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printed October 31, 2014
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Review: Samsung Impression

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

 

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The Impression is not a small phone, but it's not egregiously large, either. It is about the length of an iPhone, but is noticeably thinner from side-to-side, while being a bit thicker from front-to-back. The display is generous and finger friendly. It is somewhat comfortable to hold in your hand, though the width may bother some. The rounded edges all around help a lot when slipping it into your pocket as well as retrieving it from same. Due to its size and weight, you will notice that it is in your pocket, no doubt.

There are but three buttons on the face of the phone. The send/end keys and a clear/back key between them. All three have good travel and feedback, but I thought they were a bit on the loud side. They have a definitely "clackyness" to them.

On the left side of the phone you'll find two keys. One located near the top of the phone is an app switcher key that brings up a list of open applications. This button is hard to find, and has minimal travel and feedback. The volume toggle is below it, and is much easier to find, with better travel and feedback. The right side of the phone has a dedicated camera key and the now-familiar Samsung touch-phone lock/unlock key. The camera key stands out nicely and is a cinch to find. The lock/unlock key is not. This is a real flaw in my mind, because users will constantly be pressing the lock/unlock key to awaken the phone or put the display to sleep. Give the frequency of use, this button should be much easier to find and use. It has negligible travel and feedback. Not good.

The top of the phone houses the charging / data / headphone port. Peeling back the hatch is easy enough, but I am tired of Samsung's insistence on bundling all three of these together with a proprietary connector. Where's the regular headphone jack?

The Impression is a sideways slider. Pushing the front half to the right reveals a four-row QWERTY keyboard. I really like the feeling of the keyboard. The buttons have the perfect amount of contour to them so they stand out and are easy for your thumbs to find. Composing messages is quite a breeze, and I found the QWERTY comfortable to use. The phone is well balanced when open, so I didn't experience any finger fatigue when typing. The one thing I don't like about it is that there number keys are overlaid on the left-hand letter keys in a number-pad shape rather than spread across the top row of the keyboard. Otherwise the layout makes sense.

One thing I'll say is that the sliding mechanism didn't feel all that great. There's some roughness to it, and there's some obvious friction that doesn't feel right. I don't know if dirt got into the tracks of my review unit, or what, but it feels a bit gritty and unpleasant to open/close.

If you want to swap out the microSD card, you're going to have to remove the back cover to do so (you don't have to remove the battery). Not the most convenient place in the world, but we realize most users won't be constantly swapping cards in and out.

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