Samsung Rogue U960 Review

Introduction and Design

It has been a little over a year since we reviewed the Samsung Glyde U940 and encountered  the problems associated with  its capacitive touchscreen. Then a few months later Samsung refreshed the model with a more traditional resistive screen, which eliminated most of these issues.  Now its replacement, the Samsung Rogue U960 has been released and we’re eager to see if Samsung got it right this time. Not to mention that we are curious  in how the Rogue compares with the LG enV Touch VX11000.

Included in the retail package is the Samsung Rogue U960 phone, 960 mAh battery, wall charger with detachable data cable, and user guide.  We like the fact that the data cable is detachable from the wall plug, which allows for a PC USB connection, but encourage Samsung to replace the phone’s proprietary charger/data port with a standardized microUSB interface.


The Samsung Rogue U960 is physically larger than its predecessor, the Glyde U940, but still not as tall as the LG enV Touch VX11000.  In fact, its design closely resembles that of  smartphone, such as the HTC Touch Pro2, even though it’s not.  Despite this, it feels less bulky than the enV Touch and BlackBerry Storm and is very comfortable to hold, but is still noticeable when placed in your pant’s pocket and feels somewhat heavy. The front is dominated by the large display, which has black plastic surrounding it, with the light and proximity sensors at the top, and the Send, End, and Back buttons at the bottom.  Along the sides are shiny chrome on the top half, with a brown metallic color used on the bottom half, where the volume rocker, data port, microSD card slot, 3.5mm headset jack, camera key, speakerphone, voice command, and lock key are located.  The back of the Rogue continues this brown metallic color, but has a textured design.  Not only is this fashionable, more so than the square lines found on the enV Touch, but also allows you to have more of a grip when holding. The only area protruding from the back is the housing for the 3MP autofocus camera and flash, where it is flush on the enV Touch.  When comparing the two phones, we found the Rogue’s overall build quality to be better and more sold feeling, where the enV Touch didn’t feel as high quality.

You can compare the Samsung Rogue U960 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The Rogue is Verizon’s first device to offer an AMOLED display. It measures 3.1 inches and has  WVGA (480x800) resolution, as well as support for up to 262K colors. For the first time, images almost look life-like, with the best detail, color reproduction, saturation, and contrast than any other current Verizon phone  has to offer. We loaded some high-resolution wallpapers and could clearly see how much better they looked on the Rogue than on the enV Touch, nor do images  lose their quality when viewing the screen from side angles.  You can also manually change the brightness of the display (between 0 and 5) or have it set to Auto, which will adjust the brightness based on the surrounding light level. Since it is a resistive touchscreen, the top covering is clear plastic, but is still quite firm and doesn’t flex as much as the enV Touch or Voyager when pressed upon. It is also more responsive  and doesn’t require as much pressure. Overall, we are very pleased with the display on the Rogue.  Not only does it have the best looking screen from Verizon, but the problems that plagued the Glyde have been finally put to rest.

Keeping with Samsung tradition, the Rogue features a side-sliding QWERTY keyboard, where the LG enV Touch uses a clamshell design. The Rogue sports a 4-row keyboard (in contrast to the Glyde, which has only three rows) with the number keys now having their own row at the top and dedicated d-pad arrow keys on the right. These are welcome changes, as the Glyde’s keyboard was more difficult to use.  Because of this, we had no problems using the Samsung Rogue U960 for typing messages, as the keys provide good response when pressed, but are still a bit small, where the enV Touch has an overall larger keyboard. For people with larger hands, this could be a concern and we highly recommend trying both devices to see which keyboard you are more comfortable with.

Samsung Rogue U960 360 Degrees View:


The Rogue’s user interface has also been improved upon, not only in terms of its layout, but also with the inclusion of the TouchWiz 2.0 sidebar. When the display is unlocked, the home screen shows four icons along the bottom for the dialer, contacts, messages, and menu.  This is similar to the layout we’ve seen on the LG Voyager, Dare, Versa and enV Touch. The display can also be used in landscape mode when the phone is held sideways and the QWERTY keyboard is opened. The Samsung Rogue U960 adds the new Samsung TouchWiz 2.0 sidebar, which is an update to the original TouchWiz we saw on the Omnia smartphone. When selecting the small arrow on the left side, the Widget bar opens up.  From there you can scroll the list, choose to run a program, or drag the icon directly to the desktop. We found it easy to use and it worked rather smoothly.  There are a total of 23 Widgets including web links directly to social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and Photobucket. Two of the more useful widgets are My Shortcuts and My Favorites. With My Shortcuts you can add direct shortcuts to the desktop that link to other menu items, pictures, videos, web favorites, and music playlists.  While the My Favorites widget allows you to add a saved contact’s PictureID image to the desktop, so that you can call or message them directly.

