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printed September 1, 2014
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Review: Samsung Blast

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Is It Your Type? Body Three S's  

The first time you go to use the Blast, you're going to doubt you remembered to put the battery in. But as you slide up the screen, it will come on and and you'll breathe a sigh of relief. The next time you use it you won't doubt the battery has been installed, but you will still marvel at how light the Blast is, especially for its size. Even smaller phones weigh more, and phones that are about the same size, like the RAZR2, weigh much more.

Despite its light weight and plastic body, the Blast does not feel cheap. When closed the Blast is a solid block that's easy to hold in the hand and easy to use. Your hand fits around it just enough to be able to press any of the large keys on the navigation cluster. Each of the keys are hard plastic wedges that form a semi-circle around the oval D-pad.

In addition to the usual suspects, the Blast includes a key with a white square, that looks like the stop symbol from an old tape deck - or a printing mistake. This square is a new programmable key that you can set to open any application on a list the phone displays when you first try to press it. It's nice that T-Mobile and Samsung added this shortcut key, but sad that they couldn't come up with a better icon for it than a square.

When open, the Blast's weight remains in your hand as the ultra thin screen and camera slide up to reveal a SureType-style keypad beneath. Although RIM pioneered this keypad layout, with 2 letters on each key 5 keys across, Samsung began using it shortly after on the T719. Because this keyboard uses a QWERTY layout, it is more natural to use 2 thumbs when typing on it, even though you could easily work the keyboard with a single finger. The Blast is wide enough that you can hold it in two hands comfortably when doing this.

Unlike the navigation keys, the keypad is a single sheet of molded plastic with small keys that are too flat to tell which you're pressing. When you do press one, there's a nice click, but that doesn't make up for the fact that you won't know which key you clicked until you look at the screen.

Even the slide on the Blast is solid. The spring assist really wants to keep the Blast closed, so it takes some effort to open it, but it glides nicely up deep rails. Closing it is a breeze as the spring pulls it closed with barely any effort.

 

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