Samsung Gusto 2 Review: As Simple as It Gets
If you have a gusto for phones, Samsung's Gusto 2 isn't for you. It's a basic clamshell focuses on the simple task of making calls and sending texts. If you want to play games, take photos, watch movies, browse the Internet or even listen to music, take a pass.
But if simplicity is your game, and you want easy-to-press buttons on a no-nonsense device, the Gusto 2 is for you -- but even then, the extremely low-resolution display is pretty bad. And a phone of this caliber should come free with a contract, but that's not the case here -- so you'll want to look at other entry-level devices to save you some dough.
I admit, the Gusto 2 is a vast improvement on its predecessor, but it's not my style. The original -- an irredeemable, yet lightweight, piece of garbage -- felt cheap. And the camera was useless, too. On this model, Samsung avoided past mistakes, and developed a better feature phone. First, it improved on its flimsy shell. The Gusto 2's frame looks and feels better -- more sturdy. It measures 3.8-by-1.9-by-0.8-inches, so it's pretty chunky, but fairly lightweight at just less than four ounces. The smooth, gunmetal-color finish and rounded corners give it a user-friendly look. And a 1-inch color outer screen shows you the date, time and battery life on the front. The hinge connecting the top and bottom halves is strong, and though it's made of plastic, it can withstand a few tumbles.
The external display is expectedly basic with a 96-by-96 pixel resolution. It's bare-bones, but it does the job. I was surprised, yet disappointed, that the 2-inch inner screen was about the same quality. The thoroughly unimpressive QQVGA display has a 160-by-128 pixel resolution -- that's hilariously bad. For comparison, the 102-ppi pixel density more than three times grainier than, say the iPhone's 326-ppi. But it's a basic phone, you say? Well, even the simplest devices bottom out around a 320-by-240 resolution. In other words, don't plan to browse the Web. If you're sure all you'll do is call and text, it's fine. Of course, the fonts are big, so if you have bad eyes, you can still tell what it says, even if it's grainy. In short, it's one bad display -- even if it has 262,000 colors -- but if you have bad eyes, what's the difference, right?
The lovely tactile buttons compensate for the poor screen. They're rubberized and large and even the most arthritic fingers won't have trouble dialing. You also have shortcuts for "in case of emergency" numbers, further proving it's for the elderly. The texting is fine, but I had to turn the "English word" mode because of the terrible predictive program, so I recommend sticking with "ABC" mode.
I'll say one thing: if you just want to make calls, it does a great job. Call quality is superb -- you can hear everything loud and clear. And when you turn the volume up, it's really, really loud -- good if you have trouble hearing. Samsung also uses voice enhancement with noise cancellation to get a fuller sound. For a phone that lacks the basics, it's great to see it can do what phones are meant for: talking. That's really who it's for: the elderly. The generous buttons and streamlined interface are great if you don't want the hassle of fiddling around with technology.
But that's not all. You'll get other great calling options like "whisper" mode, which boosts your voice so people can hear you if you need to speak softly. That's helpful if you tend to carry a big stick. If you have trouble reading text, the audio readout can recite menus, texts, the dial pad, caller ID and missed calls. And one funny thing: there's a "fake call" function. If you need to get out of a bind, you can have the phone call you with the press of a button. Who couldn't use something like that?
It's a simple and easy-to-use phone with great call quality and sturdy build. Unfortunately, the screen is nothing to look at, literally, and basically, everything else is lackluster. Take the 1.3-megapixel camera -- yes, it's better than the predecessor's VGA lens, but it's still pretty bad -- in addition to poor photos, there's no auto-focus or flash, and the "night mode" doesn't boost dark pictures much. They're still small and grainy. You won't find a microSD slot, but it's not like you'll need it. You can only keep around 150 photos on the teeny 24-megabytes of storage. You won't want to keep any more -- believe me. It lacks a standard headphone jack, so you won't want to store songs -- not that you'd have room -- and there's no music player, either.
Now, technically, you can use e-mail -- and Facebook and Twitter -- if you pay a monthly fee. Why would you? I have no idea. But it's a waste. There's no Wi-Fi, which means all your surfing will cost extra. Want to use VZ Navigator? Shell out some dough. I would definitely discourage any extra services, since that defeats the point of buying this phone for its affordability. The 400-megahertz chip means you will have to wait for the camera and shutter to load. The 1,000 mAh battery, meanwhile, is pretty buff. I lasted about seven hours of heavy talking, and a few days on standby alone.
If you just want a bare-bones phone, go for it. But take a look at the LG Cosmos 2, too. It's also a simple clamshell, but it has a better display and a microSD slot for about the same price. ♦
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June 02, 2012
Good Basic Phone
After searching for the right phone for weeks, I finally decided on the Gusto 2. I took a look at smartphones, but the sound and call quality on most of them were too quiet for my liking. In desperation, I plunged into the Gusto and I've never looked back. First, the call quality is loud and clear. At normal volumes the voices are clear, but at max people begin to sound distorted. When I call people, they can't tell I'm on a cell phone. In addition, the spoken text messages feature is great, especially when I'm driving. I can keep my eyes on the road. The reception is also pretty good -- strangely it always seems like the cheapest phones have the best reception. I live on the edge of Verizon's coverage and the Gusto hasn't dropped any calls yet. It's better than most.
The design and build is mediocre at best. The components feel a bit cheap and I'm careful because I don't want to break it, but the other areas seem solid. The back cover is also flimsy. I've dropped the phone a few times already and the cover and battery flies off -- so be careful. After a few more drops, I have a feeling the cover won't stay on anymore. The shell is covered in a rubbery material that makes it easy to grip.
The screen is the worst. It's grainy and low-resolution, which makes reading anything aside from text a pain. Don't bother trying to browse the Web. The camera is pretty awful too. Don't bother taking photos. The menu is old-school. It's a bit chunky and hard to navigate through, but once you get used to it, it shouldn't be a problem. Despite these problems, I'm still pretty pleased and would buy it again.Was this review helpful to you?
41 out of 46 people found this review helpful.
July 05, 2012
Good for Old People
I bought the Gusto 2 after using the original Gusto. It's a basic device that's very easy to use. The ringtones and speakerphone are very loud, the vibration is strong and the display is nice and bright -- good for seeing the clock and incoming calls. In addition, there's a feature that announces who is calling.
You're not getting a top-notch phone, and that's not what this is designed for. But for older people who want a no-frills phone to make calls, you can't beat it.Was this review helpful to you?
16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.
July 07, 2012
If you're looking for a basic phone, the Gusto 2 is an okay phone. It's really cheap -- both in price and feel. It could be build sturdier, but the call and sound quality are both great. The battery lasts a long time too, not like most smartphones these days -- so that's a big plus.
The big problem for me is the Bluetooth -- namely the quality of the connection. When I call people using a headset, I can barely hear people. Maybe it's the Samsung headset, but I've used it with other phones and people come through loud and clear. Anyway, I bought this with a pay-as-you-go plan from Verizon. You'll have to buy $15 worth of minutes before you can use it, which isn't a big deal, but those minutes will expire after each month. Read the fine print.Was this review helpful to you?
22 out of 26 people found this review helpful.
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