The Samsung Brightside is no smart phone. But for a basic phone with no required data plan, I believe it deserves "Best in Class."
The call quality is good, and Verizon offers the best coast-to-coast coverage in the cellular industry. The touch screen feels accurate and responsive. As with their Galaxy Tab, Samsung has proven they can build a good touch screen.
One uniqueness is that the Brightside offers both a touchscreen and a slide-out physical keyboard. This adds some girth to the phone, but it's still lightweight, and the frame does not feel bulky. It's a welcome accessory for heavy texting.
Other perks include a camera and music player. The 3.2 megapixel camera is just what I need for those unplanned "Kodak moments" when I don't have a regular camera around. It's far superior to the 1.3 megapixel on my previous two phones. The music player is pretty straightforward and puts out a good sound that's not too quiet or tinny.
That said, there are a few negatives. I would've appreciated more customization options with things like home page colors, font sizes, etc. When testing out some PDF files, I found the document viewer slow and clunky and see myself using it very little. I had some problems downloading drivers when I first plugged in the USB. It also took me a while to get the phone to recognize my music files. But with a little persistence, all seems to be working smoothly now.
Sure, we'd all love to have a smart phone. But the $30/mo. data plan is hard to swallow when many of us already have internet access. If you're looking for a sleek touch screen phone and don't expect to use internet much, the Brightside is a great option.
on March 7, 2012
This isn't a smart phone. But it might be one of the best non smart phones, with many of the features you get with the smart phones (touch screen, flick of the finger picture viewing, etc), but without the $30/month for a data plan nor the $200 purchase price.
I also had verizon ENV3 -- which i loved -- except for the problem of it shutting it self down. it used to be 1x/month, now it's 5x/day so it's time for a new phone. It was what i wanted -- good camera, great keyboard, no huge price or data plan.
so now that the ENV3 was unusable, i went looking for a replacement and this was the best i found. BTW, i just got it tonight and i've never written a review before, but this was soo good i thought it worthy.
I bought it at bestbuy and paid 29 bucks. coulda bought it here cheaper, but i wanted to feel the keyboard. that's one feature that is soo important, but you'll never know unless you try it in the store. I tried a bunch, and some don't have the spacing, or enough 3 dimentional "bubble" for you to feel the keys. this one is fantastic!
I didn't care about the touch screen initially. But after using it, and having the same picture scrolling ability as an iphone was cool. (though it's limited: you can't "spread your fingers" to zoom, etc. but you can drag to scroll though them).
biggest bummer is that many of the options only have 2 or 3 options, with what i'd say are some glaring omissions. (examples below). So yeah, it could be better, but for what i wanted it's great.
a) screen lock options: 1) lock ley only, 2)lock key and end key 3)any key -- where's the option to unlock with a passcode? the only passcode option is when it wakes up from power up. my phone isn't secure!
b) display themes: 1) orange, 2) green. - it's not bad, but usually you have 5 choices,etc
just some stuff like that. other stuff was very configurable (having the main menu icons be chosen by you, etc)
Also on the picture viewing. with my ENV3 i could click on "zoom"then use the left/right keys to selectively zoom. this one doesn't let you do that. you just zoom on the center one time.
anywho, i love it, but it's not perfect.
1)overall a 9.5/10 for a non smart phone.
2)some smart phone like features without a data plan
4)nice big touch screen, re-orderable main menu.
5)as good as any MP3 player (playlists, up to 32G SDcard, etc)
woulda been nice/could have been better:
1) limited options for configurability
2) not great zooming capability when going through your pics
3) limited locking ability/security
on March 10, 2012
First, this is not a smart phone. It's a basic phone with no data requirements. For what it is, it does a great job.
