Samsung Intrepid i350 Review
Samsung’s follow-up to the global i325 Ace for Sprint is now available: meet the Samsung Intrepid i350. The Intrepid is an upgrade in every way, with the two most notable changes being the inclusion of a touchscreen and the Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system. The QWERTY keyboard has been greatly improved and is much more usable. It still features EVDO Rev. A but now offers Wi-Fi as well, and of course the GSM radio is still in place for the jet-setters. Included in the box you’ll find:
• Li-Ion battery
• AC adapter
• USB cable
• 3.5mm headset
• SIM card
Whereas the Ace shared many styling elements of the first two BlackJacks, the Intrepid makes like the Jack and is stylistically a departure from the original. This is a welcome departure, and even though the Intrepid is larger overall than the Ace, it is much lighter and has a better in-hand feel.
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The Samsung Intrepid i350 is a very light phone, but does not feel cheap. It is wider which gives more room for the keyboard. Speaking of which, it has been completely overhauled which is great news because we weren’t too fond of the tiny, sloped keys found on the Ace. The keys are now squared off which gives more surface area for your fingers. We’re still not crazy about how they shaped the keys though; they slope down and to the outside of the phone which makes for an awkward feel. It is a far cry from the wonderful BlackBerry Tour keyboard, but we were still able to type with relative ease and accuracy.
Above the keyboard is a mostly standard navigational cluster. In the middle is an oversized 5-way directional pad, which is flanked by a Start and OK button on either side. On the far edges are the right and left soft keys which sit above the Send and End keys. All of the keys, including the QWERTY, offer very positive tactile feedback.
The left side of the phone has a volume rocker and microUSB charging/data port. Along the right is the power/sleep key, camera button and at the bottom the stylus is tucked away running parallel to the bottom of the phone. On the top is a covered 3.5mm headset jack, and the back simply houses the 3.2 megapixel camera and the Intrepid’s single speaker. Both the SIM card and microSD card sit above the battery, but like the Instinct HD they require the battery to be removed for access.
The Intrepid improves on the Ace with the inclusion of a 2.5” QVGA resistive touchscreen. It is slightly larger than the Ace’s 3.2” display, but does not appear as crisp. As far as resistive screens go it is decently responsive, but with more and more capacitive displays making their way into the market resistive screens are beginning to feel sluggish.
The Intrepid is up there with the Motorola Q9c/m in terms of feel for that form-factor. It is light and sleek but still has a quality build to it. This style doesn’t usually feature a touchscreen, and we found ourselves often using the d-pad instead.