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printed October 22, 2014
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Review: Samsung Sunburst

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The Samsung Sunburst has a pretty face and great design for a simple tablet phone, but I'd have a hard time recommending it. The unresponsive touchscreen caused problems in almost every application and made the phone much less fun to use. I have almost nothing good to say about the TouchWIZ interface, except that it offers a large number of widgets. Still, placing the widgets onscreen and managing all those functions can be annoying since TouchWIZ seems so poorly designed for the small screen.

Even in basic tasks, the Sunburst comes up short. Call quality was just okay, and getting contacts onto the phone can be a nightmare without any sync options. Messaging features are as basic as they come; the Sunburst doesn't even get AT&T's most recent text messaging application, let alone a good, diverse IM client or a free email option.

The Web browser had fatal problems and couldn't load some key pages. Social Net provides a bare minimum for Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, but you'll definitely find this app, or something better, on other devices. I'd complain about the lack of 3G support, but the Web browser was so poor that you won't want to use it anyway, and that's the only place where faster networking would really make a difference.

The Samsung Solstice is only $10 more on AT&T at press time, and both phones are effectively free from other online distributors. The Sunburst has style, the Solstice has 3G, but neither phone is especially impressive. There aren't many tablet feature phones in this price range, but there are smartphones that are cheap or free, and right now the required smartphone data plan is cheaper on AT&T than the required feature phone messaging plan.

All things considered, it seems the Sunburst is trying to get by on its looks and a friendly smile.

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