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By Andrew Gould 3 September 2008

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Can you say “iPhone”? Well that was exactly what we thought when the F480 arrived at TechSmart’s offices. The iPhone mark II is due for launch later this year in South Africa and competitors are desperate to take a slice out of the Apple pie.

For starters the F480 could not look more like the iPhone if it tried. It is entirely devoid of buttons, except for the dial and menu buttons. But the chance of you ­noticing these buttons is slim as the first button your index finger goes for is, in fact, a speaker. Sneaky, Samsung, very sneaky.

First rate build-quality is accompanied by a beautiful touch screen that really ­impressed us. On the reverse it’s an all aluminum ­compound cover with an inset 5 megapixel camera and LED flash that takes good quality photos.

To compete against the iPhone the F480 has to have a good touch-screen, and it does. The F480 uses a ­shortcut menu, where you can drag and drop all your most often used applications. It’s like the desktop of your computer, but hopefully less cluttered.

The vibration feedback from the touch interface gives you the illusion of actually pressing buttons when using the F480, but the debate will rage for some time whether having actual buttons is ­better. The problem we had with the F480 is that the screen tends to respond a bit slowly to touch and scrolling can be a pain when viewing web-pages, it’s just a bit on the slow side.

The F480 has many good features that you’d expect from the top of the range types, including 3G, Video playback and an FM radio. But on the down side text input is not what it could have been. iPhone resemblances apart, the F480 is a beautiful piece of engineering.

PROS
The shortcut menu and 5 megapixel camera with LED flash are excellent.
CONS
The screen tends to respond a bit slowly to touch and scrolling and text input is not what it could have been.
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