Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Review: Samsung Glyde phone

Rating: 2 (0=toss in trash, 10=give as nice gifts) in a DBA/IT operational environment.

This phone sucks. It has the worst user interface I've seen in any phone since I started using them more than ten years ago. What's wrong with this phone? Plenty.

The screen is heat sensitive (not touch sensitive) so accidentally allowing your face to touch the phone at one of the button points will activate the pad and likely send the person on the other end (and your ear, of course) a really annoying tone. Also, because it's heat sensitive, if you're into doing things outdoors when it's cold (I bike year-round), the phone may not be able to sense your keypresses in the event your fingers get cold enough. I suppose I could learn to live with these "features" if it weren't for my next major gripe.

Often, when I touch the pad, the phone thinks I'm pressing somewhere on the phone that's nowhere near where I'm pressing. For example, when in portrait mode, I unlock the pad (so I don't annoy the person on the other hand when the phone bumps my face), then want to click the end button. If I've typed any keys accidentially or intentionally, it isn't there, so I have to click on the "back" button. Assuming I can press that button (I often can't for the same reason that will become very apparent in a moment), often when the phone is cold, I press the end button on the pad and I can watch it display a depressed button two buttons to the left of the end button. When that happens, I am forced to either wait for the person on the other end to hang up, or power the phone off using a button on the side.

If you thought this phone had a standard USB-sized port on the side for charging, forget it. I thought I would be able to use this phone more like a PDA and transfer appointments to/from it, synchronize my settings with my laptop, and other handy similar things you can do with almost any PDA. I guess Samsung didn't think that was very important so (at least on my Verizon version), the only way I can sync things is through their web-based service and even that is only limited to contacts. :-(

The web browser sort-of supports Javascript, so using sites like Blogger.com are difficult at best (when you're turned off Javascript support in the phone). Of course, when you do that, you loose the ability to use the nice WYSIWYG editor we're so used to. Even if you turn off Javascript, you're limited to 2,048 keystrokes and you can't send the ENTER key like you can on a regular computer. How lame.

Signal with the Glyde on the Verizon network in and around Denver has been "okay" but definitely not great. My Qwest phone had fewer dropped calls and low signal issues than this phone. I am not sure if it's the phone, the network, or the locations I'm operating the phone from, but I'm not impressed at this point.

The Glyde also has some pretty tight restrictions on memory available. Just to copy a single CD-worth of 56Kbps .wmv files onto the phone, I had to add a MicroSD card to the phone. Want to listen to music privately? You'll need an adapter to bring your headphone size down if you're used to using the same headphones you use on your laptop or desktop computer.

The camera operation is "okay" as well, however, it often gets confused and enters recording mode when I just want a snapshot.

Having talked to a number of Verizon reps, I've learned that this phone is Verizons most problematic offering today.

Okay - having said all that "bad stuff" I think it's only fair to talk about some of the good (though difficult to find) things. I do like that it comes with both a wall-based charger and a USB cable to transfer music to the phone that can also act as a charger for the phone as well. I like the operation of the sliding mechanism and how it protects the keyboard. I also like that when viewing web pages, I can zoom in or out.

All in all, if I had known then (when I bought the phone) what I know now, I would never have even looked at the Glyde.

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