With phones like the Rant and the Propel, it's clear that Samsung is plowing headfirst into the recent trend of messaging phones with full QWERTY keyboards. So it's fitting that Samsung has come out with yet another one, dubbed the Samsung Gravity, and this time it's for T-Mobile. It looks a lot like the Rant and the LG Rumor with its thick candy bar appearance and slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Features are on the lower end, with a 1.3-megapixel camera, stereo Bluetooth, a basic music player, and not much else. But its keyboard design is great for typing out text messages, and its affordable price makes this a great texting phone for the budget-minded. The Samsung Gravity is available now for $50 in either aqua with white, or lime with gray finish.
When we first took a look at the Samsung Rant from Sprint, we were surprised by how similar it was to the LG Rumor. Both have a thick candy bar appearance with slide-out QWERTY keyboards underneath. But the Samsung Gravity looks even more like the LG Rumor, with very minor differences in keypad design--the layout is a little different, the keys have a more bubblelike texture, and the Gravity slides to the right to reveal the keyboard instead of to the left. Measuring 4.53 inches long by 2.07 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick, the Gravity isn't much bigger than the Rumor, either.
On the front of the Gravity is a 2.1-inch diagonal display with support for 262,000 colors, plus it has a 176x220-pixel resolution. Colors really stand out, and the overall display is bright and vibrant. We like the simple animated menu interface, as well as the large font size. You can adjust the backlight time, add a calendar to the home screen, change the style and color of the information text on the home screen, the size and color of the dialing font, plus the background color when dialing. You can also add a greeting on the home screen if you wish.
Underneath the display is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a dedicated messaging key, a Clear key, a round toggle with middle OK key, and the Send and End/Power keys. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts to your call records, a new audio postcard, the contacts list, and a new message. You can remap the messaging key to point to the in-box, the instant-messaging application, or a new e-mail as well. We're definitely fans of the Gravity's keypad--not only is it spacious, the keys are quite big and are sufficiently raised above the surface of the phone, which makes it easy to dial by feel.
Slide the Gravity to the right, and you'll reveal a full QWERTY keyboard on your left. Once you slide out the keyboard, the screen orientation changes from portrait to landscape mode. To the left and right side of the keyboard are two soft keys, which are appropriate for when the screen is in landscape mode. Similar to the keypad, we found the QWERTY keyboard quite roomy, and each key has a smooth bubblelike texture that make for easy and responsive texting. We wished the keyboard had arrow keys so that we didn't need to use the toggle for navigating the phone when in landscape mode, but it's not a big deal.
The volume rocker and microSD card slot are on the left spine, while the charger/headset jack and dedicated camera key are on the right. On the back are the camera lens and self-portrait mirror.
The Samsung Gravity has almost the same features as the LG Rumor, which means it's not a high-end phone with a lot of fancy features. That said, it does have a few multimedia goodies to keep you entertained. But first, the basics. The Gravity comes with a 1,000-entry phone book, with room in each entry for five phone numbers and an e-mail address. Contacts can then be organized by groups, paired with a photo for caller ID, or one of 19 polyphonic ringtones. Other essentials include a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a voice recorder, an alarm clock, a tasks list, a notepad, a calculator, a tip calculator, world clock, a unit converter, a timer, and stopwatch.