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Samsung Transfix: Hands-on impressions

The entry-level Samsung Transfix adds another Android phone to Cricket's lineup.

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Samsung may have crushed our CTIA dreams by pulling back on its biggest announcement here at CTIA, but thankfully it still introduced a number of new handsets.

The Samsung Transfix sits on the opposite end of the grandeur spectrum from the Galaxy Nexus we were all anticipating, but it's a good add for budget carrier Cricket. We got a chance to play around with it here at the show.

The Transfix runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread on its 3.2-inch screen. That's a little small for our tastes, or would be if there weren't a slide-out keyboard to fall back on. There's also a 3.2-megapixel camera, and inside it runs off an 800MHz processor.

Dipped in blue-gray paint, it looks and feel likes a familiar Samsung phone, which is to say it's straightforward and extremely easy to get around, and those who prefer their Android interface unadorned will appreciate stock Android here. The phone felt comfortable enough in the hands, and apart from the smallish screen size, it was easy to navigate around.

The biggest issue so far is that keyboard; the flatness of the keys slowed down typing quite a bit, and we felt robbed of the tactile satisfaction of having a key snap back after you press it.

For a $179.99 no-contract sales price, the Transfix should still find a warm welcome in Cricket's lineup. The prepaid regional carrier (with national ties through Sprint and major retailers) has been rapidly expanding its Android holdings of late in an effort to answer demand, and to convert traditional feature phone owners into smartphone owners. While the Transfix isn't winning any awards for originality, it seems to us so far that it'll do the job just fine.