Samsung Glyde (SCH-U940) Review| By Maggie Frank
The Glyde is another of Samsung's entries into the quickly expanding touch screen market. The phone's design combines a large display that looks and works a lot like that of the hugely popular iPhone.
But, the slider also features the keyboard that manufacturers are starting to include as a standard feature on new models. With the bold, bright colors of its screen, the surprisingly sharp images its 2-megapixel camera provides, and its serviceable and Internet connection capabilities, the Glyde provides a great alternative for users who are looking to try a touch screen but who still want the option of using a more conventional keypad.
The Glyde, a sleek and shiny device from Samsung, is a slider phone that can also be used as a bar phone. At 4.1-by-2.0-by-0.7 inches and 4.1 ounces, the Glyde is surprisingly heavy for its compact size. The screen size is excellent -- the screen takes up almost all of the phone's face, leaving a bare minimum of dead space.
Sliding the phone open reveals a keyboard. The sliding side is beveled, placing the display off-center, and the sliding mechanism claps shut. In general, the phone is sturdy, but the sliding mechanism actually makes the phone feel cheaper and more lightweight than it really is, since the phone vibrates from the force of sliding shut. The open position also makes the screen automatically switch from portrait to landscape mode. In the closed position, the phone functions like a bar phone, except with a touch screen rather than a keypad, and the display is viewable as a portrait, much like the iPhone.
The screen works well, but occasionally has a mind of its own. You can set the touch sensitivity depending on how hard you prefer to press on to the screen, but some users might find that setting the sensitivity doesn't make much difference. Smaller fingers are an asset here; since the buttons, at their largest, as well as the keyboard buttons, are on the small side for a phone with this much capability.
The selection buttons on the screen are tiny, making scrolling through a list difficult. Users must hit a little button smack-on-the-nose, although there was enough room in the design of the phone to have made the buttons larger. Users will probably use the keyboard chiefly for writing text messages, as opposed to e-mails, and it works well for this purpose. Additionally, the QWERTY buttons, though small, feel sturdy and substantial.
The auto-lock is well-designed, although screen lock can activate at inopportune times -- for instance, right after dialing. Users must touch a mid-size button on the screen to unlock the phone after hitting any of the hard keys to wake it, but the phone can also be awoken and unlocked by hitting the power button. This feature defies the whole purpose of auto-lock -- if the power button happens to be depressed twice while the phone is bouncing around in a pocket or purse, it unlocks.
Another nice feature of the auto-lock is not having to wait several seconds for it to lock, since pressing the power button locks it instantly. The camera and hard volume buttons on the side of the phone also wake up the phone when it auto-locks, serving the same purpose as the home button. Sliding it open also wakes the phone, while sliding closed does not.
Sliding the Glyde open answers a call and automatically activates speaker phone. This is a nice feature, given that the phone is not meant to be held to the user's ear in the open position. Sliding the Glyde closed automatically turns speakerphone off. The Glyde has a useful and unique feature among touch screens: generalized haptics that make the handset vibrate every time the user presses a screen button. This is a great feature for users in noisy, chaotic environments, like busy streets or loud restaurants. With haptics, users can be sure the numbers they press are registering, even if they are distracted from looking at the screen.
When a calendar reminder automatically appears, the user cannot edit it or change dates -- even though the Glyde displays change-date buttons when touched. Out of the box, the Glyde comes with a battery, power cable and user manual.
The dedicated-hard camera button only works when users are on the home screen, which invalidates the main purpose of a dedicated-hard button -- namely to allow one-touch accessibility to the button's application.
The camera is a 2-megapixel, and shot quality and resolution, while good in general, can sometimes suffer. Excellent camera features include a timer, flash, self-portrait mirror, ability to shoot multiple pictures, white-balance effects, brightness control, and three different shutter sounds. The phone can store 45-megabytes worth of photos, with the option of installing a microSD card for extra storage.
The phone records videos in landscape mode, even though it is easier to hold the phone in portrait mode. The Glyde features an intuitive pause/resume touch screen button that does not intrude on the display during video recording. The recorder can store videos with audio that are up to 30 seconds long.
The Glyde features an auto-lock on/off option, a vibrate-level adjustment, and the touch sensitivity level adjustment. The screen, which takes up nearly the full height of the phone, is bright and the resolution is clear. A useful help screen appears when the user first opens the contacts application, with instructions to press the green icon at the right of each contact to dial their numbers.
Quick learners can choose not to display the help message again. The touch display also does a good job of recognizing when a user is scrolling and when his fingers are just selecting. The programs Samsung and Verizon have included here are well designed, by and large, but clearly not programmed for this particular touch screen phone.
The Glyde also features a "status/agenda" screen accessible from the home screen. "Status/agenda" shows new messages, voicemail, missed calls, upcoming calendar appointments, active alarms and a link to the speakerphone on/off. It includes a space-wasting volume button, since volume can be accessed from the hard buttons and the home screen.
It also features an unnecessary back button that takes up keypad valuable real estate. In case the myriad icons become confusing, users can access handy icon glossary. The "notepad" feature is one of the more disappointing options, having an inexplicable 130-character limit, while the SMS character limit is 160.
The Glyde does not feature copy and paste or text select, and users cannot send notes via Bluetooth. The calculator performs basic functions and has a handy exponent function for math-geek users. An easy-to-use unit converter handles temperature, length, weight, area, and volume. The currency converter includes more than just major trading currencies. Sixteen are pre-programmed and there is an option to add more. Rates must be manually updated, which is a good thing, considering the Glyde comes with the outdating conversions of Euro at $1.32 and the Canadian dollar at $0.081.
