Samsung Exclaim SPH-M550 Review
While not unique, the dual sliding Exclaim is certainly a rarity in today’s market. Slotted to replace the Rant, the Samsung Exclaim SPH-M550 has a similar feature set but the dual slide design allows for a screen that’s a full half inch larger. It retains the 2 megapixel camera, microSD expansion up to 16GB and Sprint’s One Click UI. There is a heavy emphasis on social networking here, with preloaded Facebook and MySpace tiles, and a new Twitter tile. Included in the box you’ll find an AC charger and a 512MB microSD card.
Available in both raspberry and blueberry, the muted colors offer personality without being over the top (we’re looking at you, Sanyo.) Like the Rant it replaces, the Exclaim is on the heavy side. It is a millimeter thinner and shorter, 4mm wider. Still, the in-hand feel is very similar; it is larger than most but feel solid.
You can compare the Samsung Exclaim SPH-M550 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
Now lacking a keypad, the front is dominated by the 2.6” display. Not only has it gotten bigger, but it is now QVGA which makes for a crisper picture. It looks much better than the Rant, and we didn’t have any issues reading it in direct sunlight. Below it is a navigational cluster similar to the Rant: the 5 way d-pad is flanked by three keys on either side. On the left it is- from top to bottom- a soft key, Speaker and Talk, and on the right a soft key, Back and End.
Sliding up reveals a traditional 12 key dialpad. The keys give good feedback, though some may not appreciate the flat keypad. To differentiate the keys there are fashionable dividers, but the design doesn’t look right and threw us off a bit. A common issue with sliders is overhang interfering with the top row, but this is not a problem with the Exclaim. The keys are generously sized, and we rather enjoyed using it.
Sliding to the side brings to life the four row QWERTY keyboard. The first thing we noticed is that the backlight is much brighter than the Rant, a complaint we often heard. The soft keys in landscape mode have been moved from the display to the keypad, and since the phone is shorter overall this leaves less room for the keyboard. Still, the keyboard is easy to use and we were quickly typing accurate messages.
The left side of the Exclaim simply has a volume rocker at the top. The right is busier, with the microSD slot, microUSB charging port and a camera key. Unfortunately it only has a 2.5mm headset jack, which is found on the top. The back is mostly battery door, with the 2.0 megapixel camera perched and centered at the top.
The sliding mechanisms of the Samsung Exclaim SPH-M550 feel very solid. There is just the right amount of resistance, but once it gets going the slide is very smooth. There is a very reassuring click when either slide is opened and closed. All in all the Exclaim is reassuring in the hand, a trait we have come to expect from Samsung devices.