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printed September 18, 2014
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Review: Samsung Gravity Smart

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Gravity Smart is a plain-looking phone that still manages to have some individuality. Few phones are purple, so the color helps it stand out in the crowded black-tie smartphone sea. It has deeply rounded corners, and when viewed from the back comes off looking a bit like a bar of soap with its smooth lines. It is small enough that it rests gently in your palm. The soft-touch paint job feels good, and the overall fit and finish of the materials is very good. It's no high-class superphone, but it doesn't come across as cheap. It's a hair on the thick side, but even so, it is a highly pocketable device and not too heavy.

The front face has a highly polished display that feels great to touch and use. Departing a bit from the Android norm, Samsung has placed just three capacitive buttons below the display for access to the Menu, Back, and Search functions. These three keys work well and were sensitive enough that I never had any trouble with them.

The Home key has been pulled out of the typical lineup and given its own space as a stand-alone physical button at the bottom of the front face. The button is squircle in shape. You might be fooled at first into thinking it is an optical trackpad. It isn't. It's simply a button. Travel and feedback are satisfactory, though having a physical home key (as opposed to capacitive) is great for quickly getting the phone back to the home screen.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The volume toggle is located on the left edge of the Gravity Smart. It is easily found with your thumb and has great travel and feedback. The two ends of the toggle have excellent differentiation so you know which is which. On the right side, Samsung placed the power/lock key. This is a typical place for Samsung to put this button, though I've noted in the past that I prefer the power button to be on the top of the phone. The Gravity Smart's power/lock key has perfect travel and feedback. Above it, there's a hatch covering the microUSB port. The 3.5mm headset jack is right where I like it, up on top.

One fault I've found with the Gravity Smart hardware is that it is a bit slippery. This gets in the way when it comes time to slide it open for typing messages. It can be hard to get a solid-enough grip to actually push the sliding portion up. The Gravity Smart popped out of my grasp more than once. There's minimal spring assistance helping open the Gravity Smart. At least the mechanism doesn't feel cheap or weak.

The Gravity Smart feels very well balanced when open and held in two hands. I am not a fan of sideways sliders (I often find the keyboard to be too wide), but the Gravity Smart's keyboard felt good to use after a short acclimation period. The keys are well spaced and offer very good travel and feedback, though they lack good definition with respect to shape. The Gravity Smart makes the right choice with its keys, offering dedicated period, comma, question mark, and @ keys. There is also a dedicated key for emoticons, as well as shortcut keys to launch the browser, messaging, group texting, and search functions.

The microSD card is placed under the battery cover, but not under the battery itself. Feel free to swap cards while the Gravity Smart is still running!

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