The screen is large, bright and clear. The touch screen responds well and there is no lag between pressing a screen button and executing the command.
Its display backlight dims after either seven, 15 or 30 seconds. Users also have the option of setting the backlight as always on/always off. The keyboard backlight functions the same way and the screen features six brightness levels and two font sizes. After 35 seconds, the display turns off and the phone locks, or "sleeps," automatically.
The sound quality leaves something to be desired, so users will be happiest if they already have a primary MP3 player and want to use the Glyde as a secondary player only.
The earphone sound is serviceable, but when listening to songs using the phone's speaker, the mono playback sounds tinny. The phone's single speaker is not externally visible, and the result is that the sound emanating from it is also muffled. It's hard to enjoy even high-quality recordings, let alone podcasts or lower-quality files. Of course, the phone will only play MP3 or WMA files -- don't expect to be able to play iTunes files here.
Users upload files either by synching the Glyde with a PC music player, or by downloading from VCast Music, or both. Users can take advantage of one great feature -- simply plug the phone into a PC using the USB cable provided, and users can drag and drop songs from the playlist directly into the phone's music file. They won't need to install additional software.
VCast Music offers pay per download, and once users transfer files to the phone, they are added to Verizon's standard My Music application, which organizes songs by genre, artist, album, song title, or playlist. As with other MP3-player-enabled Samsung devices, a shuffle feature comes standard. Unfortunately, the MP3 player does not continue to play music when the user switches to another screen to look up a number or write a text message, for example.
Users can also download additional pay-per-download ringtones to supplement the phone's preloaded offerings. The phone comes with only eight monophonic prerecorded ringtones, making it tempting to download extra bells and whistles.
The messaging shortcut button is a real treat, displaying next to the dial pad, menu, and contacts buttons when the keyboard is in the open position. Verizon's built-in AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo instant messengers use airtime for sign-in and buddy-list updates but SMS for instant messages back-and-forth.
Users can set the text message and voicemail reminder tones to ring never, once, every two or 15 minutes. Another feature unique to Glyde is the user's ability to change not only background color, but text color and font size and style for text messages and instant messages as well.
Verizon's built-in software syncs music with home computer via USB cable. "Get It Now" includes music and ringtones, VCast Video, games, mobile email, the VZ Navigator, all bundled with access to the Samsung browser, pictures and videos gallery.
VCast Video provides short one- to five-minute video clips from content providers such as CNN mobile, ABC News Now, FOX Sports, Adult Swim, TMZ.com, Comedy Central, and even a DC Comics channel exclusive to Verizon.
With VZ Navigator, the Glyde offers audible turn-by-turn navigation to addresses and more than 14 million points of interest, from ATMs and gas stations to restaurants and tourist destinations.
The Glyde runs on Verizon's high-speed Ev-Do broadband network, which offers DSL speeds of up to 2.4-megabits per second. However, realistic rates are more around the range of 300- to 500-kilobits per second.
The Glyde features 57-megabytes of user memory, can store 200 inbox and outbox messages and 500 phonebook entries, and has an external microSD memory card slot perfect for those who want to store extra photos, videos and music.
Users can connect wireless peripherals using Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity. Main supported Bluetooth profiles include Headset Profile for wireless conversations, Handsfree Profile for car-kits, Dial-Up Networking Profile to use the handset as a laptop modem, Advanced Audio Distribution Profile to listen to music wirelessly, Object Push Profile for data transfer.
The Glyde connects to a PC via a USB cable. Besides downloading music, the USB cable can charge the Glyde through the PC, a useful bonus during file transfer.
Since both the camera and the MP3 player's sound quality have their problems -- especially for phones of this class -- it's difficult to recommend the device wholeheartedly to users who enjoy a multipurpose gadget. But its features and ample storage capacity go a long way in making up for its problems The Glyde has some nifty features -- its display works well, the display is gorgeous, and the function buttons are quite user-friendly and intuitive.
All in all, the Glyde would work well for especially dexterous users who want a phone for personal use with a plenty of extra features. ♦
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March 18, 2009
Touch Screen Problems? Take It to Verizon
Those who had purchased this Samsung Glyde, had problems with the touch screen, please listen up. I felt the same way when I had experienced a major problem with the touch screen only and it has been a pain-in-the-rear. It made me so mad I wanted to pitch it in the trash and get a different phone instead of getting another new Glyde! But unfortunately, I took the Glyde to Verizon and got it fixed and resolved.
They've fixed my phone and added the calibration in the touch settings. And since they took care of my problems, I never have any touch screen problem anymore. It's now working properly! And they won't charge you for that. No hassles and no more complaints about my phone.
If you are having problems with your touch screen, take it to Verizon and have them to fix the problem. After that, you won't have to worry about your touch screen acting up all the time.Was this review helpful to you?
24 out of 27 people found this review helpful.
September 28, 2009
Better Than Razr
I was so glad to get rid of my Motorola Razr V3m, and switch to a better phone -- the Samsung Glyde! I like the touch screen and the colored screen. I like the ringtones and they sound great! I like the spectrum keypad sound, too. I wouldn't trade this phone for another one. If you like Samsung, then check out the Glyde. Thanks, Verizon for carrying the Glyde.
The keyboard is small, but it doesn't matter. It's still a better phone without the complaints.Was this review helpful to you?
16 out of 20 people found this review helpful.
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