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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.