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The Samsung Zeal's morphing e-ink keyboard (photos)

The midrange Samsung Zeal revives a neat-o keyboard technology we've seen in predecessors of this very Verizon model.

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jessicadolcourt.jpg

Jessica Dolcourt

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1 of 8 Josh Miller/CNET

Samsung Zeal: Deja vu?

Don't be alarmed if you're thinking, "Haven't I seen this before?" Samsung's latest Verizon flip phone, the Samsung Zeal, is the spitting image of the previous Samsung Alias 2.
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In the hand

Stylistically, the Samsung Zeal is all about straight lines and edges. Music player controls and the 2-megapixel camera shutter adorn the phone face.
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External features

The 2.5mm headset jack, voice command button, and volume rocker are expected; the proprietary Samsung charging port is disappointing. (But we'll cheer for the 32GB microSD card holder.)
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Flip up

The Zeal is about 8 inches tall when you flip the phone open, but it's comfortable on the ear.
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Star of the show

The e-ink keys take the cake. Instead of the usual soft keys, navigation array, and dialpad are 42 buttons that are mostly uniform in shape. It takes some getting used to, but we like the feel of the keys and the e-ink concept.
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Dual flip

Flip the phone up in landscape mode and those same keys will flash up a four-row QWERTY keyboard.
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The magic of e-ink

Thanks to that classy e-ink technology, switching between QWERTY characters to numbers and symbols is just a button press away.
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Camera quality

Photos aren't fabulous on the 2-megapixel camera, but they're not bad, especially with preset options and post-production embellishments.

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