The Rogue’s Main Menu is quite colorful with a background image that resembles the textured design used on the back of the phone.  Nine icons are laid out on a 3x3 grid that lead to contacts, messaging, recent calls, browser, media center, my music, VZ Navigator, Email, and settings & tools.  If you press on one of the items, such as media center, you are taken to that menu where you can scroll up and down the list of sub-items or can go to other menus by scrolling side to side.  Even though the Main Menu itself looks nice, the sub-menus are rather boring as they are just white text with a black background. Missing are any theme choices, which is quite disappointing. The only customizations include selecting wallpaper, personalized banner, font style and size, and clock format. It is unfortunate that only one theme is included in such a high-end device, considering the fact that some lower-end phones come with more themes and customizations. We sincerely hope that Samsung will include additional theme choices in any future software update.


As with most new Verizon phones, the Rogue allows up to 1000 contacts to be stored, instead of 500 on the Glyde. Each with their name, 5 phone numbers, 2 email addresses and IM screen name, but you can now enter a person’s street address and birthday as well. Of course you can still select a picture and ringtone for each contact, but the size of the PictureID image that is shown when a contact calls is ridiculously small (about 0.60” diagonal).  There’s no reason why this could not be larger, considering the Rogue’s screen is 3.10” in size and the PictureID image shown on the enV Touch is 1.25”.

Selecting the Phone icon on the bottom of the  home screen will bring up the standard numeric dial pad.  Due to its larger size and better response, we didn’t encounter the horrific dialing problems that we experienced with the Glyde. Also, when you begin to dial a number, it searches the contact list and recent calls for matching results and will show the corresponding name or number at the top of the screen. You can then click on it to dial the number directly.


The Calendar still offers the same features as on the Glyde, but has undergone a facelift and is more user-friendly. It begins by showing the current month with the date highlighted in blue. You can select a specific day on the calendar by pressing on it, as well as moving from month-to-month by sliding your finger across the screen. Missing is the month and year drop down list that we liked on the enV Touch, but the  Samsung Rogue U960 has a “go to” option that operates in a similar fashion with scroll wheels for the month, day and year. Once the desired date is selected, you can add an event with the appointment name, start and end time and date, recurrence, alert tone, reminder, and alert time. When the phone reaches that saved event, it will display the information on the screen and playback the designated alert tone.

Separate from the calendar are the independent alarms, where only 3 can be added. They are very basic and only allow you to set the alert time, repeat frequency, and alert tone. This is an easy way to setup a daily wake-up alarm or notification if it takes place within 24 hours.

The speaker-independent Voice Command feature can be activated through the phone’s menu or by pressing the dedicated Voice Command button on the right side. Once activated, there are 9 commands you can speak to the phone: Call name or number, Send Message, Go to menu, Check item, Contacts name, Redial, Play, My Verizon, and Help. The most useful of these is the “Call” command, where you can speak the digits to dial or the name of a person in your contacts list. The only training that is required is for the digits and a few basic words, not the contact names or commands. During our testing, the system didn’t have any problems with our spoken commands. It can also be used in conjunction with a Bluetooth headset, so you can call numbers without touching the phone directly.

The Samsung Rogue U960 comes with 512MB of internal memory (twice the amount of the enV Touch), of which 63MB is used, leaving 449MB to the consumer. This is an adequate amount for storing pictures, videos, and music if you happen to not have a memory card installed. But most power users will opt to use a microSDHC memory card (up to 16GB is supported) as it allows for more storage and easier file transfers.


Just like with the Glyde and enV Touch, the Samsung Rogue U960 can send and receive text, picture, and video messages. Since one of the main features is the QWERTY keyboard, most users will opt for this method of typing messages, but there is still T9 predictive for use with the touchscreen. Threaded messaging is also included, which will group all your messages together by contact, number, or email. One new feature is Voice Dictation, which will listen to what you are saying and transcribe it as text. This does require training, as it gives you sentences to read so it can adapt to your voice. Once the training was completed, we tried the dictation, which is done by holding down the voice command key while in the new text message screen. About 75% of sentences were fully accurate, with the remaining amount having 1 or 2 wrong words in them, but over time the success rate did get better. We enjoyed having this feature, not to mention it is safer to use than typing a message while driving (which is now illegal in some states.)

