Since this device isn’t running a heavy-duty smartphone operating system, I expect snappy performance and instant reaction to button presses, and the Alias 2 certainly delivers. The menu system is straightforward and easy to understand, and there are even a few extras that I didn’t expect.
One of the highlights is the Easy Set-Up wizard located in the sound settings menu. It asks a series of simple questions and configures your ring tones and alerts to match. It works flawlessly, and is a big plus for this reviewer; I’m tired of slogging through menu after menu to set things up exactly the way I want them. Other folks I showed this to agreed, and I would like to see this sort of thing on other devices in the future, so I hope the user interface designers are listening.
Call quality is good with this Samsung model, but not exceptional. Voices on the other end sounded a bit “flat” and they could hear some background noise on my end. Most folks would be perfectly happy with the quality, and I know that I’m being nitpicky here, but that’s my job as a reviewer. In this case, I’m not sure I really would have noticed anything if I weren’t looking for negatives.
This phone offers the full suite of entertainment services provided by Verizon Wireless, namely V-Cast Music with Rhapsody and V-Cast Video. The music playback works well, and like most phones the sound quality through the external speaker is good, but not fabulous. I tried it out with the latest single from the Black Eyed Peas, and while the song sounded pretty good, there really wasn’t any bass. In other words, “Boom Boom Pow” didn’t have quite the same impact as it would have if listening through headphones, but the speaker is good enough to share a few tunes with your friends.
The camera takes fairly good shots, but not great. I was slightly disappointed with the camera as compared to other mobile phones I’ve reviewed recently. The details are good, but there was some over-exposure on some of the shots, especially those with widely varying levels of shade and brightness that were taken on a sunny day. The expected options are included, such as six different color effects, white balance, self timer, etc.
It can also function as a camcorder, though any videos you take are limited to just 30 seconds in length unless you have a memory expansion card installed.
This isn’t a smartphone, so you won’t be editing any spreadsheets, but the Alias 2 does include the basics, such as a calendar, contacts, calculator, alarm clock, stop watch, world clock, notepad, and one of my favorites, USB mass storage.
Mobile Web, a basic web browser and the excellent VZ Navigator service are also included, so you can browse the Internet on a mobile broadband connection and also never worry about getting lost.
Additional applications and games are available for download from Verizon Wireless, including Visual Voice Mail. The application has some handy features, most notably the ability to respond via voice call or SMS and a message archive feature that lets you move important messages to a memory card for permanent storage. The application requires 821K of storage space and is free to download, with a $2.99 per month service fee.
Battery life is exceptional–I used the phone heavily for several days before the battery meter went down to half charge. The battery charger that comes with the phone is very small and light, but unfortunately does not feature folding prongs.