The most mystifying thing about the Samsung Brightside is that is exists at all in the year 2012. While we can't fault Verizon Wireless for not wanting to put all of its eggs into the Android or iOS basket, we're hard-pressed to think of anyone who might benefit from a device like this – especially when so many better options exist for the same hundred bucks up front.
It takes a bit of reaching to come up with a list of likes for this handset, but the top of the list would have to be its use as an actual phone for making voice calls. It's small, light and call quality was above average with nary a dropped call or distortion.
Beyond that, it's hard to come up with more – but if pressed, we'd say the dedicated camera shutter button (a total oddity on a handset with such a poor camera) and it makes a pretty good companion for travelers who require simple tools such a calculator, alarm clock, stopwatch or world clock.
That leaves quite a lot for the "dislike" category, ranging from absolutely abysmal video recording quality to the quaint (but proprietary) Brew operating system and those unlabled hardware send/end buttons, which sent us scrambling to the user manual to find out what they did.
The Samsung Brightside may have 3G data speeds, but Verizon offers a notoriously slow network, so consider that a wash. The carrier offers a budget $10 per month data plan for the Brightside with 75MB (also throwing in Personal Email, VZ Navigator and Ringback Tones for good measure), but the carrier's $30 per month data plan with 2GB should be considered a borderline rip-off for a device like this.
We freely acknowledge not everyone wants or needs a smartphone, and that's the void "feature-plus" phones like the Samsung Brightside attempt to fill. However, we can't imagine recommending this to our parents or grandparents, even free with a two-year contract.
That begs the question: Just whom was the Brightside designed for in the first place? A decade ago, plenty of us would have been pleased to own something like this Samsung handset – but in 2012, it's a never-was playing to a very small crowd of potential customers in an arena built for true rock stars.