The Samsung Diva is aimed at women who are happy to sacrifice useful features for a phone that looks blinging and comes with free make-up. It's as shallow as a puddle of rain water but, if you like the Diva's looks and think appearance is everything, it could be worth a look -- there are worse budget phones out there.
You can pick the Diva up for free on a £15-per-month contract, or for £140 on a pay-as-you-go deal. You can also buy it SIM-free for around £170.
If looks could kill
If you're not sure whether the Diva is for you, all you have to do is take a look at its white, pearly case with its quilted effect. Like it? Like it so much that you're willing to sacrifice a few handy features? Then the phone might suit you.
In a straw poll of phone lovers at CNET UK Towers, there weren't many fans of the Diva among the nerdy but ridiculously handsome and intelligent men folk. A few Diva lovers did emerge, however, approving of the phone's white case. But the girly user interface, with its hideous swooping font and garish pink wallpaper, was less popular among the troops as a whole.
The Diva does have some things going for it besides its fashionista exterior, though. For example, it's got a capacitive touchscreen, which means it can be used with a light swipe of a well-manicured finger. Unfortunately, the phone is rather sluggish at times, so the screen didn't feel responsive enough, especially when typing.
The Diva has an alphanumeric virtual keyboard -- not a full Qwerty one. That means you have to press each key numerous times to input the desired letter, which can make typing a text message a slow experience.
But the Diva is light enough that it won't strain even the most delicate handbag, weighing only 93g.
Unlike the iPhone, the Diva doesn't support the installation of complex apps, but it does have a couple of more basic programs on-board. There's a 'wish list' app, which claims to be a way of keeping track of stuff you want to buy, but it doesn't offer any impressive abilities, such as online price searches -- it's just a note-taking app with some pre-defined text fields.
There are also widgets, which you can place on one of the three home screens from a dock that slides out from the side. We're not big fans of this set-up for two reasons: the widgets are easy to move accidentally when you're swiping the touchscreen, and the widgets themselves are pretty basic. Samsung has, however, improved the Facebook widget, giving the Diva better social-networking chops than some of the company's other phones.
Instead of just a link to the Facebook Web site, the Facebook widget gives you a live feed of status updates on your home screen. You can also go into the full Facebook app to keep connected. But the widget still only shows a few characters of your mates' updates, and it's not a patch on the functionality of other budget phones targeted at social networkers, like the INQ Chat 3G. Also, without 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity, we found getting online a very slow and unreliable experience.
Samsung says the Diva's 3.2-megapixel camera comes with 'various beauty-editing features', but we couldn't find anything specifically targeted at improving portraits. You do get some camera options, such as taking black-and-white or sepia photos, and editing options, like cropping, but there are no soft-focus, retouching or portrait modes.
The camera was slow to load and, without an LED light, you may struggle in low light. But the photo quality is fine for capturing a profile pic for your contact list, for example. It's also possible to upload your snaps to Facebook, as well as Flickr, Bebo, Picasa and quite a few other services, but, again, the lack of surfing speed is a problem. There's no GPS functionality either, so geotagging your photos with details of where you took them -- or even checking your location on a map -- is out of the question.
Unless you've fallen in love with its unique appearance, we don't think it's worth getting the Samsung Diva, as you'll need to go without the features found on other phones that are just as inexpensive.
Happily, though, you don't have to give up a girly design to get those features, even if you don't want to shell out the dosh for a top-of-the-line, pink HTC Hero. The Samsung Blade from Vodafone (also known as the Preston and S5600) comes in pink, has a diamond-shaped button like the Diva's, costs the same on a monthly contract, and has HSPA support and a camera light. We'd recommend you get that instead.
Edited by Charles Kloet