Though the big four national carriers have enjoyed multiple Android phones for some time now, smaller regional carriers have been missing out. That ends with the Samsung Acclaim, the first-ever Android handset available for. Surprisingly, the Acclaim is no second-rate smartphone, though; it comes with OS 2.1 out of the gate and we found its performance to be speedy and reliable. The Samsung Acclaim is available for around $100, which we think is affordable.
Compared with the recent models, the Acclaim might seem rather dowdy. On its own, however, the Acclaim has a simple down-to-earth appeal. It measures 4.49 inches long by 2.32 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick, and it has curved corners and a rounded chin area with silver adorning its sides; its look is not unlike other Samsung touch-screen handsets. The Acclaim is wrapped in a hard glossy plastic shell, and weighs a comfortable 4.59 ounces.
By far the star of the show when it comes to the Acclaim's design is its 3.2-inch HVGA display. It's not as vibrant as the AMOLED displays we've seen, but for a $100 phone, it looks fantastic. Thanks to its capacitive screen, we found the display to be very responsive, plus there's pinch-to-zoom support. You can also toggle the accelerometer to kick in whenever you hold the phone sideways, which is useful for applications like the browser. The Acclaim also has a proximity sensor.
As an alternative to the touch screen, the Acclaim also has a square select key that doubles as an optical trackpad underneath the display. It provides a nice way to scroll through Web pages without having to drag your finger across the screen. Surrounding the optical pad are the usual Android hot keys to the pop-up menu, home, back, and search. The controls are laid out in a square rather than the more typical single line. It felt roomier, which led to fewer accidental presses.
When you slide the phone's display to the right, you'll find a full QWERTY keyboard. The sliding mechanism is quite smooth and locks securely into place. The keyboard is spacious enough, but we felt the keys were a bit too flat, with not enough delineation between them. Still, the keys had a decent feel when pushed, and we managed to type out text with few mistakes. The Acclaim also provides an onscreen keyboard if you would rather not use the physical one.
On the left spine are the volume rocker and a microSD card slot; the charger jack and camera key are on the right. On the top is the screen lock key and a 3.5mm headset jack, and there's a camera lens and LED flash on the back.
The Samsung Acclaim ships with Android 2.1, which is a step behind the latest 2.2 release. Still, we remain optimistic that it'll be upgradable to 2.2 since the phone is relatively new. Since the phone has 2.1 that means you have the option for live wallpaper, five home screens instead of three, voice-to-text capabilities, and Google Maps Navigation. The Acclaim is free from Samsung's proprietary TouchWiz interface and instead uses Android's stock user interface.