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printed September 22, 2014
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Review: Samsung Intensity II

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Is It Your Type Body The Three S's  

The design of the Samsung Intensity II should be plenty familiar by now. Since the LG Rumor on Sprint, Samsung and LG have been jockeying for position with phones that have a candy bar look with a number pad up front and a hidden QWERTY keyboard that slides out from beneath. In that respect, the Intensity II adds nothing new to the formula. In fact, the LG Cosmos, also on Verizon Wireless, is a nearly identical device, down to the button placement and swooping curve of the front number pad. It's easy to see the appeal of this form factor. The phone is a bit thick, but otherwise it's nice and compact. It comes swathed mostly in plastic, but it feels solid and well designed, with textures and ridges in all the right places to make holding and using the phone easier.

Up front you get the screen up top and a 12-key number pad beneath, with a big 4-way button in between. There are two soft keys beneath the screen, and the same keys show up on the left side, so that when you open the phone the soft button features will work in landscape mode. There are Send and End keys, as well as a 'C' key ("Clear"), and a dedicated speakerphone button.

On the right side of the phone, you'll find a dedicated voice dialing button, always a nice addition. There's also a camera button and a microSD card slot hidden beneath a port cover. On the left side sits the large volume rocker, which is very easy to use while holding the phone during calls. Samsung also uses a microUSB port on the left, which is a nice change from the proprietary ports of past Samsung messaging phones. On top, another port cover hides a 2.5mm headphone jack. This is a design misstep for a phone with a memory card slot for music. Nobody uses 2.5mm headsets any more, and Verizon Wireless doesn't include a set in the box. I'd rather see a standard 3.5mm port.

The slide mechanism feels solid, and sliding open the phone reveals the 4-row QWERTY keyboard. The top row is dedicated to numbers, which seems odd because there's a full number pad on this phone. I'd rather hide the numbers as Fn key modifiers and devote more space to punctuation and shortcuts. The only punctuation mark to get its own key is the period. There's also a set of arrow keys in a cross layout with an OK button in the center. Again, that feels unnecessary since I didn't have to stretch my thumb to hit the 4-way button on the top half of the slide.

The keyboard felt a bit small for extended typing sessions. The keys are well-shaped; each key is domed with a plastic key separating each letter. I was able to type with no trouble, but not quickly.

 

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