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Samsung Gem review: Edgy personality in a basic Froyo phone

It's not often we stumble across a smartphone with both personality and a phenomenal price. Despite some mostly minor drawbacks, the Gem has the makings of a great entry-level Android phone.

Jessica Dolcourt Senior Director, Commerce & Content Operations
Jessica Dolcourt is a passionate content strategist and veteran leader of CNET coverage. As Senior Director of Commerce & Content Operations, she leads a number of teams, including Commerce, How-To and Performance Optimization. Her CNET career began in 2006, testing desktop and mobile software for Download.com and CNET, including the first iPhone and Android apps and operating systems. She continued to review, report on and write a wide range of commentary and analysis on all things phones, with an emphasis on iPhone and Samsung. Jessica was one of the first people in the world to test, review and report on foldable phones and 5G wireless speeds. Jessica began leading CNET's How-To section for tips and FAQs in 2019, guiding coverage of topics ranging from personal finance to phones and home. She holds an MA with Distinction from the University of Warwick (UK).
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Samsung Gem SCH-i100 (U.S. Cellular)
Josh Miller/CNET

Does it have Samsung's signature high-polish glossy body? Of course! But the Samsung Gem, an Android 2.2 Froyo smartphone for U.S. Cellular, also has some style all its own. With its swooping lines and repeated pentagonal, superhero-esque accent, it doesn't look like just any other Android phone.

Related links
Read our T-Mobile G2 review
Alltel also has the Samsung Gem
See other Samsung phones

We're pleased that Samsung left its custom TouchWiz interface off this model, giving us the default (some would call it "pure") Android experience.

The specs are typical for a budget Android handset, which amounts to good value at only $30 for the smartphone. Since many messaging phones cost more than that and bring you less, the Gem joins the LG Optimus U as a killer deal for U.S. Cellular subscribers (compare the phones).

Watch the hands-on video review, see photos, and read details about call quality and more in our full Samsung Gem review!