Samsung has released two new phones for the nation's number two carrier, the Strive slider and full touchscreen Sunburst. The Strive follows the design lineage of the Propel family, offering a full portrait QWERTY hidden below the 2.6" QVGA display. It is a 3G phone with positively mid-range features, including a 2 megapixel camera, microSD expansion and Bluetooth 2.0. It is much taller than the Propel, almost too big for our liking. While slightly heavier than the Propel, the weight to size ratio makes feel cheap, a feeling that is reinforced by using the QWERTY keypad. The keys are a bit stiff for our liking and the other problem is that the whole keyboard flexes when pressing in a key. Normally Samsung is known for top-notch design, but the Strive is the exception here.
Luckily the Sunburst feels much better. It is very sprite, in fact it may get lost in larger hands, but the size is great for the target teen audience. The phone is curiously not 3G equipped, but otherwise has similar features to the Strive. TouchWiz is on board allowing the user to customize their three home screens. The phone definitely plays to the multimedia crowd, touting AT&T Music and stereo Bluetooth capabilities. Unfortunately it still uses Samsung's proprietary 20-pin connector for charging and headphones instead of a microUSB and 3.5mm headphone jack.
Though these phones are both squarely mid-range, they mark the launch of two new high-end services from AT&T that allow the user to back up their contacts and media to their PC. AT&T Address Book backs up contacts, including two-way email sync. Users can utilize the web interface to make changes, import contacts and to send text messages to contacts free of charge. This latter feature differentiates itself from similar services offered by Verizon and Sprint. AT&T Mobile Share allows customers to share pictures and video across their device, PC and social networking sites, though the service is limited to 10MB/month before charges are incurred. The first service, in our opinion, is definitely more useful than the latter.
Stay tuned for our full Strive and Sunburst reviews soon!