Samsung's Texting Trio for T-Mobile
The Gravity 3, naturally, follows in the footsteps of the Gravity and Gravity 2.
Not much has changed since the Gravity 2. Hardly anything, in fact. The styling is updated with more curves. Whether it looks better is a matter of opinion. The QWERTY keyboard now has offset rows instead of a grid pattern, to more closely match the familiar layout of a full-size computer keyboard. Otherwise, the slider form factor is the same, with both numeric and QWERTY keyboards, so you can choose to use the phone one- or two-handed, as the situation dictates. The key features are all the same.
There are no special finishes on the body; it's all plastic and it feels like it. Still, it feels solid and mostly well-built. The one exception is the slide mechanism. It can jam and be difficult to close if you try to close it from just one end. You need to hold it with two hands - or one hand near the middle - to close it reliably.
All of the keys feel good and work well. The QWERTY text keys have a slight dome shape to them, just enough to make them easy to feel out. The keyboard is very wide - your thumbs will get quite a workout typing a long email - but it wasn't so wide that it was uncomfortable for my relatively small hands.
One odd design choice is the location of the soft keys when the slide is open. Instead of being below the display where they belong, they're down on either side of the space bar. Not only are they far from the options they correspond with on the display, but they're not aligned, either, being offset a bit to the right. That's unintuitive and annoying when you're learning the phone, although it's the kind of thing most people would adjust to after a short while.
The display is a tiny bit larger than the Gravity 2, but not much. For this class of phone, the display is large enough and the QVGA resolution is typical. The display looks decent, but only from straight-on; the viewing angle is poor, so this isn't a good phone for showing videos and photos to your friends.
Moving on to the interface, the menus seemed snappy, with no lag. They seemed faster than on the Smiley, in spite of the very similar software and processor.
Like most Samsungs these days, the camera interface is excellent. It sports an easy-to-use toolbar that gives you quick access to all key settings.
The Settings menu is poorly laid out. A large number of important settings are buried under a "Personalization" sub-menu, including a lot of things I would never consider "Personalization". You'd think the phone has almost none of the usual settings until you figure out this quirk.
The Gravity 3 is a perfectly decent cheap messaging phone, but it offers no real upgrades over the Gravity 2 it replaces. The Gravity 2 debuted for $30. The Gravity 3 has just gone on sale for $50. As technology progresses, most people expect phones to gain features and/or become cheaper. Therefore the Gravity 3 seems like a questionable value in offering no new features at a higher price than its predecessor.