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on April 1, 2012
We love this phone! We upgraded from Samsung Intensity's. Verizon was gonna let us have this phone for $99 each. We had a $30 loyalty discount so one would've been discounted to $69. Amazon hooked us up with a pair of 'em for just two pennies. That's a savings of $167.98! Oh, and I had no idea, but they threw in two car chargers as well, for nothing! That'd have been at least another $20 from Verizon, I'm sure. So for us, this is great. We've never paid for a phone, unless there was a 100% rebate. Now I'm out 2 cents, but I'll manage somehow!

As for the phone, it's a nice upgrade from the Intensity. It has the look and feel of a smartphone, but we don't subscribe to data plans, so no cost for that. But it does have some browsing and FB apps if you want a data plan for those features. We just make phone calls and text, so I can't say much for apps.

The phone is responsive to touch, the only lag being going into apps, which we don't bother with. We are fans of the slide out keyboard. This one is slightly better than what the Intensity had. The grid menu can be replaced with shortcuts, which we have done. That shows a favorite contacts bar at the bottom, which is nice. We can easily get to what we need, which is mostly contacts. The contacts search is quick too, with a smart index tab slider. The display turns off when held to your ear and it reactivates when pulled away. There's an auto dim feature that I like, so I don't get a flashlight in my face at night.

Battery life seems pretty good. I have no scientific measurements, but we can chat and text a lot in a day and still have battery left when I get home. It seems to have good standby, even though it connects to our home phone system using bluetooth, which I thought it might drain it quickly. Having a charger at home and in the car guarantees we can pretty much chat w/o worry. A spare can be dropped in place in about 10 seconds, just like on the Intensity.

The only downside is the lack of colors. The shell is black - no other colors. My wife likes colors; I like black. We have ways to fix that for her though; skins, stickers, krylon, etc. The themes are slim, offering only green or orange. Why there's no array of colors to choose from, I dunno, but it's not a biggie for us. The lockscreen has a wallpaper feature.

I'd get it again given a choice of anything else that's free. (of course, free means I extend my contract another 2 yrs)
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on May 30, 2012
You can read my review of the phone below, but I am editing this review to warn customers of Verizon Wireless's customer service change regarding roaming. They used to be easy to deal with if any billing or technical issues arose. Now, if your phone roams for any reason, even if you are in your home coverage area, they will tell you it is your problem and to set your phone to home even if it will not be able to make or receive calls. In this particular case, my Daughter's older LG phone would roam in the exact same spot that my Samsung Brightside did not roam, so I considered it an issue with their towers/network. I wasted hours on the phone with customer support and technical support regarding the issue. It happened once a year ago and it was a two minute phone call to get it resolved. This time, I had to escalate the issue to the executive offices of Verizon Wireless to get my issue resolved, and they noted during the call that future roaming charges would not be credited. So beware of roaming with Verizon Wireless, you are not likely get the roaming charges removed.

I was not sure how I would like this phone when I ordered it(I looked at it briefly in the Verizon store), but it beat all my expectations. The speakerphone works great, and the MP3 player is a pretty good copy of my ipod touch and the contacts menus are a pretty good copy of an iphone. It looks like a smartphone and the large touchscreen plus a very good slide out keyboard are great features to have. No regrets about this purchase, and amazon's one cent price can't be beat. There will still be a $35 activation fee, the same as everywhere else. I had a Blackberry from my previous job and liked the Blackberry holsters so I ordered one for $4.16 from Amazon and this phone fit perfectly in OEM BLACKBERRY SWIVEL HOLSTER CASE FOR BLACKBERRY TOUR 9630 9650 CURVE 8310 8300 8320 8330.

I read some reviews about viewing angle issues or hard to see the display in bright light, I disagree with those comments. I will agree that the screen is a bit sensitive to accidental touches, and the scan forward feature of the MP3 player is actually hard to hit the correct spot that senses your finger, but these are minor issues that go away with a little practice.

If you want to only make calls, I would recommend having Verizon block out all the data features, it is easy to accidentally open a menu for email, web or apps that ask if you want to activate(extra charge)the service. If you block these features through Verizon, you won't have to worry about accidentally hitting a wrong button(or your kids hitting them).

