Samsung is sticking to its slider guns with the Soul U900, which incorporates modern technology into a classic design. Frills aside, we wanted to make sure that the Soul wasn't a hollow, gimmick-led phone with no oomph.
When we first saw the Samsung Soul at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we didn't understand the fuss. Taking it out of the box months later, we've changed our minds -- not only does it feel weighty enough but on second glance, it's also rather attractive.
The Soul sits just right in our hand. A part metal casing gives it a solid look and feel. Everything is well laid out from the keypad to the screen. Some people might find it too chunky, but we think Samsung's hit the nail on the head, size-wise.
We weren't impressed by LG's attempt at using dual screens on the KF600 but the Soul pulls it off. The navigation touchscreen at the bottom is very responsive and provides an adequate amount of vibrating feedback.
Fortunately, all the heavily-used keys such as cancel and soft keys are mechanical. You can avoid the irritation of deleting a whole text message -- as you could on the Samsung E900 -- when you mistakenly brushed the touch-sensitive cancel key.
It looks like Samsung acknowledges its past mistakes and has cleverly engineered the Soul. The 5-megapixel camera, for example, is protected behind the slide mechanism, which is a small detail that adds to the overall user experience.
The aim of having a navigation touchscreen seemed redundant at first, but starts to make sense when you use the Soul. When you access an app such as the camera, it offers a series of camera keys making it easier to change all the settings.
LG tried to achieve a similar thing on the KF600 but the often unresponsive touchpad left us tingling with frustration. Samsung's Soul reacts well to touch and you can even adjust the sensitivity of the touchpad to be higher or lower.
Fortunately, the touchpad isn't the only thing on offer. HSPDA (3.5G) allows for high-speed browsing, which is made better when you download one of our favourite programs -- Opera Mini -- to view full Web pages similarly to on a desktop.