It would appear that Samsung is making a serious move for the entry-level touch-screen mobile market, as they have a variety of phones to choose from, including the Samsung Star, Corby and Genoa. The Genoa we think is a bit more stylish than the Star, thanks to its sculpted and more rounded shape. It is compact (103.9 x 55.4 x 12.9 mm) and should be adored by the Justin Bieber-loving generation.
This easy-to-use TouchWiz User Interface (UI) is displayed on the Genoa's 2.8" resistive touch-screen (240 x 320 pixels). The phone also boasts FM Radio, social networking connectivity including Facebook (no MXit pre-installed though) and a dismal 1.3 megapixel camera. The camera lacks a flash and is only really good for taking pics you can view on your phone or send in an MMS. It does however have a 3.5 mm audio jack for when you want to make use of better quality headphones.
Browsing on the Genoa could have been better. The onboard browser doesn't really cut it, with pages to big for the screen, resulting in a lot of scrolling, plus the resistive touch-screen can sometimes be a little too resistive to one's touch, and this can be hindrance if you find yourself typing on MXit. The phone lacks 3G though, but loading times aren't too bad while you are connected through Edge. Battery life stands at almost three days with moderate usage.
Samsung adds and interesting function with fake calling. We first encountered this on the S7350 and is best employed for dodging unwanted come-ons or avoiding awkward conversations. You activate it by inconspicuously pressing the volume key on the side of the phone and a few seconds later your phone rings as if you were receiving a real call. You can even pre-record a conversation that will be played back during the fake call for added realism.
As the device is targeted at teens, the TouchWiz user interface (UI) that you’ll find on most other Samsung touch-screen phones, has been adapted a little. It is still widget-driven and there are still three home-screens which you can populate with your chosen selection of widgets. The difference is that when you press the menu button, you are taken to a large selection of apps and phone functions. This is simpler to use than the Star’s for example, which takes you to a main menu sporting the phones functions, with another tab for apps (which are grouped under Communication, Tools and Multimedia).
This affordable device brings together all the features that younger users can demand from their mobile in an affordable package. The measly 1.3 megapixel camera is a bit of a concern, and the finicky resistive touch experience should have been more responsive. Still, the Genoa retails for a good R1499, which for an entry-level touch-screen isn't to bad.