Samsung Rant Review
This review was initially published without performance and rating but is now updated.

This is a CDMA phone offered with Sprint

Introduction:

The LG Rumor has been a wildly popular phone for Sprint, and when we reviewed it last year we liked what we saw overall.  However, it had some glaring omissions and was rightfully pigeonholed as a teenager’s phone.  Unlike its V-themed big brothers on Verizon, the Rumor was simply a low end phone with a QWERTY keyboard.  That one defining feature sure was popular though, and until now nobody has stepped up and made a feature QWERTY dumbphone.  Enter Samsung, who has taken the side-slide form-factor to the next level with the Rant.  On paper it delivers everything the Rumor was lacking, most notably 3G but also a higher resolution camera, Sprint TV and a four row keyboard.  Will the Rant hit the sweet spot that the Rumor missed?

Included in the box you will find:

  • Li-ion battery
  • AC adapter
  • 256 MicroSD card
  • USB data cable
  • Fashion design battery door

Design:

The Rant is very similar in design to the Rumor, with a large display atop a traditional keypad and a side-slide QWERTY keyboard.  It is noticeably different in the hand though, as the Rant weighs .8oz more and is a bit larger overall.



You can compare the Samsung Rant with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The 2.1” display is unfortunately only 176x220 pixels, not QVGA, but it is 262K colors and as usual the Samsung panel looks wonderful.  We had no issues using the phone in direct sunlight.  Just above is the earpiece, and to the left of that a small status LED.  Below it is an oval cluster of keys, including the five-way directional pad, right and left softkeys, speakerphone, back as well as send and end.  The d-pad, speakerphone and back keys are raised, whereas the soft and phone keys are flush with the display, though not seamlessly so.  Below that is a traditional dialpad, with raised hard plastic keys.  The keys are all a bit small and cramped, but the combination of raised and flush on the cluster make them easy enough to use, and all but the largest fingers shouldn’t have trouble navigating the keypad.  To the left of the display are two soft keys for use when the phone is slid open.


The keyboard slides out to the left, opposite of the Rumor.  It features four rows of keys, not three, which affords the Rant room for more, larger keys.  The top three are laid out in the traditional QWERTY format, with an end/back key at the end of the second row.  The third row starts with a function key and ends with arrow up and ok.  The bottom row is free for the space bar, remaining directional arrows, and other punctuation and shortcut keys.  Unlike LG’s four row QWERTY phones for Verizon, the Rant does not have a separate row for numbers, instead accessing them as a function option.  We prefer Samsung’s layout, as it is truer to a real keyboard and allows for more keys.



We were able to type on it fast and accurately, but we constantly found ourselves checking for mistakes.  We weren’t making them, but something about the feel of the keys gave us that impression.  The keys themselves are rubbery and flat with very shallow travel, and need to be pressed a bit harder than normal.  It works- well actually- but the feel is just a bit off.  We’d imagine that with more time and once the keypad is broken in it will feel better.

The back of the phone is entirely covered by the battery door, and the user has two options.  A flat, soft touch back is installed but the Rant also ships with another door that has a fashion design on it.  We have the black version, so we’re not sure if the pattern is the same on the red and Best Buy exclusive purple versions.  There is a tiny 2 megapixel camera and self shot mirror, and next to that is the speaker cutout.

The left side of the phone has a covered 2.5mm headphone jack and silver volume rocker.  On the right is a covered microUSB charging/data port and towards the bottom a silver camera shortcut key; on the top corner is a lanyard loop.  The microSD slot is near the bottom on the right side, though the battery door has to be removed to access it.  At least it’s not under the battery.


The Rant has a unique feel in the hand, definitely much more solid than the Rumor.  The slide has a better feel, offering both more resistance but better spring when engaged.  Though both are a chunky 18mm thick, the Rant feels thicker due to the noticeable weight difference.  That it is taller and wider allows the keyboard to be bigger, a worthy trade off.  Overall the best word we can use to describe the Rant is “solid,” though the bigger size and increased weight may be a turn off for some.

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