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Hands-on with Samsung’s F700

[intro]Samsung has flown us to Korea so we can have a snoop around its secret gadget bunker – and inside we've had a play with the iPhone-troubling

[intro]Samsung has flown us to Korea so we can have a snoop around its secret gadget bunker – and inside we’ve had a play with the iPhone-troubling F700…[/intro]

News from a rain soaked Seoul (with a typhoon expected any minute): Samsung has just revealed a smattering of new phones and smartphones to a select collection of European journalists, and I was there to snaffle up all the details. The new devices include a GPS touting smartphone, a high end camera phone and a music and multimedia focused handset. We’ll have the details for you as soon as Samsung lifts its embargo.

In the meantime, I’ve manged to get a hands-on with the new F700. It’s a touchscreen device, exclusive to Vodafone for the forseeable future, and features an award winning UI named ‘Croix’ (French for ‘cross’). The start menu is (funnily enough) cross shaped – featuring phone, messaging, camera and music shortcuts at the four points – and the main menu uses a cross shaped target style selection method.

The phone isn’t multi-touch but the UI is very pretty and seems fairly intuitive. The screen reorientates itself when your turn the phone in a similar way to the iPhone but it only uses a touchscreen keyboard for typing phone numbers. The execs here were keen to stress that it isn’t ‘in direct competition with the iPhone’ but despite their protestations, it’s clearly going to be lumped into the ever growing band of potential iPhone killers. As it’s subsidised for Vodafone customers that get it on contract and features 3G, HSDPA, a decent 3MP camera and a slide out QWERTY keyboard it could well be the best iPhone alternative out there.

We’ll be getting hold of one next week, so expect to see a full hands-on and review then.