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>> Hi, Ken Sherman, senior editor for CNET.com. Today we're going to take a first look at the Samsung Axel. This is also called the SCHR 311, it's a new phone for U.S. cellular service. This phone looks a lot like the Samsung Byline. It has really the same design. A couple differences, you'll notice there is a camera here. The Byline did an Apple one of those. And the phone is a tiny bit heavier than the Byline. But overall very similar design. Flip phone, really straight lines, just rounded at the ends. A mirrored face here on the front. Does catch fingerprints and smudges pretty easily. So you want to be aware of that. External display. It's a bit small, but it is full color and it shows everything you need to know. Date, time, battery life, signal strength. Also works as a viewfinder for the camera. Here on the side you see there's a [inaudible] blocker. Over here, there's just a camera shutter and a proprietary headset, charger jack. Of course that means you can only use one peripheral at a time. And you will need an adapter to use your own headset. The phone does have a plastic skin. Probably won't stand up to a lot of blows. But has a pretty comfortable feeling in the hands. And the hinge feels pretty sturdy. Inside you'll find a full color display. It is pretty bright. Graphics and photos won't look exceptionally sharp, as the resolution isn't that great. But it's perfectly fine for this caliber of phone. Menus are pretty easy to navigate. They come in two styles, list, or icon. You can change some of the display settings as well. Like backlighting, brightness. But we know the navigation controls and keypad. They are pretty well designed. They are pretty spacious. They are raised just above the surface of the phone. And so they're pretty tactical and felt pretty comfortable. They also have a nice, almost rubbery feeling beneath the finger. And moving down to the keypad buttons, pretty bright backlighting. Numbers are relatively large. And had no problems dialing or texting quickly and no problem navigating through the menu. But really, this phone is just for making calls and sending messages. Call quality was okay. The phone does get loud at the higher levels. And the auto quality was just, had distorted. Especially at this high volumes. But for just a casual user who just needs a phone occasionally, shouldn't be too much of a problem.
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I'm Ken Sherman, and this is the Samsung Axel.
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