The Samsung Genio Slide features both the slide-out keyboard of the Genio Qwerty and the resistive touchscreen of the Genio Touch. So is this handset the best of both worlds, or a jack of all trades and master of none?
What we like
The design is very similar to the Slide’s predecessors’, that familiar pebble shape with interchangeable back panels. It’s a nice weight but feels quite cheap to hold thanks to the abundance of plastic.
The four-line Qwerty keyboard is really nice to use, despite being flush all the way across. The buttons are nicely spaced and it’s easy to see where the numbers and D-pad are because they’re well highlighted by a deeper red. The top line is quite close to the edge of the screen, however, so those with long nails may struggle.
There are three homescreens that you can scroll between and customise with various widgets, including Facebook and Twitter apps. Likewise, you can move menu items around on its multiple-screen grid, so you can group your favourites together on the first screen and relegate less relevant apps to screens you’re less likely to visit often.
The onboard image editor allows you to add effects, clipart, text and filters to your photos as well as tweak the levels, contrast and colours.
We really like that the Genio Slide has Wi-Fi, which will be particularly useful for younger users who can’t afford data packages. It’s pretty easy to set up but we did find it difficult to maintain a connection. If you have a data package, it’s pretty nippy too thanks to HSDPA (3.5G).
The Genio Slide comes with a BBC iPlayer app – and this is the killer feature. It works over Wi-Fi and the speed and quality are both pretty darn good. To have this kind of functionality on such a low-cost handset is really quite rare.
Find Music, Samsung’s answer to Shazam, is pretty good with even reasonably obscure tracks. It worked faster than Shazam too, requiring less time to ‘listen’ to the track. Once you’ve found the track you’re after, you can click through to the Vodafone Live web service to download it. It’s just a shame it doesn’t link straight through to the track itself.
There’s also an FM radio tuner and music player, which is fairly average but usable. The sound quality through headphones is pretty good if a little bassy. We used a pair of Sennheiser in-ear headphones to test with, far superior to the cheap Samsung set that came with the handset. Unlike its older sibling the Genio Touch, the Slide does come with a USB data cable. PC connection is only available when the phone is in Idle mode, however, so you can’t make or receive calls while it’s connected.
What we don’t like
We don’t like resistive screens as it is, but this one is slow and not brilliantly responsive. It can take several attempts to get the handset to register your prods. The 2.8-inch screen isn’t huge, and by making icons and text slightly larger than necessary, Samsung has tended to make the screen feel rather cramped. We also found ourselves getting very annoyed with the vibrate function – each time you touch the screen it vibrates to let you know if knows you’re touching it. It’s a case of overkill but luckily you can reduce the intensity or turn them off altogether.
The camera isn’t anything to write home about – it’s only 3-megapixels and although it does a passable job it’s no replacement for your digital camera.
We couldn’t get past the cheap feeling of the handset – it is very plastic and we generally want something that feels a little sturdier in the hand.
There’s a lot to like about the Genio Slide, not least that it’s brilliant value; for the superlow cost (deals start at £15 per month) it has a raft of features that you may not expect. Unfortunately, the hardware really lets the handset down, and we’re not convinced that it would last well through an 18- or 24-month contract. However, the iPlayer really impressed us and we loved having reasonably good Facebook and Twitter apps at our fingertips too – so if you’re looking for a feature-rich handset on a budget it’s definitely worth considering.