Written on 12/01/2010 12:50:00 PM by poison_ivy
Last year, I thought the Samsung Genio Touch was the cheapest touchscreen phone as far as touchscreen mobile phones can go but 1 year later, Samsung outdid themselves and came up with an even cheaper touchscreen mobile phone in the form of the Samsung Libre C3300 or also known as Samsung Champ in other parts of the world.
While the Samsung Libre C3300 may not have the pizazz that the Genio Touch has, thanks to the latter's interchangeable back covers, the Samsung Libre does come in different colors. Aside from being the cheapest touchscreen mobile phone, the Samsung C3300 might also be the tiniest touchscreen mobile phone out there. Sporting a 2.4 inch screen and dimensions of 96.3 x 53.8 x 12.9 mm, this phone seems to drown in your hands if you have very large palms.
On top of the mobile phone is the microUSB slot and the 3.5mm headset jack, on the right side is the lock/power button, on the left is the volume control, underneath the battery cover is the microSD slot, and at the back you can find the stylus if you find that your fat fingers can't scroll through the screen.
So, what does a tiny phone has to offer? Well, for £49 on Pay as You go, don't expect too much. The Samsung Libre C3300 has touchwiz interface though because of the 2.4 inch screen, you're limited to one widget per page (if it's a very large widget) or up to four if its a normal sized icon. This phone has a resistive touchscreen but scrolling through the menus with just your fingers is pretty responsive.
Your texts, emails, and MMS can be found in the messaging app. Text messages can be seen in a threaded view. Setting up your email account is pretty easy. You just input your username and password and the Samsung Libre C3300 will retrieve the settings for you. Because of the 2.4 inch screen, there's no QWERTY keyboard, instead you get an alphanumeric keypad. This works out well for me considering that I type faster and have less mistakes using multitap keypad. The keypad iteself is large and covers most of the screen, it's responsive enough so you won't make a lot of mistypes. There's no accelerometer on this phone so don't expect to see a QWERTY keypad when you turn it to landscape mode.
Call quality is pretty decent though even at high volume, you have to ask the person on the other end of the line to speak up.
As for multimedia, the Samsung Libre C3300 is mostly a music phone. For a cheap phone, the music player is actually pretty good, there's album art, you can create playlists, and it even has equalizer presets. Best of all, when music is playing in the background, a widget appears on the homescreen with an album art. Audio quality is okay through the speakers though it could get tinny on higher volumes. The Samsung Champ has some sort of surround sound when using the headset. As for video playback, well, because of the 240 x 320 resolution, I have had a hard time playing some videos that I used to play on some of my smartphones that have higher resolutions. Videos are a bit choppy so to be safe, it's best to convert your videos to the actual resolution of the phone.What I like best about the Samsung Libre is that the built-in FM radio doesn't need to have a headset plugged in, a feature which is lacking even in some high end smartphones.
The Samsung C3300 has a 1.3 megapixel camera and don't expect a lot of bells and whistles from it. There's no autofocus but the phone itself takes decent enough pictures especially in daylight. There's no dedicated hardware shutter button, instead, you have to press the camera button on the screen to take snapshots.
Because of its cheap price, the Samsung Libre doesn't have a lot of connectivity options. There's no 3G or WiFi, you're stuck with EDGE connections but there's Bluetooth A2DP support though if you want to stream your music wirelessly through your Bluetooth headset. I didn't like the Internet Browser that comes preinstalled on the Samsung Libre. It's laggy, I would suggest downloading opera mini to further enhance your browsing experience.
As for battery life, because it doesn't have 3G or WiFi, the Samsung C3300 actually lasted around 2 days with average use. Not bad.
If you already have a mid-range touchscreen phone with you, I don't see the sense of buying the Samsung Libre C3300 as I'm sure a lot of midrange phones have better features but if you're looking for your first cheap touchscreen phone, or you want to give one as a gift to your child or tweener, The Samsung Libre C3300 is your best bet. For £49 and a lot of cool features, you can bet that you're getting the best bang for your buck.