Other messaging options include Mobile Email, which allows you to send and receive email through your POP or IMAP account, as well as Mobile IM, to connect to people on your AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo buddy lists.

Connectivity and Data:

The Samsung Rogue U960 is a dual-band all-digital device that operates on the 800MHz and 1900MHz CDMA Verizon Wireless network.  Non-voice data, such as Web and E-mail, are transmitted using Verizon’s 3G EV-DO Rev A network. Unfortunately Wi-Fi is not supported, which is not a surprise since Verizon only places this on smartphones.

Bluetooth version 2.1 with EDR is now supported and allows for up to 20 device parings. Supported profiles include: headset, handsfree, stereo, phonebook access, basic printing, basic imaging, object push, file transfer, and serial port. We were able to use the auto pair feature to easily connect to our Jabra 250v earpiece, as well as our Motorola HT820 and S9 stereo headsets. When using the 250v for calls, we were able to get up to 30 feet of static free performance, and with the HT820 and S9 we were able to get up to 35 feet of stereo music without static.

When launching the HTML Browser you are taken to the familiar VZW Home Page, which has quick launch icons for News, Email, Entertainment, Sports, Weather, Connect, My Verizon, More, and Favorites. Located on the right side of the browser is the function bar that allows you to go to the homepage, zoom in and out, manage favorites, go to multiple web pages, and browser menu. To enter in a web site address, you simply touch the address bar at the top of the screen and use the physical QWERTY keyboard to type it in, as there isn’t a virtual on-screen QWERTY keyboard like on the enV Touch, Dare or Versa. There is also a drop-down list of recently viewed sites. Unlike the enV Touch that allows 3 browsing tabs across the top of the screen, the Rogue has a dedicated screen for managing up to 5 open web sites, which you can scroll between to select the one you wish to view.

Complex web sites, such as took about 35 seconds to load, which is about 2-3 seconds longer than when using the enV Touch, but still 20 seconds faster than the Glyde. You can pan around the web page by using your finger on the display, or by using the d-pad arrows on the keyboard. We found this easier as you don’t have to flip the phone open to use the d-pad like with the enV Touch. You can also zoom pages in and out by three different ways: by selecting the zoom icon on the right side of the screen, by using the physical buttons on the side of the phone (voice command and speakerphone), or by double-tapping the area of the page to zoom. Between these choices we found that using the side buttons was the easiest and fastest way to zoom. Located on the bottom left corner is an icon that allows you to change to full screen mode, thus eliminating the address bar and function bar on the sides.

Just like with the enV Touch, the Rogue has limited Flash support. This allows you to watch embedded YouTube videos in web pages, and also view videos directly on the YouTube site. Full screen mode is supported and loads the video in a separate program where you can play, pause, stop, rewind and fast-forward. When watching the same YouTube videos on both phones, you could easily tell that they looked better on the enV Touch, as the videos on the Rogue looked “blotchy” and over-pixelated. We’re not sure why this is, but heavy YouTube viewers should keep this in mind. The browsers on both devices are quite good, and there are very few differences between them. The only way to step-up to a better web experience is to use a smartphone, such as the HTC Touch Diamond or Touch Pro2, which include the Opera browser.


The Samsung Rogue U960 includes a 3MP autofocus camera with LED flash, which is a nice upgrade over the Glyde’s 2MP camera. The program only takes two seconds to load and is easily accessible by pressing the dedicated camera button on the right side of the phone. Unlike the Glyde and enV Touch that have a traditional 2-stop shutter button, the Rogue has a 1-stop, which means that once it’s pressed, it focuses and captures the image immediately, but it is rather fast as it only takes 2 seconds. The total turn around time to take one picture, save it, and then take another picture is 8 seconds. This is mostly due to having the review image shown on the screen and then pressing “save”. You can turn the image review off, which will automatically save the image after it is taken, lowering the time down to 6 seconds. Furthermore, turning autofocus off will allow you to take and save a picture in 3 seconds.

Images taken outside are excellent and rival those taken by the enV Touch. Both have good detail, but the Rogue’s images have more accurate color with better auto white balance, while the enV Touch’s images look slightly sharper, though the color is not as accurate. When moving indoors, the Rogue’s images still look good with plenty of light, but there is some noticeable grain. Then in lower-light conditions the grain increases, but the images are still bright, thanks to slower shutter speeds. Lastly, images taken with the flash are some of the best we’ve seen from a Verizon device, and about equal to that of the Samsung Omnia. It is clear that the camera is in fact one of the best features of the Rogue, but we still wish it had a traditional 2-stop shutter button.

