Review: Samsung Strive
The Strive is a slider that's vanilla in pretty much every way imaginable. It reminds me of a bar of soap because it is so smooth and the edges are nicely rounded. When in your hand, it feels like the inexpensive phone it is. The weight is nice, but the materials are lower grade than what you'd see on a high-end device. I found it to be a little on the bulky side. It's not egregiously thick, but it's no dainty device, either. You'll know it is in your pocket for sure, though it will slip in and out easily.
When closed, the display takes up most of the front surface. It has a full navigation cluster below the display for interacting with the phone. The d-pad, with its bright blue AT&T logo, is easily found. There is a high ridge that makes it stand out nicely from the surface of the Strive. It has the perfect amount of travel and feedback. There are three buttons on either side of the d-pad. The two closest buttons on the left are a soft key and the send key. There is no physical indication that your thumb has found either, you just sort of have to know they are there. Both offer good travel and feedback. An app switcher key is to the left of the soft and send keys. It is raised well above the surface and is easy to operate. On the right side, another soft key, the end/power key and back key mirror those on the left. They all work well.
The only control on the left side of the Strive is the volume toggle. It has two nubs that help it stand out from the side of the phone. It works well. A dedicated camera key is the only button on the right. It is also easy to find and operate. Below the camera key you'll find the microUSB port.
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The slider mechanism is spring assisted and it pops open the phone with a satisfying “thunk.” It requires neither too much nor too little pressure to open/close it. You'll need to pop open the slider to get at the keyboard.
The keyboard isn't bad. The keys are a little small and packed tightly. Users with bigger fingers may have trouble with it. The keys have a decent rounded shape, and they are easy to tell apart. The problem I encountered is that when you press down a key, it is way too easy to press down the adjacent keys. The plastic feel of the keys is good, though. The keyboard has four rows, which means the space bar and other functional keys get their own place. That helps a lot. There is a dedicated “.com” button and a dedicated messaging shortcut button. I would have preferred to see a dedicated “@” key, but at least the period and comma get their own keys.
The battery cover slides off easily. You'll have to remove it to get at the microSD slot. Amazingly, you can insert/remove the SIM card without removing the battery itself.