- Excellent call quality
- Very good battery life
- Excellent keyboard
- thicker and heavier than comparable phones
- Barely adequate camera
- No bundled microSD memory card
A good solid mid-range phone with a great keyboard, nice voice quality, and very good battery life.
The Samsung Transform is one of the latest Android OS 2.1 phones available from Sprint. It includes a 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen display, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and dual cameras.
It is available now for $150 with a new two-year service contract, and after a $100 mail-in rebate.
BUILD & DESIGN:
This model looks like many similar smartphones on the market today, with a large screen that dominates the device and minimal buttons. The corners are nicely rounded, and the case is made entirely of black plastic aside from the chrome band running around the edges of the phone, on top of the keyboard slider.
Overall size is similar to most modern phones. The Transform measures 4.6-inches tall and 2.42-inches wide, just slightly larger than the iPhone. Thickness is a different matter; the Transform is significantly thicker due to the physical keyboard. It’s heavier too, at 5.4 ounces.
It fits nicely into a pocket, but you probably won’t forget that it’s there. It isn’t too large or bulky, just not as slender and light as other phones.
The 3.5-inch HVGA (320 x 240) touchscreen is very good, but it isn’t amazing. There are larger, higher-resolution screens out there, but these are generally on more expensive phones, of course. I did find that the display has good color saturation, good clarity and contrast, and minimal pixelation when examined up close.
The display is responsive to my touch; I didn’t have the dreaded “tap here, get no response, tap again and again, harder each time” problem with the Transform. There were also no issues with a jumpy cursor or a too responsive display either.
The slide-out QWERTY keyboard is really nice, one of the best I’ve used in recent memory. The keys are very large, taking up as much space as possible, so I didn’t have any problem hitting the wrong key. They are also very flat and in essence flush with the surrounding area; there is only a slight bump on the two home keys. I still get good tactile feedback; pressing each key gives a small click and you know when you’ve depressed the key enough for it to register.
The key layout is quite nice, with no funky or strange placements. The Backspace, Enter, and OK buttons are on the right side, and the arrow keys are grouped on the bottom right side of the keyboard. Punctuation and numbers are accessed by first pressing the orange function key on the lower left corner of the keyboard. You will also find a smiley-faced emoticon key, symbol key, and the @ sign just to the left of the space bar, while the control key is between the space bar and the arrow keys.
The graphics on the keys are very large and easy to see in daylight and when illuminated in white for use in the dark. Though I would have liked Samsung to use a color other than pale orange to label the numbers and punctuation for better readability, I didn’t have too much trouble finding the right mark, especially with a little practice.
Other Buttons & Controls
The power button is on the top right side of the device, with the voice dial button below. The camera button is on the bottom right side, and the volume up/down buttons are on the top left side of the phone.
The microSD card slot is on the bottom left side, but is hidden under the back cover of the phone. Thankfully the back cover is easy to remove, and the card slot is not under the battery, so it isn’t too difficult to swap out if necessary.
The headphone jack and the charge/sync port are on the top of the phone, and the charge/sync port is covered by a very nice little sliding door as opposed to the standard rubber plug or open port. The placement is very strange if you’re trying to use the phone while it is plugged in; my natural instinct was to pick up the phone with the cord hanging from the bottom, not the top. There’s nothing wrong with that, I just prefer that type of thing to be on the bottom edge of the phone instead of the top.