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We’ve already seen the Genio Touch and the Genio Qwerty, but now it’s time to meet the Slide, the latest addition to Samsung’s expanding line-up of Genio handsets. Targeted at those types who are constantly messaging their mates, either via text, email or social networking sites like Facebook, it has a full keyboard that slides out from the main body of the phone – hence the name.
At first glance, the phone looks almost identical to the Touch. It’s got the same button layout with a four-way controller at the bottom of the screen that’s flanked by two call control keys. There’s a standard headphone jack at the top and a micro-USB port on the right-hand side next to the lock switch and camera button. Also like the Touch, it comes with two swappable battery covers. The white one is fitted as standard, but there’s also a black one or a patterned clad version if you want to jazz up the look of the phone a bit. Swappable covers used to mean sub standard build quality, but that’s not the case here as the covers snap firmly into place leaving the phone feeling quite solid, despite the slightly plasticky finish.
The 2.8in touchscreen is a bit on the small side and has a limited resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, but that’s to be expected on a handset in this price bracket. Nevertheless, it’s bright and the viewing angle isn’t too narrow so text is easy to read and videos are very watchable. However, the low resolution is a bit of a problem when you’re using the web browser, as you find you have to do quite a bit of scrolling around when navigating pages. For most other tasks, however, it works reasonably well and is helped by the fact that the phone’s interface isn’t too cluttered.
While the screen may be a bit average, the slide-out keyboard is excellent. It’s laid out across four lines of keys and although the keys are packed tightly together they’re larger than other messaging phones we’ve used recently, making 'thumb typing' very comfortable. The layout is good too with all the main punctuation symbols accessible without the need for any fiddly key combinations. However, there’s no standard shift key, instead the capslock key doubles for both functions. This isn’t a big issue as the predictive text engine automatically capitalises the first letter after a full stop, so you don’t actually need the shift function that often.
As with the other Genio handsets, the Slide relies on Samsung’s TouchWiz interface. This is relatively basic compared to the iPhone or Android operating systems, but it’s still easy to use and reasonably powerful. The homescreen is divided up into three panels that you access by sliding your finger left or right across the touchscreen, much as you do on Android. At the side of each panel there’s a pull out tab that houses a number of widgets that you can drag onto the panel and rearrange as you like. There are also shortcuts at the bottom of the display for the dialler, contacts book and main menu. Hit the main menu button and you’ll be presented with a grid of icons arranged over three pages giving you access to stuff like the settings menu, music player, calendar and instant messaging client.