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Samsung Trender review: Anything but trendy

The Samsung Trender is a rare messaging cell phone that doesn't run on Android. Unfortunately, that will also limit its appeal.

Now playing: Watch this: Samsung Trender (Sprint)

There's been such a rush of Android messaging phones these days, we almost did a double take when we realized that the Samsung Trender was not one of them. Instead, the basic QWERTY slider runs on Samsung's proprietary operating system, one that involves using tabs and grids instead of swipes to move from screen to screen. Navigation was no problem, but the shortcuts to Twitter and Facebook's mobile-optimized sites made us wince--compared with native apps, the mobile Web accessed from the sapphire- or amethyst-colored Trender is nothing short of archaic.

Then there's the keyboard. I personally enjoy the compact size (others with larger paws may disagree), but the buttons were so flat, they actually impeded my typing speed. This was the consensus among others as well, I found after passing the phone around.

Samsung's Trender does have enough features to get by--Bluetooth, threaded picture and text messaging, a music player, and a 1.3-megapixel camera. There are also driving mode and voice commands and some links to download games. For $29.99, it just isn't a compelling enough option next to budget Android phones like the QWERTY Samsung Replenish and LG Optimus S (both free right now with a two-year contract).

However, not everyone wants to or can afford to pay for Android's recurring data fee. In that, the Trender offers an alternative that will still satisfy heavy texters--as long as flat keyboards don't bother them.