Review: Samsung Glyde

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I can’t even begin to tell you how long I’ve been waiting for this particular phone to reach the US. I was completely enamored with it, the F700, when I first saw the press release more than a year ago. This was back in February and then I finally got a chance to play with it in October when I was in Korea. I knew right then and there that I had to have it, but I wasn’t really willing to pay the exorbitant amount for an unlocked version from Europe. Then I caught wind of a CDMA variant that would be coming to the US. I was told it would probably be announced sometime before the end of 2007, but we all know that didn’t happen.

So I have before me the u940, which has been redubbed the Glyde. Do I love it? Yes. Do I hate it? Yes.

If you’ve seen the F700 in person, then you would have immediately noticed that the Glyde is much smaller than its GSM counterpart. It also lacks the front camera and the 5-megapixel camera has been downgraded to 2-megapixel, but it’s still retains the AF function, so I can overlook that. I’m not in love with the keyboard, but that’s only because I’ve grown accustomed to the keyboard on my Curve and I still need some more time with this one. My first impression was that it was too flush and that the keys weren’t distinctive enough, but, again, it’s something you get used to. It’s an otherwise solid keyboard that’s easy to peck away at and the spring assisted slide mechanism is very nice.

The UI is relatively easy to navigate through and it’s supposed to be a variation of the Croix UI found on most of the European models, but it’s really not. The blue columns and rows appear when you tap on each icon, but that’s pretty much the only similarity. Once you dive down into the menus you’ll encounter Verizon’s proprietary menus. On the main splash page you’ll find an active task manager-like menu at the bottom that keeps track of your alarm clock, calendar, missed calls, voicemails, new messages, and volume. This remains regardless of whether or not you’re in landscape or portrait mode. However, there is one difference between the two modes. When in landscape, you have a messaging icon while this disappears when in portrait mode. The dial pad, menu and contacts icons remain either way. Hitting the blue square leads to user defined shortcuts. The one external hard button is the home key and does exactly that.

The haptic touchscreen is quite nice, but it’s a tiny bit finicky at times. Once in a while the back button won’t actually do anything at all and you’ll be tapping it two or three times before it responds. I fiddled with the sensitivity settings, but found that it didn’t do anything to alleviate the problem. But it doesn’t happen all that often so it’s something I can overlook. But be warned that when the sensitivity level is set to high, it can get a little schizophrenic if you’re attempting to fly through the menus. Like the Instinct, the Glyde does the flicking scrolling deal that I’m not fond of on any phone, but it works and I didn’t encounter many problems with it.

The 2-megapixel camera with AF is decent. Resolution goes as high as 1600×1200, but when it’s that high the zoom function is nixed. Cameras on phones generally suck and the Glyde fairs just above average. The flash does a decent job in low light, but you won’t be submitting anything for an award. The camcorder doesn’t fair much better, in fact, it’s pretty useless with a 176×144 resolution. There’s an option for 320×240, but I couldn’t get it to work as it remains grayed out.

The HTML Web browser is rather useless since the screen isn’t that big. Everything is truncated and you’re basically forced to use the optimized browser to see anything otherwise you’ll be scrolling horizontally and vertically to figure out what you’re looking at. Load times vary depending on your signal strength. But I blame most of this on Verizon’s browser portal. If you could load Opera onto the Glyde, you’d be cruising in style.

I don’t talk that often on my phone, but just for you guys I made a few calls from the Glyde. It’s relatively clear when there isn’t a whole lot of noise around you and it’s certainly loud enough until you step outside. It’s not the best, but it certainly isn’t the worst. When you slide open the keyboard the phone switches to speakerphone.

I’ve been using the Glyde for over 24 hours after a full charge and it’s down to three bars from the original four. I’m sure with a bit more Web browsing, navigating and calling it’d be down another bar, but I’d say the battery life is top notch. Then again, it is a CDMA phone so it’s not constantly connected like a GSM phone would be.

Overall, I’m happy with the Glyde and I’m glad Samsung decided to bring it here to the States. It’s definitely going to be one of Verizon’s more popular devices. It’s small and light weight at 4.1 ounces and measures in at 4.1 x 2.0 x 0.7-inches. Other than the minor touchscreen glitches here and there, I didn’t run into anything else that was remotely irritating and most of you know I’ll rip anything apart given the chance.

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