First Look: Samsung's Glyde Phone Has a Slick Touchscreen

An admitted fan of touch screen interfaces, I've found a lot like about the new Samsung Glyde SCH-u940 for Verizon, and I've found a lot to like. The phone--Samsung's first touch screen phone for consumers--has an array of features. And, it feels lightweight and comfortable in the hand (not surprising given that it weighs just 4.1 ounces and measures 4.1 by 2 by .7 inches).

The Glyde takes a page from the Apple iPhone's playbook by going for a minimalist look on the front screen. The only button on the front of the phone is a Home button, which not only takes you back to the main screen but also serves to reactivate the phone after the backlight dims. Along the right-hand side, you'll find a power button (which doubles as the screen lock button), as well as volume up and down buttons, and a dedicated shutter button for the 2.0 megapixel still and video camera.

The touch screen is the raison d'etre of this phone--you won't even consider buying it if you're not into the idea of a touch screen. The screen itself uses capacitive touch technology, which means it relies on the electromagnetism of your fingers in order to perform an action. If a button is large enough for the pad of your fingertip, using the phone will be a breeze. But, if you're trying to be precise about where you touch (for example, when you're using the Web browser), this type of touch screen can be frustrating--especially on a small screen like this one (the display measures 240 by 440 pixels).

Although this phone has an HTML Web browser and can handle messaging, its smarts are limited--no notepad or document handling, for example. Even the smarts of the browser are limited: For example, you can only browse by holding the screen horizontally, which means you get little real estate for actually reading content on the crisp, 262K color screen; and, if you're on a page with a phone number, the browser isn't smart enough to turn that phone number into a link that invokes the phone's dialer, as my trusty Palm Treo 680 does. Omissions like that limit this phone's usefulness.

Samsung Glyde
The Glyde's QWERTY keyboard slides out to the left from the underside of the phone; it simply glides open with ease. The keyboard is one of the best I've used; the square keys are wide and roomy, and easy to press.

The home screen offers buttons for accessing the dial pad, contacts, and the main menu, with access to Verizon's extra cost services (including VCast music, ringtones, games, and VZ Navigator).

In my use, I found audio quality acceptable; audio sounded boomy and full-bodied, with little background noise.

We'll update this review with our battery life test results, as well as the final pricing (which we didn't receive as of this writing).

If you're in the market for a basic touch screen phone with a great keyboard, this model may suit your needs--depending upon its price.

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