The Good: The Intensity offers great battery life, good call quality, and a nice QWERTY keyboard for those that text message regularly.
The Bad: Slight menu lag.
The Verdict: For those that desire a basic phone with no data plan and a nice QWERTY keyboard, the Samsung Intensity is a great option.
With Google I/O past us, WWDC approaching next week, and individual press events in between, the spotlight has been on smartphones for the past few months. The Apple iPhone "HD" (or whatever Apple settles on for a name), Android 2.2 "Froyo," and HTC EVO 4G have been covered in-depth, but often times, we forget about those that have no need for a smartphone. Despite what you may think, there are people in the world that use their devices solely for text messaging and calling, and for that crowd, the Samsung Intensity (on Verizon Wireless) is a perfect fit.
The Intensity ships in a small box (which seems to be the norm for Verizon-branded devices these days) with the device, battery, AC adapter, USB cable/charging cord, and instruction manuals. The device offers several external buttons, with the volume rocker, charging port, and 2.5mm headphone jack on the left, and the camera and voice buttons on the right. The camera and speakerphone are on the back, and the microSD card slot can be found under the battery door.
Slide the device to the right to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard with directional arrows. Though the form factor isn't my favorite, the keys on the Intensity tactile, responsive, and great for typing. Just like the LG Ally, Samsung has stuffed the bottom row of keys in with the space bar, which can make it challenging to type at times (I found myself pausing when . I imagine it's one of those "you'll get the hang of it" things, but I've always found that layout to be a bit of a setback. Still, the keyboard is a joy to type on, and I was able to bang out text messages with ease.
I've been working with the Intensity in the Charlotte area, and call quality has been good so far. Calls have sounded great, callers tell me that voice quality is good with no distortion, and I've had no dropped calls. Speakerphone is on par with other devices, and I paired two Bluetooth headsets successfully. Surprisingly, data speeds aren't terrible for a 1X-only device. The mobile CNN homepage loaded in 18 seconds, and VZ Navigator connected without a problem. Coming from 3G/4G devices, I can tell a speed difference, but for the casual browser, it shouldn't be an issue.
I'm still working with battery life numbers, but in the day and a half of moderate use that I've subjected it to, I haven't had to charge it. From the looks of it, it's right on par with other basic devices on the market. I'll be offering more in-depth analysis in my full review, so be on the lookout!