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By Hanleigh Daniels 9 October 2009

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If you are in the market for a compact, palm-friendly phone that will ease your transition into the touch-screen scene and at the same time fit your budget as well as it does your pocket, then the Samsung Star is worth considering.     

The Screen
The Star with its neat and stylish, if somewhat boring, design fits snugly in the hand. The focus is on the 3" touch-screen, which not only looks good, but also performed really well. It’s lined underneath by the call accept, call reject, and back buttons. While not particularly big, they worked well in conjunction with the touch-screen operation. 
Rather than offering only one home screen, the Star has three different screens that can be customised with different widgets. As an example you can adapt one of the screens to display your MP3 player and radio icons. If you’re in the mood for music you simply use your finger to slide to this screen and it will remain as your “home” screen. We’ve seen this on the HTC Android phones and the concept works well. The anti-slip surfacing on the back cover adds a nice practical touch as well.  
Camera and music
Its 3.2 megapixel camera takes good quality pictures and is easy to operate, but it doesn’t come with a flash. This means that if you’re up for some photos during an evening out with your mates or during overcast and bad-light conditions, your pics will come out a bit blurry.  When playing music the sound quality is good and the standard headset is okay, but there’s no 3.5 mm jack if you want to use your own headphones. 
Storage space is also limited with an internal memory capacity of 50 MB, but the external memory card slot can support up to 8 GB. You can’t hotswop the microSD card though, the implication of this being, you have to remove the battery and hence, turn the phone off, which is another minor inconvenience. 
Browsing
While the phone contains an accelerometer that switches from portrait and landscape while texting, it doesn’t do so automatically when browsing the web.  Surfing was generally pain free, with useful assistance from the volume side buttons, since they can be used to zoom in and out of a webpage. 
As an all-round package though, the Samsung Star does impress and would be ideal anyone looking to make the switch from a traditional phone to an affordable touch-screen phone. The Star retails at a recommended R2199, but is currently available for R1999 from Vodacom.
PROS
Ease of use, affordability, good battery life.
CONS
No flash for the camera, no 3G browsing.
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