Hands-On: Samsung Reverb, Rush, Array
Samsung has an entire business dedicated to making sideways sliders that have QWERTY keyboards in addition to standard numeric dialpads. The Array (Boost) or Montage (payLo) is another such phone.
The Array/Montage is compact and has an excellent feel. Phones such as this used to be a dime a dozen, but now only show up once or twice a year as a low-end handset meant for pre-teens and young teens more concerned with text messaging than running smartphone apps.
Though it is a sideways slider, the Array/Montage has a slim profile. It's very narrow and could potentially be confused with a regular old slab phone it's so small. The materials are good, and I like the textures and surfaces. The Array is a bit darker and more conservative in overall appearance than the Montage, which has more gray and silver coloring.
The front houses the display, control cluster, and dialpad. The control cluster felt really good. The D-pad is perhaps a bit small, bit it had an excellent feel to it as far as travel and feedback are concerned. It is flanked by two multi-directional control keys that have raised edges and also offer great feedback. The dialpad has an excellent feel to it. It's small, for sure, but I had no trouble tapping on the keys to punch in some text.
The 2.4-inch display on the front of the phone looks decent, but is small and less pixel-rich than most smartphone owners are used to. The Array/Montage runs a Boost/Virgin-skinned version of Sprint's standard Java feature phone platform. The user interface feels the same on both, though each is adorned with the appropriate colors and emblems.
The slider mechanism is solid and I found it easy to open and close with a single hand. The keyboard is a bit too flat for me. The keys don't have enough shape, nor do they offer enough travel and feedback to really help make typing easier.
The Array hits streets in the coming weeks for just $60.