Review: Samsung SCH-i760

By Troy Dreier

May 22, 2008

This sturdy, business-friendly smartphone offers Wi-Fi, EV-DO, a slide-out keyboard, and Bluetooth, but it seems to have been designed for users who don't care what their handset looks like, so long as it works.

Elegance maters, Samsung: You can create all the feature-rich phones you want, but they're not going to excite the public's imagination if they look like the SCH-i760. Maybe you could lure a few designers away from Apple.

On paper, the SCH-i760 triumphs over the iPhone because of its no-compromise set of specs. It offers Wi-Fi (802.11b/g), EV-DO connectivity, a slide-out keyboard, Bluetooth, a 1.3mp camera, and a microSD memory card slot.

And yet, its sturdy, boxy design makes it purely a business phone, unlikely to attract users who care about a phone's looks.

The SCH-i760 is a capable update to the i730. It's flexible and ready to work however you like: there's a numeric keyboard on the front for quick dialing, a touch-screen, and a side-slide keyboard (slide it out and the phone automatically goes into panoramic mode).

Measuring 4.5 x 2.3 x 0.8-inches and weighing in at 5.3 ounces, the i760 is hefty compared to other popular smartphones like the Palm Centro (4.2 ounces) and the Blackberry Curve 8330 (4.0 ounces). It offers more, though, with its touch screen and larger QWERTY keyboard. If you prefer having more room to work, test it out, but be sure you're comfortable carrying the extra weight.

The front holds a 2.8-inch, 240 x 320 pixel screen above a numeric keypad and a clickable selection wheel. Buttons are at an angle to give the wonky phone a little style. The two soft keys are above the dial on the left, which takes some getting used to, with a Clear button between them. Call Start and Call Stop buttons are pushed to the sides at the bottom of the screen, which is also unusual.

The left side holds the volume controls and the microSD slot, while the right side has a 2.5mm headphone slot, a Windows Start menu button (which calls up the voice command system, when held), an OK button, and a camera button. Don't miss the stylus, which sits at the lower right and slides out horizontally. You'll definitely need it if you want to use the touch screen. Unlike the iPhone interface, the Windows interface isn't finger-friendly.

Push the screen to the right to reveal the keyboard. While the keys are small, they're larger and easier to thumb-type than on smaller candy bar-style smartphones. Two soft keys flank the keyboard.

While the phone is well-organized, its blocky shape simply doesn't feel good in the hand. Given a glossy exterior and a contoured silhouette, the i760 could have straddled the divide between board room and night club.

The i760 is a phone that doesn't say no, with its robust list of features. We enjoyed fast surfing and e-mail downloading in our testing, using either the EV-DO support or connecting to a home Wi-Fi network.

Corporate users will appreciate the Microsoft Push e-mail support, which allows live access from a company's mail server. While some sites have said this phone has A-GPS (network assisted GPS, which relies on the cellular network for positioning), it doesn't offer GPS at all.

The i760 is available from Verizon for $349 after discounts and with a two-year commitment. Its looks are all business, but luckily so is its excellent feature set.

Story courtesy of PDAStreet.com. Troy Dreier is a frequent contributor to PDAStreet and Wi-FiPlanet, among others.



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