The only feature I wish it had was wifi, like the iphone has, but they want to sell you a data plan. Therefore, I will still have to use my ipod touch to access the web via wifi from a handheld device.
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on July 6, 2012
This phone was an option for an upgrade for the Verizon family plan for 100 dollars. It is not worth 100 dollars. Unless you for some reason, desperately want a touch screen, it really isn't worth 100 dollars.

1) The touch screen works well enough but it's almost oversensitive. When I talk using it, it will assume I pressed a button when I hold it against my cheek.
If I put the phone down, it will say I pressed some section of the screen, most frequently voicemail, which it will start dialing immediately.
2) Comes preinstalled with bloatware.
3) Bloatware comes with advertising. The City ID app had a full screen ad telling me to subscribe to a monthly service. This was fixable as I could uninstall it. The VZ navigator app, however, is not fixable. IT WILL LOUDLY TELL YOU ABOUT ITS MANY CAPABILITIES EVEN WHEN THE PHONE IS MUTED. It, along with several other apps, is locked and uninstallable.
4) The font on the phone has two options: Large and very large. There is no small font. You end up with a large screen displaying very little of a text.

1) Has 3G. If you want 3G but don't want to pay for the smartphone data plans, get this. There's still a data plan fee but it's a good deal smaller.
2) The pull out keyboard is fairly well sized. It isn't too large so it isn't awkward to hold. The keys are well spaced so you won't end up pressing the wrong button often.
3) It's camera is decent. Not anything to write home about but if you forgot your camera and you see something unforgettable, it's there.
4) It is expandable by SD card. Considering it's limited memory, this is almost necessary. The slot is hidden from view, located underneath the back of the phone, along with the battery.

All in all: It's a decent phone. It's just not worth 100 dollars.
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on April 5, 2012
What's Real Good:
-Uber responsive crystal-clear touchscreen, surprisingly quicker than my LG Dare. Near iPhone, Droid response but not quite the processing power obviously. Tackles the touch-screen job and does it well.
-Probably best in class for a feature phone on the Verizon plan.
-Intuitive Menu system with simple yet useful shortcuts that is well laid out allowing quick, unobtrusive access without any hiccups
-Very affordable if you are willing to depart ways from 2 gnarly cents. Upgrade here on Amazon and save $50. Either way, on amazon or Verizon, upgrading means signing another 2 year contract. Might as well buy here on Amazon.
-Amazing slide-out full size QWERTY keyboard makes for a speedy "quick triggers" texter. Slide-outs are usually dinky and conducive to fat-fingering. No worries here as the keyboard is a decent size compared to ideal flip-phone "texter" QWERTY's without being overly large and clunky. I came off the LG Dare with exclusive touch-screen QWERTY and was anticipating the transition to come with somewhat of a daunting learning curve. Pleasantly surprised this is not the case. I am one happy texting machine.

What's good:
-Closest you can come to a smart phone without signing away on a 2 year ($30+ a month data-plan)
-Great supplement if you already have an iOS device (such as a iTouch) or you sit in front an office computer all day for apps, internet etc
-USB interface is easy to use making for nearly seamless media downloads/uploads.
-Setup was a breeze, both with activating the line and initial customization
-Comes equipped with Verizon's Backup Assistant for initial setup of backing up your contacts or transferring from your previous phone. This is a great utility that connects seamlessly to the Verizon hub for ensuring contacts/phone backup protection. Setup was a cakewalk. Great feature on the phone and from Verizon!
-Packed with Blue-tooth that offers decent functionality and be synced with most devices

