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printed July 26, 2014
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Review: Samsung Exhibit 4G

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Exhibit 4G reeks of averageness with respect to its design. It is as vanilla and me-too as they come. A black face surrounds the display, and plastics form the rest of the body panels. There's nothing distinct about it, it is the Honda Accord of smartphones. Not that I'm saying that's bad, it just is. Whether or not the design turns you on, the Exhibit 4G feels great to hold and use. The materials and manufacture are excellent and the Exhibit 4G has a nice, solid feel to it. It is a good size, not too small, not too large, and the rounded corners and smooth materials make it pocket-friendly.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The display makes up most of the front surface of the Exhibit 4G. As with the recently-reviewed Gravity Smart, Samsung has placed three capacitive buttons below the display for access to the Menu, Back, and Search functions. These three keys work well and offer haptic feedback if you want them to.

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. Travel and feedback are good, and having a physical home key is great for quickly getting the phone back to the home screen. From time to time I caught myself reaching to the capacitive keys when looking to get back to the home screen, since old habits die hard.

The volume toggle and microSD port are on the left edge of the Exhibit 4G. The volume toggle, placed closer to the top, is quite easy to find and offers excellent travel and feedback. It is a well-designed key. The microSD port is covered by a thin hatch. The microSD card itself is buried a bit too far into the port. My fingernails weren't long enough to reach it. I had to resort to using the tip of a pen.

The lock key is on the right edge of the phone, a location Samsung has been favoring as of late. For a key that will be used dozens of times per day, it is a bit too small, and offers unsatisfying travel and feedback.

The 3.5mm headset jack is on the top edge of the Exhibit 4G, as is the microUSB port. It is covered by a hatch, and the hatch is easily peeled away from the port.

Though the Exhibit 4G isn't an inspired piece of smartphone kit, it feels good to hold and use.

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