Pros: Compared to other touch screen phones I've used, this one is way faster and has a nice, responsive screen. But it lets you have the best of both world with its slide-out QWERTY. And yes, you can use the touch screen simultaneously with the slider. You can customize the home screen as far as which icons you want displayed. Threaded texting is huge for me, a feature missing from a lot of other basic phones. The camera is not awesome, but is among the best for current basic phones spec-wise. Support for external memory is a huge plus. The music player accepts a good deal of formats, so I can just drag and drop songs from iTunes right into my phone.
Cons: Customizability is somewhat limited, though I don't agree with some of the other reviews that say it isn't customizable at all. It would've been great to have Bluetooth 3 (this one still utilizes 2.x). Another feature that would've been nice (but again, this is a basic phone) is an accelerometer (i.e. when you turn the phone sideways, the screen flips to match your orientation). The "document reader" looks nice on paper, but doesn't perform well at all -- very slow and unresponsive. However, it's not a feature I see myself using. Ever.
If you're like me and don't want to pay the $30/month for data, but you want a nice big screen and a slide-out QWERTY, this is one of the best out there right now. Keep in mind, though, that it's not a smartphone. Don't expect the moon for features. It's a wonderful upgrade from my LG Cosmos.
on September 28, 2012
I didn't buy it from this seller--I bought it elsewhere for a couple of cents, in person.
(Beware! there is a $30.00 upgrading fee, regardless if its basic or web)
I wanted to give feedback to those who are having troubles with using it.
the camera is better used in REAL daylight and you can change the settings for the Saturation, Contrast, Brightness, Size, and whatever else you want to mess with. The icons appear at the side of the phone face when you're in camera mode. There are some knock off graphic "frames" you can play with for a joke and send to friends--I have done this to my cat and my mother which were HILARIOUS. ;)
Sound quality is GOOD. I wasn't really trying to focus on anything.
I haven't really used it to really record anything for any significance yet--so, I can't say much about it.
TOUCH SCREEN USE
The screen is able to slide from side to side when viewing pictures in "My Pictures"
The screen is able to slide from top to bottom when scrolling for contacts, pictures, sounds, ringtones, etc etc.
The screen is timed by the "Backlight Timer" within the "Display Settings" in the "Menu" area where it will shut off.
If you have found that your phone shuts off randomly, it doesn't really shut off. The phone goes to SLEEP after a couple of seconds. This is because you have the backlight timer to shut off in 45 seconds. If you set the backlight to be on longer, then it won't "Go to Sleep" like a computer monitor. To simply turn it back on, press the "lock" button on the right side of its face and wala! Its awake. :) That and it can also be that within "Settings"--in "Touch Settings" you have your phone set to "Auto Lock" and this will automatically lock your phone and go to sleep. You can turn this off and on and how you want to unlock your screen. I have mine set to "Lock Key Only" and "Auto Lock" ON.
If you have found that you touch things accidentally whether by your contact "favorites" on the main screen or anywhere else, then go to the "Menu" and go to "Display Settings"--change the menu options you have for your main screen. You can Position Menu Items - Replace Menu Items - Change Menu Layout - Reset Menu Settings.
And when you're setting your "Favorites"--make sure you put them on "Always Ask"--always ask meaning that when you click on them, it shows you icons if you want to call - text - view details for your contact. This limits accidentally calling someone.
MEMORY CARD USE
I did have a bit of a tiff at first with my memory card but that's because I had mp3 songs on it that ate up all the memory and lost my pictures I had on it--my fault. LOL But anyway--YOU CAN use the USD card! Go to "Menu" and then go to "Settings"--scroll down and go to "Card Memory"--scroll down and "Move All to Phone"--if you want to move whatever you have saved on your card to the phone. Beware! I don't suggest moving everything on your Samsung Brightside onto the memory card unless your planning on upgrading your phone or getting rid of it. Transferring all memory from the phone onto the card will erase all information on the phone. However, if you just want keep your pictures saved or moved onto the memory card, that's fine. If you do accidentally do this and aren't replacing the phone, just go back to the settings and "Move All to Phone"--this will send everything back onto your phone. Your main screen wallpaper will need to be re-set if it isn't set as a default picture from the phone. You will also have to re-set your "Groups" if you grouped your contacts into categories from friends - business - family, etc etc. Possibly their custom tunes and tones for messaging and calling too? So be careful.
