Samsung Gravity Smart Reviewed - Failing to Put the Smart in Smartphone
The Gravity Smart is another entry level smartphone preloaded with Android 2.2. It also comes with a full physical QWERTY keyboard that slides out from under the display. But is that enough to justify calling the phone smart?
The Smart Choice?
The Samsung Gravity Smart is the first in T-Mobile's Gravity line up to come with Android. It was released alongside the Samsung Exhibit 4G, targeting the same market. While it is extremely similar to the Exhibit, it does deviate with its physical characteristics, including a slide out, full, physical, QWERTY keyboard. While it doesn't have the specifications to match up to the Sidekick 4G on T-Mobile's network, it does have a decent set of specifications to compete in the entry level market. It also tries to pop out from the competition, offering a trio of colors, Berry Red, Sapphire Blue, and Lunar Gray.
Samsung Gravity Smart Specifications:
- Dimensions: 4.48 x 2.31 x 0.55 inches (114 x 59 x 14 mm)
- Weight: 4.58 oz (130 g)
- Display: 3.2 inch LCD capacitive touch-screen display
- Memory: 1 GB expandable up to 32 GB via MicroSD slot
- OS: Android OS 2.2
- Processor: 800 MHz
- Camera: 3.2 megapixel camera
- Connectivity: GSM 850, 900, 1800, 1900 / UMTS 1700, 2100
- Data: EDGE
- Bluetooth: Bluetooth 3.0
- GPS: GPS with A-GPS
- Battery: Li-Ion 1500 mAh
Design and Display
The Samsung Gravity Smart doesn't deviate too far from the usual candy bar design, with a 3.2 inch LCD capacitive touch-screen display dominating the front. It resembles a more rounded LG Optimus T, that's also quite bulky due to the keyboard. The display itself is decent and you have to remember that the Gravity Smart is a budget smartphone, so it's not the greatest display available. It has a fairly small viewing angle but the colors do come out vividly and text comes off fairly sharp.
Below the 3.2 inch display are three touch shortcuts for menu, back and search, with the home key becoming a physical button below them. The design looks very much like its sibling, the Exhibit 4G. The left edge of the Gravity Smart has the volume rocker, while opposite on the right, resides the power / lock key and the microUSB charging port. Rounding out the back of the smartphone is a 3 megapixel camera and flash.
Overall, your run of the mill design, though slightly thick and dense. It feels solid in hand, and the screen size is a bit small and cramped, but for an entry level smartphone, the Galaxy Smart does have an average design.
The Samsung Gravity Smart comes with a decent 800 MHz processor and is preloaded with Android 2.2. While the 800 MHz processor isn't the fastest available, for an entry level smartphone, it's decent. It has less noticeable lag than the LG Optimus T that's also available through T-Mobile, but it does occassionaly pause here and there. Overall, however, the screen is responsive and tapping keys on the keyboard also gives a decent response.
Call quality was a little bit disappointing for both incoming and outgoing. Incoming calls were, at times, hard to hear, even at full volume. It wasn't due to background noise, rather the calls came in soft even when the caller was talking at a normal volume level. Outgoing calls did have a slight echo and at times, a bit of distortion. When outside, the phone did not filter the wind or the sound of cars very well, causing even more distortion for outgoing calls.
The 1500 mAh battery is the same size battery found on the Samsung Vibrant, T-Mobile's variant of the original Samsung Galaxy S. It has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours for talk time and is supposed to last 15 days on standby. In real world use, the Samsung Gravity Smart lasted a little under 2 days with regular use, including GPS and online browsing.
The Samsung Gravity Smart, being the first in the Gravity line up to come preloaded with Android, has an extremely easy to use interface. The original Gravity had its own proprietary operating system, which was decent enough, but Android is definitely an improvement. The touch-screen interface is easy to pick up and use for people of all ages. Samsung does include a TouchWiz overlay on top of Android for the Gravity Smart which enhances the experience a bit, and gives the Gravity Smart an iOS like feel.
The keyboard on the Gravity Smart is the main selling point, as the affordable smartphone is supposed to also be a texting smartphone. T-Mobile seems to be fighting its own other texting smartphone, the Sidekick 4G, which is a bit odd. The keyboard on the Gravity Smart is average, 4 rows of oval shaped keys that are easy enough to use but slightly harder to find as they're not elevated up. However, if your fingers are used to key locations, the flat keys aren't too hard to use. It would have been a better keyboard if the keys were raised or rounded.
The phone comes with a 3.2 megapixel camera, which is on par with other entry level, affordable smartphones. The picture quality is sub par, with the pictures coming out flat and lacking detail. The LED flash helps to bring out a bit of detail when it gets dark, but overall not a quality camera for taking pictures. The camera also lacks on the video recording front, with its meager 320 x 240 video capture resolution. The video comes off slightly blocky, blurry and definitely lacks detail. It's almost like watching a webchat on a lower quality web camera with slow connection speeds.
Beyond the camera, the Gravity Smart has GPS which is slightly slow to pick up a satellite, Bluetooth and the ability to connect to Wi-Fi. The GPS is a bit slow starting up, but overall, works as it's supposed to. Bluetooth and wireless work well though there was a slight bit of trouble getting the Bluetooth to recognize a headset. A quick reboot fixed the problem and after that, it worked flawlessly.
The Final Verdict
The Gravity Smart easily ranks in as an 'Average' entry level smartphone. While there's nothing majorly wrong with the smartphone, there's nothing majorly great about it either. For an extra $30 and a contract attached, you could get the Sidekick 4G which is a considerably better smartphone with a keyboard from T-Mobile. The Samsung Exhibit 4G is another affordable smartphone that's better than the Gravity Smart that would be a better choice as well. However, if you're looking for a cheap smartphone with a cheap plan, the Gravity Smart may be the choice phone for you.
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