Samsung Alias U740 Preview
PhoneArena.com: Preview of the Samsung U740The new SCH-U740 from Verizon Wireless is Samsung’s first attempt of offering a QWERTY device that is in direct competition to LG’s enV (VX9900). While both phones offer a QWERTY keypad, that is where the similarities end. The enV has been on the market for three months and has a solid reputation, which is held over from the previous model last year (VX9800). LG took the VX9800 and made significant improvements with the second-generation VX9900 device. However, the Samsung U740 lacks many of the improvements that are found on the VX9900. The VX9900, which we recently reviewed, is a clamshell phone that incorporates a numeric dialing pad and 65K color display on the front, 2MP camera, with a QWERTY keypad, Stereo Speakers, and QVGA 320x240 display on the inside.
Meanwhile, the U740 has the appearance of a standard slim-sized flip phone. The U740’s external has a 65K color display, 1.3MP Camera, and touch-sensitive music playback buttons. The inside has a QWERTY keypad (which also serves as the dialing keys), Stereo Speakers, and 220x176 display.
Since the SCH-U740 is a smaller phone (3.84”H x 2.04”W x 0.58”D) than the VX9900 (4.68”H x 2.08”W x 0.78”D) it is more appealing to those fashion conscious people looking for a slim-sized phone. However, this smaller size comes at the cost of having a QWERTY keypad that is almost unusable. This is because the keys are very small and placed closely together. We found that typing a Text Message on the U740 to be more of a chore than most cell phones using T9. You can use T9 on the U740, but the alpha-letters are so tiny (about 1mm) that you need a magnifying glass to read them. Another thing that we did not like about the U740’s keypad is that not all keys are readable from both directions; depending on which way the phone is flipped open. For example, when the flip is opened sideways (landscape mode) the Send, End, and Clear keys read sideways, as well as the numbers (which is troublesome when dialing a phone number while using speakerphone).
Also, while in Landscape mode, the 5-way Navigational Keypad is on the left side, meaning that your left thumb has to use it. After going through the menus, using Mobile Web, and playing some games, we noticed that not being left handed limits the use of the navigational pad. This could have been resolved if the screen flipped open the opposite way instead. Then the navigational pad would have been in a position for the right hand to use it.
Overall, we were quite disappointed in the U740. The only thing it has going for it is the slim size, but there are other slim phones that are a better choice. The 1.3MP camera is very outdated (considering the 2MP on the VX9900 and 3MP on the A990), the internal display is not QVGA (so images and text do not look as clear as on the VX9900), and the keypad’s buttons are so small and crammed together that we found ourselves mistyping almost every word while composing text messages. The only people that we can see buying the U740 is someone that refuses to have anything other than a slim-sized phone and wants a QWERTY keypad. However, if you don’t mind slightly larger phone, the enV VX9900 is the much better choice between the two.
Expect our full review when final, commercial samples are released.