Samsung Gusto review:

Samsung Gusto

On the higher end, the Gusto offers stereo Bluetooth, voice commands (powered by Nuance), and a driving mode that reads out caller information. Yet, the handset's most intriguing feature is one that can get you out of an uncomfortable situation. You can set up the fake-call tool--located in the call settings--to flash a phone number or name of a fictional contact when you press the speakerphone buttons four times in succession. It's an interesting concept, no doubt, though we can't imagine using it more than a couple of times.

The Gusto's shooter is a bare-bones VGA camera that takes shots in three resolutions (640x480 pixels, 320x240 pixels, 160x120 pixels). There's also a night vision, a self timer, five white-balance settings, three quality settings, and four shutter sounds. Six color effects can jazz up the serviceable photos, some of which came out blurry, despite our efforts to hold the phone still. You can use photos as wallpaper, save them for caller ID, send them to a friend in a picture message, or upload them to an online Verizon album. The 32MB internal memory won't hold a ton of photos, however, and there's no external memory slot (not a black mark for a phone of this caliber), so we don't recommend getting overly camera-happy.

Photos aren't so hot on the Gusto's VGA camera, but they'll do in a pinch.

Although it's not the flashiest phone by a long shot, the Gusto lets you buy additional ringtones, apps, and games through the Verizon storefront. Ringtones typically start at $2.99 for a single tone, $5.49 for a two-fer, and $9.99 for a four-pack through the VZW Tones hub. Games typically range from $1.99 per month to $3.99 per month, or $6.99 to $8.99 for lifetime use.

We tested the dual-band (CDMA 850/1900; 1xRTT) Samsung Gusto in San Francisco using the Verizon Wireless network. Call quality was passable, though calls suffered from slightly weak volume and digitized voice quality. We also sometimes heard distortion. On their end, callers heard pervasive static, though the volume was fine.

The Gusto's speakerphone was tinny and distant on our end, not an unusual finding. Callers found it muddled on their side, though they mentioned it was not the worst speakerphone experience they encountered.

The Samsung Gusto has a rated battery life of 11 hours, with 20.8 days of standby time. The Gusto has a talk time of 7 hours and 2 minutes. FCC tests measure a digital SAR of 0.72 watt per kilogram.

What you'll pay

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