, the camera interface provides users with a lot of options including Smile Shot. When Smile Shot is activated, depressing the click button will not result in immediate shooting of the photo, rather the camera begins to track the face of the subject and when the subject smiles, takes the shot. The photos come out reasonably well exhibiting good contrast and near-accurate colour representation. Being a 3MP camera, image-noise levels are naturally quite high; however the camera offers noise suppression, but at times even that's too aggressive at times erasing out all detail. Video recording is not up to the mark though and can manage only a maximum of QVGA resolution with not more than 15 frames per second. Naturally the interface is completely touch optimized and also very user-friendly.

Connectivity options are less- there is no 3G or WiFi and the best the phone manages to provide is Bluetooth, GPRS and EDGE. Still, there's not a lot one can expect at this price. Speaking of GPRS, the phone comes with the home-grown WebKit based Dolfin browser. The browser is excellent and features full flash and Java support. It supports kinetic scrolling in full-screen mode but the motion is very sluggish. There is also an inbuilt pop-up blocker called AdBlocker. Besides this there an option for one finger zoom and double-tap zoom also. The browser does not support tabbed browsing but can open up to five windows at a time. This is however not always the case; opening more than three pages at a time will slow down the browsing drastically.

Then ofcourse there is the office document viewer developed by Access that supports common office document types such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF. The application opens files quickly but panning is slow. And although there is no GPS receiver pre-installed on the phone it does come with Google Maps pre-loaded.

Expectations from a touchscreen are always high. The Samsung Star being a touchscreen, will disappoint people with its lack of high end features. But let's not forget the price it's selling at… and it has already sold many millions…

  • 3 inch TFT resistive touchscreen of WQVGA resolution
  • 3MP camera with smile detection
  • Intuitive TouchWiz user interface
  • 50MB internal memory expandable to 16GB
  • Smart unlock
  • Digital Natural Sound engine (DNSe) technology for enhanced listening experience
  • Find Music recognition service

  • Samsung WEP301 (Black and Silver)
  • MicroUSB Bluetooth Headset
  • Samsung WEP470 Progressive Noise Filtering Bluetooth Headset
  • Samsung WEP250 Bluetooth Earpiece
  • Samsung WEP350 (Red, Silver and Black)
  • Samsung WEP460
  • HKT600 Bluetooth Car Kit

Samsung S5233 Star Phone Samsung S5233 Star Touchscreen Phone
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Samsung S5233 Star Price India
Price:Rs. 9,600
Warranty (years): 1
Color Options:Black, White, Pink

Technical Specifications of Samsung S5233 Star
Overview Body Type Bar
Battery Life/Talk time 10.0 Hours
Standby Talktime 800 Hours
Dimensions Width 53 mm
Depth 12 mm
Length 104 mm
Weight 94 g
Camera Camera Yes
Secondary Camera NO
Camera Resolution 3.15 MP
Camera Flash N/A
Auto Focus NO
Display Display Size 3.0 inches
Display Resolution 240 x 400 pixels
Dispaly Type TFT Touchscreen
Colours 256K
Memory Internal Memory 50MB
Card Slot Yes
Complimentary Card No
Expandable Memory 16 GB
Multimedia Features FM Radio Yes
MP3 Player Yes
Connectivity Options Wi-Fi NO
Bluetooth Yes
Infrared NO
USB Connector Yes
Technology Cellular Network GSM
SIM Type Single SIM
Operating System Operating System TouchWiz UI
Features Input Type TFT Resistive Touchscreen
Handsfree Speaker Yes
Flight Mode Yes
Inbulit Dictaphone Yes
Flashlight NO
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