KEY PAD (KEYBOARD) BEEP NOISE
I HATE the beep beep beep! rofl < . < Anyway--Go to "Sound Settings"--scroll to "Touch & Keypad Volume" and turn it "OFF"
This will save a lot of headache for those who do not like beeping all day when using their phones--and so they don't have to turn off their sounds and miss a call or miss a text, etc etc.
You can also turn off the sound when turning your phone on or off in the same place--its on bottom of those settings.
SETTING CUSTOM SOUNDS TO TEXT - VIDEO - CALLING
You can custom set sounds and ringtones to contacts. (I don't know why people are having a problem with this?) All my contacts are set to different tunes and tones--that way I know whose bugging me. LOL jk But it's not that hard. When you add a "New Contact"--you can just simply setup easily that way. I am able to use whatever I want, especially the sounds or songs I moved to my phone from the memory card!
Go to "Settings"--scroll to "Memory"--then scroll to "Phone Memory"--all memory that you moved onto your phone from your card memory will all be located on here, especially the default stuff. I haven't found an easier way to go to "My Sounds" or anything, so I stick to using this method. This may help those who think they can't use or find their downloaded or saved sounds, music, pictures, videos, and contacts.
I have found that it shows "Call back number # xxx-xxx-xxx"--displaying your phone number CONSTANTLY on all messages--I found this annoying. So, therefore--go into "New Message" icon--click on "More"--scroll down the menu to "Callback #" and click off. Wala! It's off and your not annoyed anymore. You can also set your signature, messaging font size, emergency alerts, delivery receipts and how you view messages and multimedia messages and Inbox View and your Entry Mode. "T9 MODE" is where you press letters and it sets up the word for you. You can turn this off and on when you are in the middle of texting and whatever.
LOCK YOUR PHONE
You can lock your phone, if you don't want nibby noses getting into your personal business. Go to "Settings"--scroll to "Phone Settings"--then go to "Security". At first it tells you that your security code tells you what it is to get into it. Then from there, you can change the pre-made code to what you like. I have mine setup to lock-out on start up, which is the only feature for it. But if you want to "Lock Your Phone Now" that's there too, so once you press "Lock Now"--it's locked "now". Don't enter your code unless you want to get back into it, then you'd have to go back in and do "Lock Phone Now."
I am going to stop here. If you go through settings and go to each specific option in either or, you'll find that you can set your phone how you want it. Call settings are in there to, where you want to set it to either Slide Open to Answer ( I don't recommend this) - Any Key to Answer (I don't recommend this) - Auto Answer with Handsfree (I don't recommend this) - Auto Retry (I don't recommend this) - TTY Mode - Voice Privacy - Select Port: BLUETOOTH - Port Speed - DTMF Tones - Assisted Dialing (I have this off).
I have had my phone for a couple of days now? Mine doesn't freeze. The USB charger is fine and works beautifully. My battery is not short and nor does it die often or daily for that matter--this is probably because I have my phone to fall asleep within 45 seconds timer set for my backlight and I don't turn it off and on like a mad person. Texting is fast and easy! The keys are small--all smartphones are like that--the keyboard will be comfortable for those who are a bit touchy-touchy and oopsah-daisy!
I imagine the battery life is drained for smartphone users who have the "WEB" on their phone. I also imagine that your battery life will get cut down even more when you set your backlight to last longer to keep it from going to sleep on you when you're not using it after 30-45 seconds. For those who don't want to scream at paying so much for this phone--do your research, I did. I got it for .96cents. And I love my phone, even if there are only two color main menu settings. :)
And the only thing I found disappointing is that there are no more "GRAPHICS" (fun little icons to add to your text messages) to add to messages. You can only "Attach" pictures, videos, sounds, recorded sounds, name cards--Add Subjects, Insert Quick Text and Priority levels. Recorded sounds are when you record a sound right that second or minute and send it as is. XD I think I'll have some fun with this.
