The Samsung Genio Slide is a touchscreen phone with a slide-out keyboard and loads of social-networking features. Available for £15 per month on a 24-month contract, for £130 on a pay-as-you-go contract, or £190 SIM-free, Samsung is aiming to bridge the gap between full-blown smart phones and traditional pay-as-you-go handsets. But has it succeeded?
Let it Slide
The Slide is a dead ringer for Samsung's Genio Touch -- both share the same curvy design and funky, triangular control pad. But the Slide is about 5mm thicker than the Touch, which gives away the fact that it houses a slide-out Qwerty keyboard within its petite frame.
The keyboard is one of the best we've come across on a budget device. The keys are quite large and produce a pleasing click when they're pressed, so you get good tactile feedback as you type. The layout is also impressive, as most of the commonly used punctuation keys are accessible without the need to reach for the shift key. Samsung has also found room to add shortcut buttons next to the spacebar for the messaging application and Web browser.
Unfortunately, the display isn't quite as impressive as the keyboard. At 71mm (2.8 inches), it's small by touchscreen standards, and its resolution of 240x320 pixels is rather limited. It's only really when using the Web browser that the limited space becomes something of a problem, though. And, although the touchscreen is of the resistive type, which can often be less accurate than capacitive versions when it comes to registering finger presses, it's not a problem, as the phone's menu system is driven by relatively large icons.
The Slide uses the same TouchWiz interface found on many of Samsung's other touchscreen handsets. It's fairly easy to use, and one of its big benefits is that it comes with widgets that you can drag and drop onto the phone's three home screens. These widgets can be used to search Google, access Facebook and Twitter, or listen to radio via the phone's FM tuner, for example. The Slide also comes with a BBC iPlayer widget that lets you stream or download TV programmes. The resolution of the video is low, at 320x176 pixels, but it still looks perfectly acceptable on the Slide, as its screen isn't very big anyway.
The phone has a music app that can be accessed either via the main menu or a widget placed on the home screen. The music player's interface looks basic, but it's fast, easy to use and displays album art when your tunes are playing. The supplied headphones aren't too bad either, but they're easily replaced by better cans, as there's a standard headphone jack on the top of the phone. The 3-megapixel camera, however, is very basic -- it doesn't have a flash or autofocus feature. Outdoor shots don't look too bad, but the camera's not much cop when used indoors in poor lighting.
Given the handset's low price, you'd expect compromises to have been made on the connectivity front, but that's not the case. Along with HSDPA support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS are all present and correct. The call quality is also excellent, and battery life is pretty good. The Slide will keep running for around two days before you need to charge it up again via its micro-USB port, which is also used for syncing the phone with a PC.
With its easy-to-use menu system, excellent keyboard and impressive range of features, the Samsung Genio Slide delivers many of the thrills of a full-blown smart-phone, but at a fraction of the price. If you're on a budget, but want something with more substance than the usual pay-as-you-go handsets, it should be at the top of your shopping list.
Edited by Charles Kloet