CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Samsung Genio Qwerty review: Samsung Genio Qwerty

Aimed at youngsters, the Genio Qwerty offers a full Qwerty keyboard in a slim package. The keyboard is fairly cramped but it's a well-designed handset otherwise, with a quirky but appealing interface, and well-implemented social-networking features

Luke Westaway
Luke Westaway Senior editor

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

3 min read

We've already subjected the Genio Touch and Genio Slide to a thorough probing, and now it's the turn of another of Samsung's youth-orientated phones, the Genio Qwerty. Sporting a full Qwerty keyboard, it can be yours for free on a £10-per-month, 24-month contract. It's also available for £50 on a pay-as-you-go deal, or about £100 SIM-free.


Samsung Genio Qwerty

The Good

Good design; well built; decent social-networking features.

The Bad

Uncomfortable keyboard; no 3G or Wi-Fi connectivity.

The Bottom Line

Overall, we like the Samsung Genio Qwerty. Its features are well implemented and its interface is great, but a small, cramped keyboard makes texting and typing quite awkward

Waspish charm
The Qwerty comes with a couple of interchangeable battery covers, but, whichever you choose, you're still going to end up with a handset that's predominantly black and yellow. Still, as long as you're not worried about attracting amorous wasps, it's not a bad-looking device. At 59 by 110 by 13mm thick, it's pretty slender for a phone with a BlackBerry-style keyboard. 

The 56mm (2.2-inch) screen is on the petite side and has a low resolution of 220x176 pixels. This low-res display isn't too troublesome, however, because everything on the screen looks pleasingly large and chunky.

Swappable covers are great but, if you're planning on buying the Genio Qwerty, make sure you like yellow and black

If you think the Qwerty's covers are trendy, wait till you see the interface. The default theme is called 'cartoon' and has the scrapbook-like, Polaroid-esque, corkboard-and-drawing-pins look that indie kids are all over at the moment.

A little cartoon guy watches your menu meanderings from the left of the screen, and yanks a cord whenever you make a selection, presumably triggering some vast, unseen mechanism that makes the phone do whatever it is you told it to. It's a pretty cool effect, and livens up an otherwise dull display, even if it does look like the animated man is yanking a toilet chain.

Atop the Qwerty sits a 3.5mm socket that will allow you to plug in your own set of headphones rather than settling for the rubbish bundled ones. The inner-ear set that comes in the box also features a call-answer button and microphone housed in the cable. That's handy for taking calls without looking like a pervert, as you desperately force your hand into the pockets of your skin-tight jeans, searching for the phone.

Cramped style
The Qwerty isn't without its flaws, however. Nearly everything that frustrates us about this phone is to do with its full Qwerty keyboard. It's just too cramped. Some phones with Qwerty keyboards, like the Orange Rio, have a space between each key, which makes actually finding the button you're searching for much easier. In the case of the Qwerty, they all blend into one, and trying to hit the right key is tricky.

The Qwerty's keypad is cramped, which makes typing accurately a challenge

The central navigation key is also far too close to the top row of Qwerty keys. We often hit the 'down' button when reaching for the 'T' and 'Y' keys, and vice versa.

It's not often that we're actually able to measure how quickly we can input text on a mobile phone, but the Qwerty features a 'game' called Typing Training that lets you do just that. We managed an average of 31 words per minute -- not bad, if we do say so ourselves -- but with an accuracy rating of just 61 per cent.

The music-player software and FM radio both work well, although we wouldn't count on this phone replacing your MP3 player anytime soon. The camera isn't very impressive -- a 2-megapixel resolution and lack of a flash means you're not going to snap any prize-winning shots. We were, however, impressed by how smooth video footage looked when we played it back.

We also like the phone's 'social life' feature, which essentially serves as a social-media feed aggregator. You can sign in with FacebookTwitter, Bebo and MySpace, and it lets you check and update all these services from one place reasonably quickly. Bear in mind, though, that the Qwerty offers no 3G or Wi-Fi support, so you'll be stuck on boring old 2G when you go online.

Loud and clear
The Qwerty's call quality is good. Keys on the side of the mobile mean you can adjust the volume level without taking your face away from the phone.

The Qwerty's battery life seems pretty good. After a full day's testing, we failed to drain even one bar from the five on display in the corner of the screen. You can expect this mobile to last a few days on a single charge with moderate usage.

We can't help but like the Samsung Genio Qwerty, despite the fact that its keyboard is rather small and uncomfortable. It might not prove too much of an impediment if you're patient or have slender fingers, but, otherwise, check out the Orange Rio, which offers a better keyboard, or the Genio Touch if the Qwerty's features sound good but you'd prefer a touchscreen.

Edited by Charles Kloet 

Shopping laptop image
Get the best price on everything
Shop your favorite products and we’ll find the best deal with a single click. Designed to make shopping easier.
Add CNET Shopping