IMPORTANT LAST BIT OF ADVICE
Lastly, if you worry you might butt dial someone--REMEMBER TO SET YOUR PHONE TO ONLY UNLOCK BY THE "LOCK KEY" WHEN THE SCREEN GOES TO SLEEP! Even if you receive a phone call or a text message or video message it won't open or go through unless you "Drag across the screen to unlock." THE LOCK KEY is the most important thing on your phone. Keep it on and keep using it! When you set your phone to only unlock by the "Lock Key"--no other keys can turn your phone on from sleeping unless you slide your phone open to the keyboard, that will automatically unlock your phone.
If you don't like that your phone auto answers or whatever--go to "Settings"--scroll to "Call Settings"--and whatever setting options within "Settings" and turn them off and on how you want it. I mentioned before under "TOUCH SCREEN USE" that you can limit this by turning off the any key answering and whatever. Good Luck!
*EDIT: NEW INFO. 10/12/2012*
Verizon has so lovingly added a "Daily Scoop" prompt. It will interrupt you or wake up your phone to tell you new news on phones or whatever. It gets old and annoying. But it only lasts a week (It tells you the first time it starts to do it). If you want news from Verizon then go ahead and subscribe or whatever (It may cost you?). I didn't, though. Just keep clicking "Dismiss" when it shows it to you and it'll stop completely after a week.
I have found that there is a thing called "Phone Search" after fiddling with my phone some more. Go to "Menu"--click on "Tools"--scroll to "Phone Search." Here you will be able to type in one word or more to find what you're looking for if you cannot find anything that I have told you. For example, I typed in 'Sounds' and pressed 'Done'--it found "Sound Settings" and "My Sounds" for me. This may or may not take longer to find things if you are a fast touch screen user. This will find anything that is on your phone that you're searching for!
DRAFT OVERLOAD PROBLEMS?
I have found that if you are not fast enough to send a message that you're typing out, it'll be interrupted as usual (like on other phones) and be sent to "Drafts." The problem I have found is that if you keep getting repeatedly interrupted while texting and all your messages keep being sent to "Drafts"--it'll annoy your phone and it's memory. When you're in 'messaging', click on "More"--then click on "Draft". All your draft messages are located here. Click on "More" again and
'Erase' ALL of your drafts. Your phone will get mad and say that your messages are full and blah blah when you go back into "Messaging." Just get out of there after you erase your 'Drafts'. Shut your phone off for a couple of seconds and then turn it back on. Once you go back into "Messaging" it won't show that "Your messages is full" prompt. It doesn't happen often. I have only happened to me once (Since the person I was texting is monsterly faster than me, lol). So, I thought I'd share.
on March 5, 2012
I must begin by saying I feel Verizon feature phones are rather terrible. Their cameras are bad even by 2008 standards. They have little customizability, and they often feel very very cheap.
I used an enV3 for three years, and despite random shut-down problems and freak-outs when exposed to japanese characters, it was a decent phone. The env3 took acceptable pictures and had good volume and call quality. The Brightside is about the same thickness and has a slightly larger footprint. The construction feels solid and the buttons on the QWERTY keypad are quieter but spaced closer together than those on the enV3 which makes texting a bit tougher.
My main complaint about the Brightside is that you can't do much to customize it. You have two options for font size - big and REALLY big. That means you can't see much on the screen when reading/writing text messages. When you look at call history or contacts, you can only see a few entries at a time. My enV3 has a smaller screen but can fit at least 50% more information.
If a text alert is set to "vibrate" the thing vibrates three times every time you get a text message which I find annoying. Some icons on the front screen can be moved or changed but others are permanent. Many of them require a data plan to use, which is ridiculous because no one in their right mind would buy such a low end phone while paying for data.
