Samsung Strive A687 Review1
Samsung Strive A687 has landed on AT&T as the successor to the popular Propel, and it brings a slew of new and upgraded features. The portrait slider form-factor is still intact, but the screen size and resolution, as well as the camera, have been upgraded. New features include AT&T’s recently announced Address Book and Mobile Share services that back up your contacts and media, respectively, and Next Generation Messaging, which is decidedly last generation. Still, the Samsung Strive offers a decent feature set for a low price tag.
Like the Propel, the Samsung Strive is a portrait slider with a full QWERTY keyboard hidden underneath. It has actually increased in size and weight, but with the increased size you get a 2.6” QVGA display with 262K colors whereas the Propel had a 2.2” panel with a 220x176 resolution and only 65K colors. The increase in size, resolution and color depth is noticeable and makes for a better viewing experience all-around.
You can compare the Samsung Strive A687 with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
At a hair less than 4oz the weight is enough to be noticed, but not enough to be a nuisance. Being a larger phone the weight is distributed over more surface area, and as such the device doesn’t feel overly heavy. The slide mechanism is very smooth, offering enough resistance to prevent accidental operations and assistance once it’s sure you want to open or close it.
We recently reviewed the Sunburst and praised its build quality and use of premium materials, but unfortunately this does not hold true for the Strive. It starts with the cheap plastic used for the housing. All surfaces have a piano finish as opposed to the preferred soft-touch coating. The hard, slippery finish just feels subpar, especially for a usually design-obsessed company like Samsung.
The issues continue as you explore the keyboard. It sounds illogical, but it manages to be hard and soft at the same time. The keys offer a bit too much resistance when pressed, which is exacerbated by the overall sponginess of the keyboard as a whole. As you type it feels as if the unit is giving, but the key itself is hard, which leaves the feeling of fighting with the keyboard to type. Despite this, we were still able to type fairly accurately. These days the best on-screen keyboards rival their physical counterparts, but this is a good example of how a poor physical keyboard can still be usable, whereas a poor onscreen keyboard (such as on the Sunburst) ruins the experience.
The rest of the keys offer very good feedback and a nice click when pressed. Below the display there is a five way d-pad, a pair of soft keys, a launcher button as well as the Send, End and Back keys. Along the left side is the volume rocker and the camera key and microUSB charging/data port are on the right side. The 2-megapixel camera and speaker are on the back of the Samsung Strive, and finally the microSD port is accessed by removing the battery door.
Despite its shortcomings on the keyboard and materials, the Samsung Strive gives you exactly what you’d expect for $20 on contract. Sure a soft touch finish would be nice or brushed metal accents, but the Strive feels sturdy enough to be put through the everyday paces of the average user.