Samsung Brightside Review
By Tommy Rebik
- May 10, 2012
Pros: The Samsung Brightside has a comfortable slide-out QWERTY keyboard. It offers a decent call quality, and its design takes advantage of voice commands.
Cons: The Samsung Brightside has an iffy screen resolution, a subpar camera, and a laggy processor.
It's kind of hard to find a good feature smart phone these days when smart phones are more often replaced by entry level devices, leaving those seeking midlevel smartphones - more than an entry level flip phone but less than a smartphone -with a drying pool of choices. And although most smart phones are sophisticated and seamless than with other feature phones, they come with a monthly data plan when you buy them on a 2 year contract, and have features than some people want. Well, take a look at the Samsung Brightside, a QWERTY keyboard slider smart phone that comes with some extras, but not a ton. However, here are the best alternatives for the Samsung Brightside are the Motorola Droid Razr Maxx for Verizon Wireless which costs $169.99, HTC One X for AT&T ($149.99), Apple iPhone 4S for Sprint, AT&T, Verizon with prices starting at $399.99, Nokia Lumia 900 for AT&T ($39.99). A few years back, the Samsung Brightside would have been a super QWERTY keyboard phone, since it comes with hookups for social networks like Twitter and Facebook, and e-mail and IM. The device can also read Office file types including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDFs, and its keyboard is very comfortable and easy to type on. The Samsung Brightside is 3G compliant with a 3.2-megapixel camera, and has the on-contract price of $100 with a new two year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. I have nothing against featured phones like this, but how I wish that Samsung and theVerizon had tried more to offer us a slicker device with a much better user interface, or better yet an updated software experience, with crispier graphics and the addition of third party social networking and e-mail apps. For me, the user interface of the Samsung Brightside was so 200 and late. But, if that does not concern you, you may buy the Brightside. Design wise, the Samsung Brightside does not come in flashy colors on in an eye catching design. But then again, it is not your device as it has a few interesting touches on its screen and on the physical features, though I am not totally sold on every decision. The phone's form? Well the device is in an all-black color scheme, with a nubbly matte back and a glossy metallic rim around its face. This is not one of those ultra-thin smart phones. In fact, it's a bit stout by todayís standards. It has dimensions of 4.4 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide and 0.57 inch thick. It feels solid and weighs around 4.3 ounces.
Compared with today's smart phones with huge screens, the 3.1 inch touch display on the Brightside is not very vast. However, it manages not to feel overly small. Itís a QVGA type which can only render up to 240x320 pixels of resolution. For me, it does feel a little pixelated and primitive. By the way, it supports up to 262,000 colors only. The Samsung Brightside is a touch-screen smart phone, and Samsung has tried to make the navigation options more accessible and straightforward as possible. What I do not like about its interface is the way Samsung has pasted the menu right on the screen, with large, finger-friendly icons. These icons keep inadvertently opening apps whenever my fingers accidentally brushed the unlocked smart phone face; this happened so many times to become a nuisance. The menu grid has fixed buttons for accessing voice mail, the call log, the dial pad, and your address book. Just below its display, you will find the send, there's power/end. There's also the shared button between them that goes back & also launches voice actions. I like how Samsung made Nuance's voice command feature readily discoverable, instead of placing it as a tiny unknown button on the side of the phone, or as an obscure onscreen control. Flip over the Samsung Brightside to see its 3.2 megapixel camera lens (no flash on this one). On the left side you will see the volume rocker, and on the right spine you will find the lock button and itscamera shutter button. The standard 3.5mm headset jack is up top, and the Micro-USB charging port is on the bottom. Behind its back cover you will find the microSD card slot which takes up to 32GB in external storage. The Samsung Brightside supports 3G speeds, Bluetooth, and GPS, which are more or less the standards. Other features include Opera Mini app, Facebook and Twitter, and VZ Navigator. For communications, the device give you a choice of text and MMS, plus mobile e-mail for a $5 per month subscription (you get a free 10-use trial). Other essentials includea calendar, an alarm clock, voice commands, a calculator, a world clock, and a stop watch. You will get a notepad as well, plus a document viewer that can read Microsoft Office documents off a microSD card. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera that offers a photo quality was mostly poor, especially with indoor shots. Video quality matched the camera quality in my opinion, which is such a shame. I tested the Samsung Brightside in our area using Verizon's network the call quality was not good, it was of a robotic quality. I also tested its speakerphone by holding the Brightside at waist level and voices sounded very tinny and robotic as well. The Samsung Brightside's data speeds are fine but the overall internal performance was sadly lacking. The Samsung Brightside has a rated battery life of 6.5 hours talk time & 14.6 days of battery life on its 1,000mAh battery. The Samsung Brightside has a digital SAR of 0.75 w/kg, as per FCC tests. I must say that the Samsung Brightside is a bizarre feature smart phone, that can cost less than Verizon's full-retail $100 asking price. Itís just worthy of getting a 3/5 stars score!