If you're looking for a basic flip phone with a VGA camera, you can always count on Samsung to deliver. Indeed, the company pumps them out by the dozen and the Samsung SCH-U430 is the latest of the batch. Sporting a simple, compact design and minimal features, the SCH-U430 offers Verizon Wireless, an update to last year's Samsung SCH-U410. Though there's not a lot to distinguish it from the cell phone crowd, it's still a decent phone for making calls. The SCH-U430 is an affordable $79 if you pay full price, but you can get it for free with a two-year service contract. To find accessories for this phone, see our cell phone ringtones and accessories guide.
The SCH-U430 has a generic flip-phone design and comes in basic black. There's nothing particularly striking about its design, but it's not unattractive either. At 3.67 inches tall by 1.85 inches wide by 0.78 inch deep, and weighing 3.21 ounces, the SCH-U430 is compact and portable. The plastic skin feels a tad cheap but the hinge is sturdy, and the phone has a solid feel in the hand.
The 1-inch exterior display supports 65,000 colors (96x96 pixels) and shows all the information you'll need. You can see the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID. It also works as a view finder for the camera lens, which sits just above the screen. The SCH-U430 doesn't offer a flash. Below the display is a thin speaker.
The remaining exterior controls include a 2.5mm headset jack and a headset jack/charger port on the right spine. The charger port is proprietary, and so we hope that Samsung soon joins other manufacturers in moving toward a common micro USB charger. Between them is a dual control that starts the camera and activates the speakerphone before making a call (nice). On the left spine you'll find a volume rocker.
The internal display measures 2 inches and supports 65,000 colors (160x128 pixels). Normally, we'd prefer a higher-resolution display, but it's fine on this caliber of phone. The screen is bright and colors and graphics looked relatively good, but the display is difficult to see in direct light. We're very pleased that Verizon is tweaking its menu interface to make it more intelligible. You can change the clock format, the brightness, and the dialing font's size and style.
The navigation controls and keypad have an ergonomic, easy-to-use design. The four-way toggle and central OK button are tactile and slightly raised above the surface of the phone. You'll also find two soft keys, a clear button, and the Talk and End/power controls. The backlit keypad buttons are equally spacious and attractive, even if the plastic material feels the slightest bit flimsy. We had no problems with misdials and the numbers on the keys are large.
The SCH-U430's phone book holds 500 contacts, with room in each entry for five phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, and notes. The SCH-U430 also stores three "in case of emergency" numbers. You can save callers to groups and pair them with a photo or one of 14 polyphonic ringtones. Basic features include voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a calculator, a stopwatch, a world clock, a notepad, and an alarm clock. You'll also find Bluetooth, instant messaging, voice dialing, a voice memo, Web-based POP3 e-mail, and support for Verizon's VZ Navigator.