Review: Samsung A900
People will inevitably compare it to the CDMA RAZR, and it is nearly the same size. However the A900 is slightly narrower and thicker, which allowed Samsung to add nicely rounded edges. This makes the A900 more comfortable to hold over long periods. No matter how you hold the A900 - open or closed - it feels good in your hand. The heft of the metal body gives the A900 a high quality feel, without being too weighty like larger metal-bodied phones.
The lid is shorter than the bottom half, and the ledge created by this difference in lengths makes a nice perch to insert your thumb and flip the phone open. The large radius of the rounded sides provide an additional deep crevice to slide your thumb into. The phone flips open with a confident snap around a solid-feeling hinge. The weight, solid feel of each half of the clamshell and silent, smooth hinge give the user a sense of quality and confidence.
Although the speaker and screen are flush with the top half's face, it is easy to place the phone speaker against your ear, because the rounded corners of the lid let you position the phone by feel.
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Borrowing directly from the RAZR, the A900 has a flat metal keypad - or nearly flat. There are two nearly imperceptible ridges on either side of the 5 "key" and indentations between each row of keys. Although it does not have as much tactile separation between keys as the RAZR, dialing or texting on the A900 is remarkably easy and fast. The surface for each key is large enough that even without physical indicators, the thumbs "knows" where to go and can move about the keypad quite confidently.
The softkeys and send / end buttons are positively huge - approximately twice the size of any numeric key. At least some of the real estate devoted to these keys should have been devoted to expanding the D-Pad. Although the D-Pad looks like a tiny scroll wheel, it is a traditional style navigation pad. The ring used to select a direction is quite narrow, and is sunk slightly beneath the keypad's surface, however the center select key is level with the rest of the keypad. The sunken D-Pad was already difficult to use because it offers so little space in which to choose a direction, and the raised select key in the center further decreases its usability, as you are more likely to hit select than whatever direction you want. Whenever possible we found ourselves using numeric shortcuts for navigation instead of the D-Pad to avoid frustration.
Samsung Showcase 2005
Hands-on report from the Samsung launch event in New York City for their late-2005 / early-2006 lineup.
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