The Samsung Alias 2 was popular for mainly one reason: it featured e-ink technology, which meant that the button labels could change depending on which mode you're in. Yeah, the symbol on the button would actually change. Pretty cool, huh? Well, apparently a lot of people thought so because Samsung has decided to release another model, pretty much. The Samsung Zeal has a new name, but it's pretty much an 'Alias 3'. It has the same design, specs, and features as the previous Alias and the same cool e-ink buttons. I've had it for a little under 24 hours now and here are a few things I've taken note of.
- First of all, I'm not entirely sure why Samsung felt a revamp was necessary, if you could call it that. Don't get me wrong, the device is cool, but it's exactly the same size and and has the same design and specs as the previous model. It's the same screen with the same resolution, the same camera, and they even decided to keep the old proprietary charging jack. I'm kind of confused.
- E-ink technology is cool, but I'm struggling to see the practicality of it. The layout of the actual physical buttons seems to have been designed for when you're in landscape mode with the QWERTY labels showing. In portrait mode, the button layout is awkward and leaves several empty squares.
- The display is pretty big, which is a plus. At 2.6-inches and with a resolution of 240 x 320, it's clear, bright, and easy to view.
- So far, it seems to be a great texting phone. The buttons are laid out nicely (once you're in QWERTY mode, as I mentioned earlier) and they're nice and grippy, easy to type on. And yes, they do light up.
- I am already having some build quality issues. The cover for the microSD card slot won't shut tightly once I opened it for the first time.
- Samsung claims on its site that the 2 megapixel camera has an autofocus, however, after testing it out a bit, I'm sensing that this just isn't true. Perhaps it has a fixed focus which would make more sense, but this would also mean the camera isn't going to be stellar. It does have 10x digital zoom and Night Shot mode.
- There are some music playback keys on the front, external display, which should come in handy. The device is equipped with a 2.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot that supports up to 32 GB of external memory.
- The $79.99 price tag might be a bit too steep for some people, but keep in mind that it does have great features, good technology, and it's still sort of a messaging phone, even if it doesn't look like one.
So, my main question is, is it a flip phone or a messaging phone? It can be both, I guess. It looks like a basic flip phone, but it has the ability to be a great messaging phone. I suppose I'll have to put it through further testing before I pass final judgment. I'm on the fence right now, so check back in a few days and we'll see what conclusion I come to.