What's not-so-good:
-Apps and apps-store are pretty much useless. Basic games do the trick but do not remotely compare to the Apple or DROID app store. If this what you are after, look elsewhere.
-Smart Phone-esque WITHOUT Wireless capability. Sad really because it seems like such a simple feature these days. It would have made a nice added touch however browsing on this phone wouldn't be the most ideal despite it coming with a decent browser anyway.
-Very limited customizable options. Little to none customization display options make the phone lack personalization ie go nuts with the 2 colors to choose from for the Menu (to flash my spunky personality, I went with Orange instead of Green, if only I had the same options for my Prom suit) and a whopping 5 maniacal fonts each sporting Normal or Large size variety (Grande or Venti?). Furthermore, the Full or Short-cut Menu are always on the fore-front rendering the Wallpaper pointless except when on the locked time-display screen.
-Turning the phone sideways without the slide-out doesn't offer a touch-screen QWERTY. Somewhat disappointed with this as it would have been easy to accomplish and made for on-the-fly texting. My LG Dare had this and I miss it. The suave slide-out, full-size QWERTY somewhat makes up for it though.
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on March 28, 2013
I was almost dissuaded from purchasing this phone by the bad reviews but my Intensity II is pretty beat up so I took a chance. If I were used to a smart phone I would probably not be satisfied with this phone, however for someone who has used the Samsung Intensity II for a couple of years I couldn't be happier. It is what I was looking for. Touch screen is responsive and it is plenty fast. I don't go online or check e-mail with my phone (have a tablet or desktop for that) and just want a phone. Like most things if one actually reads the manual it clears up any "problems" that one might be having that are a result of being unfamiliar with the device.
If you just want a basic phone with some conveniences don't be afraid to buy this phone. If you want a premier phone then pay the premier price with the data plan and enjoy........
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on November 11, 2012
****update 2/17/2013***********
Still have my Brightside and yes it is still great and performing well! Getting ready to upgrade another family member to the Brightside. I am glad that I am being true to myself and household. So several months later and yes I am still happy with the Brightside. It really is a great choice.

I needed a new phone. I have been looking for a good basic phone for myself (adult) mother of more than four children and wife. I really really wanted a smart phone and while shopping for a new phone became so tempted to go with a smart phone because right now Verizon is giving away the I phone 4 for free plus $30.00 data package. The Samson Galaxy Steller is also going for $50.00 plus $30.00 data package and 2 year contract.

I was so close to signing up for one of the smart phones. But then I had to remember to be true to myself, live below our means, Live like no one else so that later we can live like no one else. With that said. We have a total of five phones on a family plan and we do not go over our minutes. My husband has a Droid, and the way for our family to all have a phone we have to make sure the rest of us stick to the basic phones so that our monthly bill remains below $200.00 after taxes. While going over my options, I stayed true to myself and purchased this phone for a penny and our bill will only increase by ten dollars a month. We can all still have phones and afford to pay the phone bill.

The Bright side is a very nice phone. I am very happy with this phone. This phone has a lot to offer and is user friendly. I read though the reviews on Amazon and other websites. I also watched Youtube reviews of this phone before I made my selection.

I went with this phone because I did not want an additional data package at thirty dollars which means an additional $360 a year. The only reason my husband has a smart phone is because of the type of job he has. Other than that he would also have a bright side phone.

So far no problems with this phone, I was Leary of the phone because of all the bad reviews. So I did my research and even went by Verizon so that I could touch and see the phone in person. Once I saw the phone and held the phone in my hands I knew I had to have the bright side, I knew that phone would work for me. I also went over all the other options of getting a smart phone and the cost. I could not justify my WANT for a smart phone at this time. I try my best to plan ahead before leaving the house and don't need internet on the go at this time. I have all the places that I frequent in my contact list so that I can call ahead if needed. If I need movie times, I can call ahead or check the internet at home before I leave. If I needed to go out to eat I have the places I like to eat in my contacts so I can call them if needed.

If I needed to price match something, I shop around before hand and can go to the store and make the price match. Some stores will look up the item on the internet anyway so that they can price match the item. We receive the newspaper so I can take the ad to the store with me.

So at this time for our household the bright side was the right choice for our household. Our children like the bright side as well. I could not have asked for a better phone. I switched to the Bright side from my Env 3, which I so liked.

The bright side has a bigger screen, key pad, nice ring tones, very nice speaker phone, very clear voice during conversation. All I really need a phone for is to make calls and text. I am not into all the games, social media, etc. I check email before I leave and once I return home. If anyone really needs me they will call or text instead of sending an email. I don't need to check any social media during the day.

We have cut down on so many cost, including cable, no need for cable, we use Roku, Revue (Google TV ) to stream Netflix. We receive over 60 local channels though our digital box and Mohu Antenna. Items purchased here on Amazon. We have a richer life and can watch T.V. when we want and talk on the Cell phones at an affordable price. We also only pay $29.00 a year for our home phone. We use Nettalk for our home service.

