Remaining exterior features include a volume rocker and the microSD card slot on the left spine. The Smiley gets a point for not hiding the latter behind the battery. Over on the right spine you'll find a camera shutter and Micro-USB headset and charger jack. We welcome the standard charger connection, though that will mean you'll need an adapter to use a 2.5mm or 3.5mm wired headset. The camera lens and self-portrait mirror are on the rear side of the front slider; you'll need to have the phone open to take a photo.
The Smiley's phone book holds a healthy 1,000 contacts with room in each entry for multiple phone number types, a nickname, an e-mail address, a URL, an instant-messaging handle, a birthday, notes, and a street address. As you'd expect, you can save callers to groups and pair them with a photo and one of 21, 72-chord polyphonic ringtones.
Other essentials include a calculator, a notepad, an alarm clock, a task list, a tip calculator, a world clock, a unit and currency converter, a timer, and a stopwatch. More-demanding users can take advantage of the stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, RSS reader, voice memo recorder, and USB mass storage. The Smiley also offers assisted GPS with support for Google Maps and TeleNav turn-by-turn directions.
Given its full keyboard, the Smiley has plenty of messaging options. Beyond the standard text and multimedia messaging you also get instant messaging and even support for Outlook Exchange e-mail. Remember that all messaging options will result in data charges and the latter two options require a Web-based interface. And if you prefer social media, Samsung's Social Buzz option offers access to Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.
The 1.3-megapixel camera takes pictures in three resolutions and three quality settings. Other settings include a night mode, four color effects, an adjustable brightness tool, four white-balance modes, a self-timer, 20 fun frames, and modes for multishots, panoramas, and mosaics. With the additional Smile mode, the camera should snap a photo when it detects that a subject is smiling. The Smiley also has a 2x digital zoom, but you can't use it with the largest photo resolution. Photo quality was fine, but nothing special.
The camcorder shoots clips in just one resolution (176x144 pixels), but it offers a set of editing options similar to the still camera. Clips meant for multimedia messages are capped at about 1 minute, 30 seconds, but you can shoot for much longer in Normal mode. For storage, the Strive has 50MB of user-accessible shared memory. That's rather low, but you can use a microSD card up to 16GB for more storage.
A basic music player rounds out the Smiley's features. The interface is simple, but you get a couple of options like an equalizer, visualizations, and playlists. As for apps, the handset offers access to YouTube and a selection of demo games including Where's Waldo, Pac-Man, Guitar Hero 5, Bubble Bash 2, and Bejewled. You can download more options with the wireless Web browser.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900MHz) phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile service. Call quality was quite satisfactory on all fronts. The volume was loud, the audio clarity was sharp, and our friends' voices sounded natural. The phone picked up a nominal amount of background noise on our end, but that was the extent of our concerns.
Callers also were pleased with what they heard. Though they could tell that we were using a cell phone, and some reported background noise as well, we heard few other complaints. Speakerphone calls also were agreeable, with just a bit of audio distortion at the loudest volume levels. Automated calling systems could understand us without any problems, as long as we were close to the phone.
The Smiley has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time and 12.5 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 5 hours and 2 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Smiley has a digital SAR of 0.43 watt per kilogram.