Over the years we've seen plenty of wild and wacky ideas for mobile phones, from the twisty turny, Nokia 3250, to that perennial favourite, the mobile phone watch. However, to the best of our knowledge, there has never been a mobile phone quite like the one we're looking at today, the Samsung GT-B3310.
As well as sporting a QWERTY slide-out keyboard, this small, low-cost, sideways sliding phone also incorporates a single column of number buttons on the front. When closed these can be used to dial numbers and even bash out texts like a conventional number pad and when slid open these double as the number keys for the QWERTY keyboard. We've seen similar concepts before, like the recent Nokia E75 but all have kept a conventional keypad design on the front and a full QWERTY one on the sliding section. The way the GT-B3310 does it is just bizarre.
We're not just talking looks either as the layout is incredibly difficult to use for anything practical with the phone closed, meaning you nearly always open the phone anyway if you want to type something. As such, the number keys might as well be put on the slide-out section. The obvious counter argument is that the number keys wouldn't comfortably fit on such a small device but if that's the case then just make the phone larger. After all, with a thickness of 17.5mm, it's hardly the sleekest of phones going. That said, the keyboard is surprisingly effective, despite the letter keys consisting of a single rubber sheet and having the space bar crammed into the middle of the bottom row.
The phone features a 2in LCD screen with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. As we would expect of a budget phone, it suffers from poor viewing angles, making it a bit of a struggle to look at for long periods, but is certainly better than some at this end of the market. Besides, with such a small screen, you're hardly going to be spending an age browsing the web, playing games, or flicking through pictures.
Below the screen is the cluster of navigation buttons that consists of a D-pad with central confirmation button, two soft-keys, and call answer/end buttons. They all offer reasonable feedback with an easily discernible click so you know when you've pressed them and in fact, are quite nice for such a budget phone.