It's not a fancy phone, but if you're looking for something to make clear-sounding calls and quick texts, the Samsung Gusto fits the bill -- and it's free with a two-year contract with Verizon, so it's at the right price.
If you want to do anything else, avoid this phone, because the Gusto does little more than let you make calls. If you want to take decent pictures, look at web pages, listen to MP3s or anything else -- forget it. After all, it's like the old saying: you get what you pay for, and in this case, it's entirely true.
The Gusto is a 4.0-by-1.9-by-0.6 inch flip phone that weighs 3.3 ounces, a typical size and weight for simple feature phones. It's small, so you can tow it around easily, but if you want something that you can whip out and impress your friends, this isn't it. Its body is made of plastic with a fake metal look on the front and back, and it screams cheap.
Plus, the internal 2-inch screen has only a 128-by-160 resolution, while the external 1.1-inch screen is only 96-by-96 pixels, so you're getting a very low-level display. And it's typical for a low-end feature phone, but you need to know the display quality looks like it took the best of 2001's screens and stuck with them. If you're just making calls or short texts, the screen isn't all that important, so you may not really care that the screen is small. At least it's well-lit, and fairly easy to read and send texts with.
The Gusto has large keys and a five-way control pad, making dialing numbers and texting easy. There's no keyboard, but that's not an issue when it comes to feature phones or sending simple texts, which is easy to do with the easy-to-hit keys.
It doesn't have a lot of fancy features, but it's a dual-band device that makes your voice calls sound clear, even though it doesn't have Wi-Fi; not that it needs it since you probably won't be using data, anyway. It features noise cancellation, a nice feature that will help you hear your calls even more clearly. In addition, the Gusto is Bluetooth-capable, and you can use voice dialing wirelessly, a useful hands-free feature some basic feature phones don't offer.
Verizon includes VZ Navigator for voice-enabled GPS and traffic reports, for an extra $10 a month. The small screen, with its graphic limitations, means it'll be hard to look at maps, but the app delivers clear voice prompts. You can access your e-mail, but the small screen also limits how much you'll check your messages or how they'll read.
The Gusto includes the Access NetFront 30 browser, but it's too slow and buggy to use without wanting to hurl the handset against the wall. And forget about listening to music or watching videos -- there's no stereo Bluetooth support, video player, memory slot or music player. In fact, the list of things it doesn't have dwarves the meager array of features it does.
And yes, for what it's worth, you can take photos -- sort of. The lens only has a 0.3-megapixel resolution, which is barely better than not having a camera at all. You can take some small photos to send in picture messages, but that's about it. And make sure you take them outside, because there's no flash. And don't expect to store them -- the Gusto only has 26-megabytes of storage space, and you can't expand it. Plus you have to share that internal space with ringtones and games, not leaving a lot of room for much else.
Overall, the Gusto isn't bad if you're buying it for bare bones use -- it does what you expect from a low-end feature phone. You make nice clear calls and you can easily send texts. Beyond that, there's little else this phone is good at doing. The insufficient camera, small screen and slow Web browser means if you're looking for something other than a call and text device, you'll want to look elsewhere, no matter the price. ♦
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