For a resistive touch screen, the phone response is excellent. I can't scroll as quickly as I can on an iPhone, but that's only a minor inconvenience. I haven't used the phone enough to comment on call quality, picture taking, or battery life. A 3.2 MP camera is pretty low by today's standards, but it's hard to do any better without getting a smart phone. The phone also has great volume.
In short, I feel this phone could be a ton better if programmers tweaked the UI just a little. As it is, I like it more than the Convoy (which I purchased and returned) but less than the enV3.
If anyone has specific questions, I'd be happy to try to answer them.
P.S. The reason I'm replacing my old phone is because the battery has gone to pot, and despite using 3 different new replacement batteries, I can't get more than about 1 day of standby time out of it. It also shuts down when it sees characters with accents making it impossible to receive text messages from some friends and colleagues.
UPDATE 3/18/2012: The OS on this phone is pretty buggy. It allows you to set custom sounds and ringtones as the primary alert and ring sounds, but often when the phone rings or makes its "alert" sound, it plays the default sounds. Additionally, you can only associate the built in tones and alerts with specific people. The menus will not allow you to select anything you've added to memory.
I've also found that it's very easy to accidentally touch the wrong "button" on the touch screen. I find myself frequently accidentally calling voice mail. Using the touch screen to send messages is problematic. The captive screen IS very sensitive, but it's still nowhere near as good as an iPhone. When I try to type quickly, letters often get missed, and I have to delete the word and start over. I always use the QWERTY keypad for texting now.
The only reason I am not giving this phone two stars is because it has done well with calls so far, which at the end of the day is primarily what a phone is supposed to do.
on March 12, 2012
I have been keeping my eye out for any new basic phones coming out for Verizon, and as soon as I saw this phone had been released I immediately ordered it. Coming from an LG Cosmos, this phone is a huge upgrade!!! It reminds me of my friend's Samsung Reality, which I think is a stylish phone.
So onto the actual review, after having this phone for about a week,I have found it to be quite good. The touch screen is very responsive, which compared to older touch screen basic phones is a huge improvement! At first I was afraid I would not like having a home screen, in the same sense of having a wallpaper when the phone is unlocked. But after using for the phone for a while, it makes sense to take out that one extra level a user has to navigate through to get to the things that really matter. The camera is nothing fancy, but for spontaneous picture moments it will do the job.
I found the phone to be a little slick to the touch and was afraid of dropping it, so I purchased a case from Verizon, which adds bulk, but gives the phone a very solid feel and nice weight.
So on to the negatives... So far there is only one major problem I have found with this phone. This may just be an issue with my individual phone, though it seems unlikely. It seems to be a software issue. When using the T9 feature while texting with out the keyboard, the phone will stop taking input. Then when I select the option to view possible words and select one, it prints what we in the computer science world call "garbage". Just a bunch of nonsense characters. The phone then proceeds to reboot. Now this is more of an inconvenience, since most major texting I'll be using the keyboard. But since the feature is provided, it should work!!! Sometimes I am multitasking and do not have 2 hands free to use the keyboard (which is nice by the way).
Anyway that is all I have, I will provide updates if I find any major faults or awesomeness with this phone. If anyone else has the same issue while using T9 please let me know I am not alone! Otherwise I will probably try to replace the phone.
on June 4, 2012
This really is a perfect phone for me! I cannot figure out where all these negative reviews came from. The touch screen is perfectly responsive, and I like using both the slide out keyboard as well as the onscreen entry. You can set it to stay at a T9 entry mode and it is easy to select the particular letters you need. It is really nice to be able to customize the buttons on the main screen, and the camera is great! Nice clear pictures with good color. The lock button is really nice--I haven't had any issues of having the phone pocket dial anyone; once it is locked, it stays locked for me. I love this phone! No problems whatsoever with this phone.
on October 15, 2012
I hate this phone. It is a cruel, cruel world that selected this phone to be the replacement for my old beloved EnV 3. I recieved this phone from Asurion after my LG suffered technical malfunctions. Initially, I enjoyed the icons and the touch screen. I felt that the touchscreen functioned much like the Droid in a basic phone property. The icons are useful to some extent, although I'm not sure who needs their social media, e-mail, and various other apps on a basic phone lacking a data plan. I was also mildly disappointed in my color options being either orange or green. Regardless, I was pretty thrilled for several days, until I actually started using the thing.
