Right under the navigation array is the number keypad. The keys are spaced apart well and are distinctly separate from each other. We were able to text and dial with speed, thanks to the nice springy feel of the rubberized keys.
The Samsung Stride has a 500-entry phonebook with room in each entry for five numbers, an e-mail address, and a picture for caller ID. You can also add callers to groups and assign each contact with one of 17 polyphonic ring tones or alert sounds. Other essentials include a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a memo pad, a calendar, an alarm clock, a world clock, a calculator, a stop watch, a unit converter, and a tip calculator. More advanced features include voice command support, a wireless Web browser, and Bluetooth. Aside from that, there aren't a whole lot of features offered--you won't get e-mail or a music player, for example.
You do get a 1.3-megapixel camera, though. The camera is quite basic--settings include four resolutions, three picture quality settings, five white balance presets, five color effects, four shot modes, and a self-timer. Picture quality was OK for such a low-megapixel camera, but we did wish it was a little sharper and that the images didn't look so purple.
Of course, you can also personalize the phone with a variety of wallpaper and alert tones. You can use your own, or you can download them from the U.S. Cellular store.
We tested the Samsung Stride in San Francisco using one of U.S. Cellular's roaming partners. Call quality was very good on the whole. We heard our callers very clearly without a lot of static, though we did hear a bit of background noise at times.
On their end, callers said we sounded good as well. They reported a little bit of environmental noise and a bit of a tinny effect, which hinted to them that we were on a cell phone. Still, we carried on a conversation just fine. On speakerphone, they said we sounded rather muffled. On our end, we heard them loud and clear through the speakers, but they definitely sounded more hollow and tinny.
The Samsung Stride has a rated battery life of 4.5 hours talk time and 10.4 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 3 hours and 59 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.72 watt per kilogram.