So with that said, be true to yourself, for us everyone in our house hold does not need a smart phone, sure we all want one. But we must love people and not things. We have to be wise stewards and then we can live like no one else.

Also when I purchased this phone, there was a lady next to me purchasing smart phones, her total was $773.00 at first and then the more she purchased her final total was over a thousand dollars for phones and accessories.. You know the sales person that was helping me checked me out at a different location in the store because they had a line and of course they did not want anyone to see the amount of my bill which was a penny.

I walked out proud and was able to show our children, to buy what you need not what you want. To not follow the herd, to have discipline when it comes to impulse shopping. I do not want to be sticker shocked later when the bill comes for cell phone service. We want to vacation, eat out when we want, (we eat at home more), we want to ensure we have money to maintain our garden, to go to the movies when we want to treat our selves out.

If you are looking for a great phone without the data package this phone is it! Also I was out with my mother who has an I phone, she needed to look something up and could not use her phone on the 3g wifi because everyone in the area had their wifi locked, you would need the password. So she had to switch over to an alternative way to use the internet on her phone and she told me that if she did not have the unlimited, it would cost so much to use the internet the alternative way. I also have a co worker who told me that she consistently has to pay for the overage, of her sons usage of the data package. So do the math for your household, do your research for your household and your spending plan. If you do not want to pay the data package this is a great alternative to the smart phone. If you have one data package in your household and want another phone that is nice, this is a nice option.

Enjoy your bright side, we sure are! Be good stewards, love people and not things!
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on December 10, 2012
Update, 1/31/2013: I have had two weeks of hell with this phone, now two months old. It's been extremely buggy, won't turn on reliably, and is on its second battery. The previous battery went through periods where it wouldn't seat correctly, then wouldn't charge completely, and then wouldn't turn on the phone. We'll see if the new battery fixes the issue. I still like the phone, but don't trust it to work anymore.

Update, 8/9/2013: Still extremely buggy. Can't wait until my contract expires and I qualify for an upgrade to get rid of this thing. Do NOT buy. Too bad, because the phone's features are otherwise very nice.


Original review:

Like many here, I'm not interested in paying for a smartphone. My previous phone was an LG Octane, which suited its purposes well but had developed a loose connection with the charging cord and wouldn't charge properly. Having read a lot of reviews of the Brightside, I decided to take a chance with it.

So far, I have been reasonably pleased. Although many complain about the lack of customization (for example, you can only pick two color schemes, orange or green, neither of which are very attractive), the information display is customizable enough for my tastes. I can put those buttons on the display that I use (messages, calendar, notepad, My Pictures, etc) and move all the others that I never use (mobile web browser, social networks, My Music, etc) onto the back menu page. I like having the Favorite Contacts on the front, so the four people I call the most are just a single touch away.

The Voice Commands works quite well; I've become quite addicted to it. So far, the battery life seems good. The camera takes nice pictures, although the editing tools are rough. However, it's easy to drag pictures back and forth from the phone to the computer, and I strongly prefer Photoshop anyway to any piddling little editing tools available on a phone.

I got a hard rubber case for it right off the bat, and am happy with how it doesn't interfere with the sliding keyboard. It does add a little bulk to the phone, but it also seems to absorb some heat. My old phone used to get fairly hot after just a few minutes' use, so it's nice to have a cooler hand.

I also like how it keeps texts together in a conversation -- texts traded with the same person over a period of time will stay together in a scrollable format so you can read the entire exchange on one page. My old phone didn't do that.

There are some minor downsides. The default ringtones universally suck, so I spent about $18 having all my old ringtones transferred to the new phone. Other than the incoming message beep, there wasn't one of them I wouldn't be embarrassed to have as a ringtone.

The keyboard is both a good and bad thing. I really like the slide-out keyboard on the overall -- the keypad feel is good and crisp. However, with the case on, the top row is a bit crowded, and it's possible to hit the key below it by accident. And I have very small thumbs. Someone with large hands would definitely want to try out this keyboard with a phone case on before buying it. Unfortunately I think the hard case is pretty much a necessity, since the phone would probably be in deep trouble if dropped even a short distance.

