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Hands on: Samsung Brightside review

Built and priced like a smartphone, the Samsung Brightside is barely a feature phone at its best

What is a hands on review? What is a hands on review?

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Our Early Verdict

For

  • It's actually a decent phone
  • Build quality is fine considering the price
  • May hold appeal for those averse to smartphones
  • QWERTY slider keyboard

Against

  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Extremely poor video recording quality
  • Proprietary Brew operating system
  • Purchased apps can't be used elsewhere

samsung brightside review

We spend so much time writing about smartphones that it's easy to overlook mobile platforms beyond the obvious (iOS and Android, mostly). One of these is the Brew Mobile Platform, which Samsung and Verizon have chosen to power the Brightside, a smartphone wannabe that's just barely a decent feature phone.

samsung brightside review

The Samsung Brightside isn't a total loss: The 4.3 ounce handset actually feels pretty comfortable in the hand and its 4.37-inch height, 2.37-inch width and 0.56-inch depth is a refreshing change of pace from the monstrous smartphones being released today.

samsung brightside review

Unfortunately, the 3.1-inch QVGA touchscreen display can only muster 240x320 pixels, and you can almost count them all, if given the time. To offset the small screen, the Brightside comes with a QWERTY slider keyboard, which users will cozy up to after discovering the schizophrenia of software-based typing solutions on hand.

samsung brightside review

Hardware-wise, Samsung offers a fair, if unspectacular, handset. A thin earpiece rests just above the surface of the display front, with navigation buttons for send, back, voice commands and power/end – although we had to consult the manual to actually figure this out, given that the send and end keys are not actually marked as such.

samsung brightside review

A volume rocker resides on the left side with 3.5mm headphone jack at top. On the right side is a lock/unlock button near the top, with a dedicated camera button near the bottom; like many other Samsung devices, a micro-USB port resides at the bottom.

samsung brightside review

Around back is a 3.2MP camera lens with the Verizon and Samsung logos silkscreened below (and also embedded on the front of the device). The back cover pops off to reveal a removable battery and micro-SD card slot, which can hold up to 32GB.

Amazingly, Verizon Wireless prices the Samsung Brightside at $99.99 with a two-year agreement, and the handset can also be purchased for $249.99 off-contract.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.