Although Samsung may be riding high with some of its recent releases, it doesn’t shy away from lower-specced fashion devices aimed at women.
The Samsung Diva is a great example of this. It may not be the highest performing device on Samsung’s portfolio, but it’s perfect for those who maybe don’t want all the bells and whistles, just something that looks pretty and still features a touchscreen and web browser.
The first thing to notice on the Diva is its off-square touchscreen. It’s not a fancy AM-OLED number, or particularly high-resolution (240×320 pixels), but it is capacitive. This immediately puts it on a good firm foundation, and shows up the Sony Ericsson Vivaz that still believes it can make do with resistive.
The display gives a satisfying amount of haptic feedback on every press, ensuring you’re aware that you’ve tapped a letter or pressed on part of the screen, although the display is a little too small for properly viewing content-rich web pages, especially with no pinch to zoom functionality.
Living up to the fashion branding, the Diva has a couple of touches to make it stand out from the crowd. There’s a rather strange ‘padded effect’ backplate, although it’s hard plastic, and below the screen is the navigation button, disguised as a rather large gem. Much like the rest of the Diva, it will either look ‘bling’ or incredibly tacky, depending on your personal sensibility.
On either side of this ‘gem’ are the call answer and end keys. Around the edges, buttons are kept to a minimum with camera and lock keys on the right side, volume keys to the left. They’re a little too small for most adult-sized fingers, but there’s a good chance that it won’t be appealing to many adults anyway.
The interface continues on the same theme. The font used is italic in an attempt to make it look a little different from more serious interfaces. You can change between four fonts and a number of wallpapers and themes, which is quite a relief.
The Diva uses Samsung’s TouchWiz UI – one of the first widget-based systems on non-smartphones. It is better than that used on lower-budget handsets, such as Alcatel’s One Touch Mini. To change widgets, you simply tap to pull out the widget bar and drag and drop them onto one of the customisable homescreens.
There are three homescreens in total – a feature that’s handy and certainly works well on Android handsets. The problem is you can cram them with widgets, which aren’t locked to any sort of grid, making everything a complete mess. It’s also quite easy to accidentally drag a widget instead of selecting it.
The camera is surprisingly good for a budget device. It’s 3.15-megapixels in resolution, with autofocus, and is only really let down by a slight delay when taking photos. This isn’t a traditional shutter lag, but a delay in processing the photos.
Fitness in fashion
In an attempt to fit in with a supposedly more health and fashion conscious audience, the Diva comes preloaded with a number of unique widgets that include diet, stop smoking and a list-style shopping app. In this way it tries a little too hard to fit into the controversial girly stereotype of pink phones.
There’s also a whole range of social network widgets available for you to put on your homescreen including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Bebo and MySpace for instant social networking access. These widgets aren’t as intuitive as their smartphone counterparts, but are fine if you only use your social networking once or twice a day.
Although the Samsung Diva is perfectly usable as a budget device, it is missing a number of features that we’ve come to expect on touchscreen devices. There’s no 3G or Wi-Fi and the quirky design feels somewhat unnecessary as an attempt to look fashionable. The Diva is just the beginning of a new range, so expect more handsets to come.
The Samsung Diva is obviously designed for those who just aren’t satisfied by the bland styling of the Samsung Tocco Lite or LG’s Cookie. It’s a simple device with lower-res screens than its competitors and no 3G, but the familiar TouchWiz UI is as easy to use, providing you change the rather hard to read default ‘fashion’ font with something more readable, and the wallpaper with something less garish. You won’t find any fancy features, but that’s probably not the point – for around £100 on prepay, you get a solid touchscreen handset that does its job.