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Samsung S5560 Marvel Review

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The Samsung S5560, also known as the Samsung S5560 Marvel, is a mid-range touchscreen phone which packs a 5-megapixel camera. Read on to see what else it has to offer and how it fares in our review.

What we like

The Samsung S5560 features three customisable home screens from which you can drag widgets to a toolbar on the left hand side of the screen; you can also add shortcuts to your favourite websites, social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and things like the music player and the S5560’s Wi-Fi settings. This allows you to create your own network of links on the homepages giving you quick access to the features you want to use the most.

We really liked this freedom to customise the handset, and set up links to the Wi-Fi controls, the music player and the camera. On the Wi-Fi settings menu hotspots within reach are displayed on a sonar-style screen which is a nice touch. From here you simply tap on a Wi-Fi point to connect, or enter a password if the hotspot is encrypted. The music quality of the player is good enough, but not astounding. The sound is well balanced and the supplied headphones (3.5mm) are comfortable and not too leaky.

The camera gives you an extensive range of options such as anti-shake and blink detection. You can change the image quality from superfine down to to normal, as well as changing the maximum resolution of each shot as you would do on a point and shoot digital camera, which helps save memory space on the card. There are also a variety of lighting (sunset, against light, party/indoor) and shooting options (smile mode, single shot, continuous, panorama).

Panoramic shot mode works particularly well; it lets you take six pictures which it then sticks together for you to view as one large oblong for you to pan around with your finger in the gallery. The camera helpfully renders some guidelines on the screen so you know where to point the S5560, so you don’t get any overlapping shots in your nice panoramic swoop. Once you’ve taken a panoramic shot, you can view it in the gallery where you can zoom in and pan left and right with your finger. This took us back to ye olde Zork games on the PC.

What we don’t like

The resistive touchscreen isn’t terribly responsive so it makes for difficult typing and texting. Entering usernames, passwords, Wi-Fi keys, email addresses – often long combinations of letters and numbers – is fiddly and as there’s sometimes a lag between presses, you find yourself making mistakes. When composing texts and emails you can switch to landscape mode which we found easier to type in. However this way you only get two lines of text per message. We couldn’t find a way to reduce the text size in any of the settings menus.

While it’s great to be able to customise the homescreens, we found that it was all too easy to accidentally drag widgets out onto a homescreen field with a careless flick of the finger.

Call quality on the Samsung S5560 is not great – we found that even calling from an area with adequate signal resulted in muffled and unclear calls.

Lack of 3G means that checking Facebook and Twitter is problematic – though you can connect using Wi-Fi, we found that we often got ‘network failure please retry’ messages.

While the audio quality of the music player isn’t bad, the album artwork is pixellated and low quality which detracts from the overall music listening experience. Using the provided Samsung PC Studio software to move music and other files to the phone is a real drag; you’re better off plugging the phone in via USB and manually moving files across.

We were big fans of the camera but, disappointingly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to activate the LED photo light when you’re not in camcorder mode – which means you can’t take any pictures in the dark or at night.

Conclusion

The Samsung S5560 has some good features but is seriously let down by the unresponsive touchscreen, the lack of a flash on the otherwise good camera and the absence of 3G hobbles the S5560’s internet features.

Specification

OSProprietary

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