Samsung Genio Review

Is Samsung's Genio anything new or just more of the same?

Like all Samsung touch screen mobile phones, the Genio comes in a small form factor and includes features that are standard across the Samsung product range. The Genio sits at the lower end of the family, which also includes the S8000.

Features and Build Quality
The review sample that I received was an edition of the Genio Touch that is exclusive to the Orange network, so included in the box alongside the usual finds were a couple of standard back covers alongside an orange coloured one that also has a slight grip, this fits into the branding and actually quite suits the looks of the phone and creates a nice juxtaposition between the glossy black plastic on the front. Also the Genio shares many of its features with other phones from Samsungs range, including its TouchWiz operating system. Naturally, some elements change slightly from phone to phone but the user is still provided with a rather substantial feature set that comes with all the expected components such as camera, email, calendar and such like but at a very affordable price.

The Orange version that I had in to review also has many functions that are specific to that network, although you’ll find the same set of apps on any mobile nowadays. These consist of:
• Social Life: Connect to social media sites such as facebook, myspace and bebo
• Orange downloads
• Orange widgets
• Messenger
• Games
• Photo

As mentioned, the phone also comes with a 2MP camera which is accessed via the same interface as Samsung’s Jet. Although unlike the Jets 5MP resolution the Genios is good for little else than enjoying on screen – or 6x4 print, and image quality suffers to. That said, this is a lower end phone and many camera phones still don’t come with a higher spec camera than this, so it’s hard to complain. Unlike the Jet though the Genio hasn’t got a front facing camera so you won’t be making any video calls either.

Not that you’d be able to if it did. The Genio is a phone that is as much about what features it doesn’t ship with as of the ones it does. The most striking of which is a lack of 3G connectivity, the logic behind leaving this out must be down cost cutting – both for manufacturer and end user. However, this is a mobile that sits alongside smart-phones (admittedly at the lower end) and to not include a technology that has become a standard in this market reduces the Genio from being a contender to just a pretender. Other technology that would be nice but are noticeable by their absence are Wi-Fi, GPS and motion sensitivity, all of which are again, fast becomes industry standards.

Feature set aside the build quality is what sets the Genio apart from its cousins at first appearance. The plastic casing doesn’t carry the same level of quality and due to the nature of the snap on/off back casing, feels somewhat of a bad fit and results in an overall lack of robustness when in hand. You would probably find yourself wincing if the Genio accidentally fell out of your hand.

Usability
The screen resolution is adequate although not anything to shout about, this is most visable when looking at text, such as in the menu system where a distinct jaggedness can be noticed. Some anti-aliasing wouldn’t have been out of place here, although this could be seen as a rather minor point and certainly won’t get in the way of the Genio’s usability. The touchscreen is impressive in use and certainly more responsive than others that I’ve come across, so no sore pads or aching joints after using this phone.

The menu system itself is the same as can be seen on Samsung’s other touch screen phones as it uses the same operating system. Other standard features include an FM radio and an MP3 player complete with earplugs and hands-free clip. One nice thing about the Genio with regard to it's multimedia capabilities is that Samsung have built in MicroSD compatibility with support for up to 8GB so if yoou do use the Genio as your principle device you will have the luxury of being able to carry around a good chunk of music, photos and video wherever you go. 

It’s clear that the Genio is well and truly aimed at the younger audience. It has a clear direction to the social media market via the Orange social life application allowing you to stay in touch with every facebook, twitter or myspace update that you do – or don’t – care about. And, when you’re done wasting your time reading about how your mates are spending theirs, you could use the Genio to make a phone call with.

Verdict: 
The Genio is a good looking phone with many of the features that anybody would want. If you’re looking for a true smartphone then the Genio is probably a bit to limited for you. If however, you’re a general consumer or care greatly about web surfing on the move then the Genio Touch is most likely well suited. Whatever the case, it’s hard to deny that overall the Genio is a good buy and at £100 (at time of review) is a bargain to boot.