Samsung Solstice 2 Review by Sydney
The Samsung Solstice 2 doesn't have any upgrades from the original Solstice, save for the updated physical design. Other than that, it's still equipped with a 2 megapixel camera, a touchscreen, and Samsung's TouchWiz UI. This may seem like run-of-the-mill stuff these days, but performance was exceptional and I was impressed with the virtual keyboard. As with the original Solstice, it's best served, and intended for, users who need a basic phone that packs a little bit of a spark.
Design & Features
The Solstice 2 has a pretty standard design with the 3-inch display on the front and three physical buttons for Talk/Send, Back, and End/Power underneath it. The right side of the device contains the camera shutter button, a Task Menu button, and a nifty screen lock/unlock slider tab. The volume rocker buttons and microUSB port are on the left side of the device.
The microSD card slot is underneath the battery cover and supports up to 16 GB of external memory. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack. Overall, the design is very stylish and the phone feels pretty solid in the hand. It measures 4.29-inches tall, 2.13-inches wide, .47-inches thick, and weighs 3.35 ounces.
Usability & Performance
The Solstice 2 uses Samsung's TouchWiz UI, which I've always been a fan of. You're given three home screens and a widget drawer filled with widgets and shortcuts for features like Messages, calculator, clock, Twitter, Facebook, web, Notepad, Music, and much more. This UI is fun and easy to use.
The touchscreen on the Sosltice 2 was fairly decent and better than those on other featurephones that I've tested. Scrolling through each home screen was easy and even typing on the virtual keyboard wasn't that bad. Granted, I wouldn't recommend a phone like the Solstice 2, one without a physical keyboard, for heavy texters, but I could see someone using this phone for light texting. The Solstice does feature threaded text messaging, though you have the option to view the messages individually.
The 2 megapixel camera isn't much to speak of, but it did take pretty good snapshots and the phone was actually very comfortable to hold when taking pictures. A lot of manufacturers take for granted how important the camera position is. I had no such problems and was quickly taking snapshot after snapshot. There is no autofocus or flash, but you do have options to change the brightness and white balance. The camera also captures VGA quality video.
Battery life on the Solstice 2 was fantastic. Its 1000 mAh battery lasted nearly a week on standby. Though some of the widgets available for use will drain the battery pretty quickly, with normal use, it lasted about three days.
The Solstice 2 may be just a basic featurephone, but it performed well enough to impress me and I would definitely consider it to be the best new option on AT&T for those who only need is a basic phone with some style. The camera may not be much to speak of and it may not be a "messaging phone" per se, but it's an all-around solid performer and brings an updated design that looks great.
The Good: Updated design from the original Solstice; decent capacitive touchscreen; TouchWiz UI with plenty of customization features; excellent battery life.
The Bad: Touchscreen was unresponsive at times; camera lacks flash and autofocus.
The Verdict: The Samsung Solstice 2 is a great featurephone and performed better than other devices in the same category that are available on AT&T.