Review: Samsung Craft
If I handed you the Samsung Craft and didn't tell you it was the first LTE phone on the market, you might think it was a feature phone from a couple years ago. It's thick, but only slightly thicker than the Samsung Epic 4G, so it's not too far behind the curve. The phone is entirely plastic, but it has a solid, sturdy feel to it. Samsung also throws in some of the red gradient effect found on their Touch of Color TV lineup, which looks great on the Craft's battery cover.
The front of the phone bears the 3.3-inch, AMOLED touchscreen. Just beneath the screen are three hardware buttons: Send, End and Back. I'm glad MetroPCS went for hardware buttons, I'm not a fan of capacitive touch buttons on Samsung's phones. On the right side of the phone you'll find the camera key, the microUSB port and the screen lock key. It bugged me that the End key, which doubles as a power button, wouldn't wake up the phone. The only way to bring the phone to life is to press the lock key, which only brings you to the lock screen. Then you have to press the key again. That seems like one press too many, and to make things worse, the lock key was often unresponsive, until I jabbed at it numerous times.
Up top there's a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. On the left side, you'll find the microSD card slot behind a port cover. There's also a volume rocker, nicely raised and very curvy so it's easy to find without looking. There's also a voice dialing key, which is always a welcome shortcut. Overall, the exterior is well appointed and I couldn't ask for more useful buttons.
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The keyboard slides open with a strong snap, revealing the 4 row QWERTY beneath. Numbers get their own row up top, though that top row is a bit close to the upper part of the slide, so I stuck with the onscreen keypad for dialing numbers. There's also a set of arrow keys in an inverted-T layout. No punctuation marks get their own key. That made for a bit of a learning curve as I hunted down the necessary symbols in my first few hours of use. Also, the Z key is stuck far to the left. It looks almost out of alignment, it's pushed so far over.
Otherwise, typing on the keyboard was very pleasant. The keys are quite flat, but nicely spaced with a ridge between each key, so typos were kept to a minimum. I wish there were more punctuation keys (or any at all) and some shortcuts, for the @ symbol or maybe a .com key, perhaps. The only shortcut involves pressing the Fn key, then the Shift key to create a new text message. Sure, that's nice, but it doesn't save much time over tapping the screen.
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