Currently, this is the list of things that drive me crazy:
* Calls my voicemail several times a day from the "lock" screen, while in my pocket.
* Calls my voicemail after sending a text message.
* Calls other people at random (I'm sure I accidentally touched something, I'm just not sure what, exactly).
* Holding the thing up to my ear during a call is interpreted as hitting "End Call". Thus far, I have yet to complete a call.
* In the event you have to use the keypad for any reason during a phone all (say, to activate said phone) you will be up a creek. Way, way up a creek. It forced me to reset my voicemail password after I failed to use the keypad properly. I have been through 3 phone with the same password, and this is the first time I've ever had issues accessing my voicemail.
* When opening phone to use keyboard, it is likely you will either take a picture, or drop phone while attempting not to take a picture.
* Takes pictures while attempting to send text messages. Deletes text message.
* Erases entire conversations while unlocking "lock" screen.
* Occasionally reverts to second to last person I texted when hitting "reply" rather than the person I was replying to. Uncomfortable.
* Occasionally shuts off after sending text message.
* Occasionally shuts off from lock screen.
* My god, this thing loves taking pictures. I delete pictures of the inside of my pocket daily.
I'm waiting to hear back from Verizon about the possibility of sending me another phone, or a brick that is both more intuitive and more satisfying when I feel like smashing my head against something every time I fail to complete a call or a text. My second option is to replace my beloved EnV3 via Ebay.
Samsung has been on a roll in recent years with their Galaxy line of Smartphones and tablets and now they have a really nice basic phone option for value conscious buyers. Here is what you need to know:
+3.1 inch touch screen - something that so many basic phones don't have.
+Slide out keyboard - not a "real" QWERTY like the Droid 4, but a very nice one and great for texting.
+Software that let's you share to social media with a single touch - a vast improvement over other basic phones!
+3.2 MP camera - low res compared to the 8 MP Smartphones out there, but top notch for basic phones. Can also capture video but it is low res.
+Expandable memory up to 32 GB SD - nice for picture takers, but a 4 GB is more than enough for a basic phone. Comes with 256 MB flash and 128 MB RAM.
+Opera Mini browser - so much better than the standard BREW / Verizon browser on basic phones. Closer to the real thing.
+Audio player plays MP3, AAC, AAC+, M4A, WMA and other types of audio files - if you want an inexpensive player this is a good one. With the expandable memory up to 32 GB, you can play a ton of music here without the iPod price.
+EVDO 3G radio (with CDMA 1x RTT backup) means pretty good speed for browsing and downloading (has access to VCAST/ Verizon Apps, including VZNavigator). It isn't 4G but 4G would be wasted on this phone anyway.
Bottom line: the price is right - this is a very smart priced full feature basic phone - and the features are more than enough for a basic phone. It fills the niche of Smartphone-like basic phone desiring owners. I like it.
on March 26, 2012
Was looking for a phone that didn't need the $30/month data plan and was really struggling to find something decent. I was excited to try the Brightside but concerned about some of the negative reviews. Most of those negative reviews compared it to a smartphone...it is not a smartphone. But, I think it is probably the best feature phone available at this point. Very comfortable texting, good call quality, battery life seems reasonable, touch screen responds nicely, 3.2mp camera (though it is quite slow to record image on my class 2 micro sd card...I just ordered a Class 10 card and hopefully that will take care of that issue), can add e-mail/data for $10/month. I am very pleased and would purchase again.
(Update: Class 10 card helps a lot ... time went from nearly 30 seconds per photo with my class 2 micro sd card to 1-2 seconds with the class 10 card!).