- Low price
- Build quality
- Web browser isn't as good as a 'real' smartphone.
- Poor screen resolution
- Social networking features
- Interchangeable cases
- QWERTY keyboard
With the explosion of social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, it seems even those on the tightest of budgets want a phone that can keep up with their frenzied messaging. As such we’re starting to see more and more budget phones with full-size keyboards hitting the market. The latest to come our way is the Samsung Genio Qwerty, which is available for just £119.99 SIM free.
There’s no mistaking this is a phone aimed squarely at the consumer market as opposed to the professional. With its predominance of glossy plastic and bright yellow backplate and buttons, this phone certainly isn’t a shrinking violet. Thankfully, if swirling bright yellow isn’t for you, there’s a choice of backplates including a relatively plain black one. You’ll still be stuck with the yellow buttons, though. That said, we’re looking at the Orange branded version whereas the Virgin Media version has white highlights and backplate.
While the looks of this phone may be divisive, its ergonomics should have broader appeal. The back is curved in just such a way that the phone fits really snugly in the hand and feels well balanced. All the main navigation and typing buttons also fall within easy reach and are simple to navigate, though the D-pad is a little small. The volume rocker on the left and camera button on the right are also conveniently positioned, though considering the orientation of the screen, we think it more likely you’ll use the central D-pad button to take shots rather than the side mounted one.
Build quality is also decent with no obvious creaky or wobbly sections or noticeable gaps between panels. Being a budget device it is of course mostly plastic so lacks the solid weighty feel of more premium devices and won’t hold up as well to scratches as glass screened or metal bodied phones, though.
The layout of the keyboard is also as good as we’ve come to expect of such devices even if the space bar is a little narrow. The keys do suffer somewhat from having a slippery glossy finish but their action is decent – if a little heavy – with a nice positive break so you know when you’ve pressed a key. Our main complaint would actually be that we generally find these sorts of keyboards a little too cramped for truly speedy typing and prefer either onscreen keyboards or larger physical ones like that of the LG GW620. It’s still a definite step up from a candybar phone keyboad, though.