Pros: Many great features, full keyboard, great sound and camera quality
Cons: Some design issues, texting can be challenging at times
Recently I purchased the Samsung Alias 2 for personal use. I was due for an upgrade with my Verizon Wireless account and was able to purchase this cell phone online for $49.99 - no rebate gimmicks included. While Verizon offered to give me several different cell phones for free (given that I sign a new 2-year contract), I read reviews of the phones being offered gratis and was unimpressed. However, the Alias 2 seemed to have some very good reviews, and I felt that the online discount of $100 off the regular price was attractive. A $150 phone for only $50? Sounds good to me.
The Samsung Alias 2 is a unique phone which does something that no other cell phone does - it flips not only one, but two different ways. With its dual-hinge design, you can choose to use it as a flip-phone or you can use it as a phone with a full QWERTY keyboard. Either way, you can access all of the phone's functions - though choosing one way over the other may be easier or more convenient. The phone comes in a sleek, dark silver color and features two large speakers above and below the screen. There is a color LCD screen on the front of the phone which tells users the time immediately after a call or at text, if there's a missed call, etc.
Texting with the phone is something which I'm still getting used to - and I've had the phone for several weeks now. Unlike my previous personal-use cell phone, the Alias 2 has a full keyboard which was specifically made for texting and for accessing the Internet. The keyboard has all the making of a fully functional keyboard of a laptop or a PC - including different punctuation types and upper and lower case letters. To make it more user friendly, the keyboard also offers buttons which quickly transfer you to a new text message screen, the camera, voicemail, and speakerphone. When flipped like a normal flip phone, the Alias 2 continues to feature a full keyboard - though this time, if typing in letters, one must click the number 2 for ABC, the number 3 for DEF, etc. In any case, the phone features T9 as well, so there are many different texting options available to users.
Personally, I find the buttons to be rather small - and my fingers aren't at all pudgy! Sometimes I think I clicked a button but, in reality, did not. Though not the worst thing in the world, I have to give a proofread to my text messages before sending them just in case I have a missing letter or in case I didn't hit the space bar. While my skills have progressed and I have made fewer errors as time has gone on, I thought I would more easily catch on to the dimensions of the buttons and the keyboard. I'll tell you one thing though - this phone has certainly kept me from texting and driving! The buttons are just so small that texting requires a decent amount of concentration - enough that it would be ever so distracting if I was driving, walking in a crowd, etc.
Phone call quality is actually quite impressive. While Verizon provides excellent coverage in my area, I find that the Alias 2 capitalizes on Verizon's network strength. I have not experienced any dropped calls, and when I place phone calls, I am connected quite quickly and without hesitation. The same thing occurs with incoming calls from what I can gather. Sound quality is very clear - certainly clearer than my old cell phone, and about as clear as my Blackberry. The voice on the other end of the line sounds realistic and mimics the real voice of the person - something which is hard to capture on mobile phones.
The speakerphone available on the Alias 2 is also very impressive. It is almost crystal clear, and I can hear the person on the other end loudly - and the other person can hear me too! This has been something which many of my previous phones have lacked, but the Alias 2 has won me over with the quality of this feature.
The camera quality is exceptional as well - with 2.0 megapixels. While not nearly clear enough as traditional digital cameras, the camera does manage to capture images quite well. Pictures generally come out with just a little bit of a fuzz factor, and colors that are captured are generally vibrant and lifelike. In fact, I find the camera quality to be similar of that of my Blackberry. Further, the phone has a good amount of storage space for pictures and videos. The video feature is also quite impressive, and I find that it captures voices and motion shots pretty well.
The Alias 2 has a 2.6" display, which is dynamic and functions well with the user. The display's menu is easy to use, and the arrow buttons allow you to jump from one function to the other with ease. The menu allows you to manage many different features - including the normal ones, such as the alarm clock, calculator, games, calendar, settings, etc. However, the Alias 2 also offers e-mail and limited web access - something which is convenient given the phone's full keyboard. Though the screen is too small for optimal web surfing and e-mail writing, it is still large enough for quick jobs. Do keep in mind that with Verizon, there is an additional charge for data usage. This phone is definitely not built for data users - but at least it comes with the option to use it when needed.
The phone has Bluetooth connectivity and has a button on the keyboard which allows you to access the feature smoothly. The phone also has an easy-to-use music player, and you can purchase songs through the Verizon mobile network. Unfortunately, like most (if not all) Verizon phones, you cannot upload any of your own - or at least from what I can gather. The phone can support up to 1,000 phone book entries - which is quite an impressive number - and it also stores a large amount of text messages (over 200) before needing some space to be cleared up. I have found the battery life to be phenomenal - I only need to charge it every three or four days, and that's with about two or three hours of talk time. According to the specifications, the phone can last 336 hours on standby and up to 300 minutes of talk time with one full battery charging. That's impressive.
There are a couple of characteristics about the phone which irk me a bit - but not enough to make me want to get something new. First of all, there is no way to easily open the phone with one hand. It requires two hands to open the phone, no matter which way it is being flipped. Further, if I want to check the time, I have no choice but to flip the phone open. I don't understand why the screen on the front of the phone can't tell me the time with the push of one of the side buttons. Irksome.
In conclusion, I would certainly recommend the Samsung Alias 2. It certainly is not a perfect phone - there are some design issues (which I mentioned in the last paragraph), and I feel that the buttons are a bit too small for optimal texting. However, I have found myself improving on my texting speed and am sure that my skills will continue to improve as I get more used to the phone. The Alias 2 offers superior call sound quality, and it has a sturdy, light-weight frame which easily fits into my pocket. Trendy and stylish, the phone turns heads and has a unique design to it. The Alias 2 offers all basic features and even some more advanced features - enough to keep most customers happy and in touch with their contacts. Overall, I would certainly recommend checking out the Alias 2 for your next non-Smart phone.