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Review: Samsung Instinct

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Disclaimer: We're not going to be able to avoid comparisons to the iPhone in this review. We'll do our best to keep such references to a minimum and judge the Instinct as if Apple's device didn't exist, but you need to accept that comparing it is natural. Cool? Now that that is out of the way, I feel better, don't you? On to the review...

The Instinct is a simple bar-style block. The inky blackness and glossy finish on the front face give it an air of class, though it comes off just a little simple looking. As with any phone that uses this type of styling, you just have to resign yourself to the fact that the screen is going to become smudged. It is simply unavoidable. The Instinct is not alone in this regard. Rimming the front face is a deep blue / silver frame. It's nice that Samsung's designers didn't go with chrome and did something a bit more unique here.

We have no complaints about the size. It feels good holding it in your hand. The back is covered in a soft-touch paint job, and that gives it a bit of extra grip. There's no fear that it will slip out of your hand. It is also just narrow enough so that you can get your fingers most of the way around it to hold it tightly. It isn't a featherweight device, but it is far from heavy. If you put it into the pocket of loose fitting pants, you'll feel it tug at your pocket, for sure. Speaking of pockets, it will slip into even the tightest jean pockets without any problems.

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On the front of the Instinct are just three buttons below the screen: back, home and phone. They aren't physical buttons, but touch capacitance buttons. They provide haptic microvibration feedback when touched. These three buttons worked just fine, and didn't require multiple touches (more on that later) to get them to work.

On the left side of the Instinct is the data/charge port hatch and the volume toggle. The hatch opens up with no problems, as Samsung provided a generous area for your nail to dig underneath it. I really liked the volume toggle. These bumps let you know exactly what your thumb or finger is touching, as they are distinctive in the way they feel. Travel and feedback of the volume toggle is good, and there is a nice click when it is pressed.

On the right side of the phone is the microSD hatch at the top, with the voice activation key and camera key below it. The microSD hatch is nearly identical to the port hatch. The voice activation key resembles the volume toggle from the other side, and provides similar travel and feedback. The camera button, however, is smaller and harder to find. It also offers less travel and less feedback.

The top of the Instinct houses the lock/power key. This button is small, but you'll be making regular use of it to unlock the phone. It is a little too flush with the top surface of the phone for my tastes. It can take a second to find it, and that became annoying when I wanted to wake the phone quickly. Next to it is the hatch covering the 3.5mm headset jack. It's noteworthy to point out how nice this 3.5mm headset jack is, because many Samsung phones come with an adapter for headphones rather than an actual jack. The hatch covering the jack, however, doesn't make much sense to me. I used the Instinct often enough for music that it became tiring to continually have to open and close that hatch to stick my headphones in.


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