Is it a good phone? So far. Is it a great phone? For that, you'll need to pay the extra $30 a month for a smartphone. It is what it is.
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on June 14, 2012
We are so disappointed with this.

As noted in other reviews, the touch screen is ridiculously sensitive, opening apps and even answering a call before you've even got hold of the phone. The side buttons can get accidentally touched and, again, you've answered a call or changed settings before you even know it's happened. We've had terrible echo issues, especially when calling another Brightside phone. And the phone has a terrible tendency to just hang itself up in the middle of a call - and this when it's being used through a car's bluetooth system, so it's not even being touched. The answer buttons are not intuitive at all, so after 4 months I still can't always remember which button to push to answer a call, so I end up hanging up on the call before I've even answered it.

Summary: not recommended. Pick a different phone. I can't believe I'm going to be stuck with this for another 20+ months because of my lovely Verizon contract. Ugh.

UPDATE January 2013.

Still really dislike the phone. The echo problem has mostly gone away, but not always. It still turns off at random times and drops calls and is ridiculously sensitive, unlocking itself when you're unaware of it and it starts dialing.

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on March 23, 2013
I am still not ready to pay 50 bucks or more a month for an iPhone and this was the next best thing.

In a case, it is pretty indestructible. I have dropped mine and had the back pop off and it come apart and yet, I snap it back together and it works like a charm.

You can personalize it much better than the older phones

I love the blue icon grid (used to just have green and orange and now has green and blue and the blue is AWESOME)

Holds quite a few pictures, videos and songs

You can customize the front grid so whatever you want is on there

I actually like the Qwerty keyboard. I am a big fan of those and they work very well for me. I know some people hate them but I am not one of them

Holds a charge for quite a long time

Sets multiple alarms (my last phone didn't do that but it was pretty old)

Great music sound

The loud ring is really loud and the vibrate is pretty strong so you do feel it

The notepad feature is pretty good. I use it a lot for my grocery list

I love the fact that you can set world times so that all you have to do is click the icon and it will take you to the time of the city you are looking for. I have friends or relatives in several cities around the world and I find myself using this more than I thought I would.

It is not as "cool" as the iPhone

It is easy to punch a button by accident (like your voicemail)and that is super annoying

The videos have to be put into another format to play on the Brightside and its a little annoying to put them on

The bluetooth settings are not very good and its very hard to get it to be compatible

It needs more fonts and needs a larger font for people who have difficulty seeing. The large font is not very large and the normal font is tiny

You cannot set the phone so that it locks after a few minutes. This was a great safety feature on other phones and this phone does not have it and I don't know why. If it is stolen, it can be used by the thief. The security features on the iPhone are much better than this phone and the older flip phones were much better than this phone.

The camera is awful. The pictures are dark and grainy. I have used it but it really is awful.

It only has two languages, English and Spanish. If you wanted Russian, Hebrew, Yiddish, Chinese etc....don't go with this phone, go with another phone.

Very hard to use it with voice prompts but it says it has those. It may be that bluetooth is very hard to set up and that is why.

All in all. I am happy with it but in a few years when only smartphones are offered, I will have to bite the bullet and I will get an iPhone and get one and I know it will be better than this one but for now, this one is ok and as I share a service plan...I only pay $15 a month and rarely go over my minutes.
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on May 5, 2014
I looked at the reviews before getting this phone, but since I had few options to chose from I went with it anyway. Terrible mistake. This is the worst phone I have ever owned. I'm not sure how much the people giving this phone 5*s are getting paid, but do not buy this phone. The screen lock feature is terrible and unlocks with a soft breeze, allowing the vibration from your pulse to then call random people in your contacts. When you need to use the number pad on the screen the phone also likes to play a little game called, 'try to hit the number', in which you tap at your screen randomly while the phone changes from the touch screen being active or not. After about a month my space bar stopped working about 50% of the time. After a few more months the touch screen stopped working all together, which almost made me believe in a higher power, except that there is no way to operate most of the phone functions without it. In summary, do not buy this phone, do yourself a favor and get a flip phone, or a cup and string, or a message in a bottle, or perhaps learn an ancient cipher and train a murder of ravens to do your bidding, anything will be less frustrating than owning this phone.
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