Videos can be recorded at up to VGA (640x480) resolution and can be as long as the available memory. They are recorded at 18FPS, which is about equal to what the enV Touch does, and they look better than the Glyde’s 320x240 resolution videos.  While they are not “vacation quality”, they are good enough for viewing on the phone, PC, and uploaded to YouTube.

Samsung Rogue U960 sample video at 640x480 pixels resolution.


One area of total disappointment is in regards to the Rogue’s music player program, as it uses the old “red theme” that is found on the Glyde, Voyager, and most other Verizon phones. This is truly unfortunate and inexcusable, and to make matters worse, the player cannot run in the background, which means you can’t listen to music while performing other tasks, such as sending a message or using the web browser. Since both the enV Touch and enV3 have an updated themed player with multitasking abilities, there is no reason why the Rogue can’t offer the same features. For a device which Verizon classifies an “Enhanced Multimedia Phone”, the Samsung Rogue U960 is not enhanced when it comes to the music player program. But moving past this limitation, the music playback quality is quite good, despite the device only having a single mono speaker on the back. When listening to MP3 files, the enV Touch sounded better than the Rogue, due to the stereo speakers and different equalizer settings, but the Rogue still sounds better than the Glyde. You can also connect wired earbuds to the Rogue’s 3.5mm headset jack or use a stereo Bluetooth headset.

Standard video access is supported through Verizon’s Vcast service, which plays pre-recorded clips and is streamed over the carrier’s EV-DO network. We also tested several of our own video files on the Rogue and were able to playback H.264 and H.263 MP4 videos with resolutions of up to 720x306 pixels and bit rates of to up 1500kbps.  All of them played back smoothly and didn’t drop any frames. However, DivX and XviD encoded files are not supported.


As with most other Verizon phones, the Samsung Rogue U960 has VZ Navigator for GPS-guided directions, and well as  the ability to download ringtones, games, and other applications. One included game is Dice, where you can shake the phone to move the dice on the screen. Another one is Need for Speed, which also uses the accelerometer to drive the car down the winding streets. We were also pleased to see the inclusion of the File Viewer program, which is also found on the enV Touch. With it you can view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files. The only real function you have is to zoom in on pages and move them around the screen, as it doesn’t support copy, paste, or editing of files.


Even though the Samsung Rogue U960 has a lot to offer and packs an AMOLED display and 3MP camera, the most important feature of any mobile phone should be its call quality and reception. We are glad to report that in both of these areas the Rouge does exceptionally well. In fact, we believe that call quality is better than what we experienced with the enV Touch (which was quite good), as voices sounded slightly clearer and more natural on both ends. However, speakerphone volume is not as loud as the enV Touch, since it only has one speaker. The signal reception on both phones was nearly identical, as we would have 2-3 bars showing and did not drop any calls.  When placing the phones in the hidden test mode, we could see that the Rogue would get a –82dB signal and the enV Touch would get –84dB outside. A value of –55dB (or lower) is achieved when next to a local tower.

The included 960 mAh battery is rated to provide up to 4.7 hours of talk time or 12 days of standby time on a full charge. We were able to get up to 4.5 hours of continuous talk time, compared with 5 hours on both the Glyde (1000 mAh) and enV Touch (950 mAh). For those who require longer talk times between charges, there is an optional 1550 mAh battery that can be purchased.


In every possible way the Samsung Rogue U960 is a worthy upgrade from the Glyde U940. First and foremost the touchscreen issues have been completely resolved, thanks to it using resistive technology instead of capacitive. The 3.1” AMOLED display looks truly amazing and is the clear winner above traditional TFT. Not to mention the Rogue has excellent call quality and signal reception and sports a good 3MP autofocus camera with flash, HTML browser, and sliding QWERTY keyboard. Unfortunately, the device only comes with one menu theme and it still has the same old outdated red music player that lacks the ability to run in the background . Because of this, it is a tough choice for those looking to purchase either the Rogue or the enV Touch. It really comes down to personal preference and what features are more important to you, as neither phone is truly better than the other.

Samsung Rogue U960 Video Review:


  • 3.1” WVGA AMOLED display
  • Touchscreen sensitivity is good
  • Excellent camera performance
  • Awesome call quality and reception
  • 3.5mm headset jack
  • Nice overall build and fashionable design


  • Outdated music player that lacks multitasking
  • Proprietary charger/data port
  • YouTube videos look blotchy and over-pixelated at full screen
  • Somewhat heavy feeling

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