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Breaking the Trend
The Samsung Trender is a new addition to the entry level market being offered through Sprint for a low price of $29.99. Unlike the name suggests, the Trender is not following the latest trend of smartphones, avoiding Android as the operating system and opting to use a proprietary Samsung operating system. It's a bit of a throwback to the older smartphones that each seemed to have their own proprietary software loaded on, maybe they should have called it the Samsung Throwback. Regardless, the Trender is just another contender entering into the market and hoping to spread the Samsung brand.
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Design and DisplayRating
The Samsung Trender has a very average design, using the tried and true candy bar design with a 2.8 inch QVGA, resistive touch-screen display dominating the front. The display is not the greatest and the colors don't come as bright as one would like, in addition it's a resistive touch screen, not capacitive. Below the display are three buttons for back, home and pulling up the phone menu, nearly mimicking its Android powered brethren.
Along the left edge of the Trender you'll find the volume rocker. Opposite, on the right is where the camera shutter button resides. The power/lock button and 3.5 mm headphone jack are located up top. Rounding out the back of the Trender is a 1.3 megapixel camera. Sliding out from under the display is a full physical, flat, QWERTY keyboard. Overall the design of the Trender isn't anything exciting and the display is sub-par.
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When it comes to performance, the Trender falters quite a bit. The proprietary operating system used by the Samsung Trender is actually a bit slow to respond. It's a bit frustrating at times as you touch an option on the screen and the phone seems to just sit and wait, processing. There were times where it was due to the resistive screen not picking up the pressure, but the majority of the time, it just seemed as though the phone needed a bit of time to pick up on the command.
Call quality was sub par as well, with incoming calls having a robotic tinge to them, with a bit of echo as well. Outgoing calls also had a trace of distortion following along, with people receiving the call having a slightly hard time understanding what was being said. Outside noise was also not cancelled out, so passing cars and other outside noise all went through with the call, making it hard to hear what was being said on the Trender.
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The user interface on the Trender is very simple, with icons dominating the front and tabs separating each section of icons. It doesn't have as many choices as an Android or iOS smartphone, but it's fairly decent. It has quick access to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, similar to other, more powerful smartphones. The default browser is decent but Opera Mini, which is downloadable for free, is a better choice.
The Trender made a mistake using a resistive touch screen, as it really takes away from the user experience. Unlike capacitive touch screens, resistive touch screens do require a bit of pressure to be placed on the screen. For users of capacitive touch-screen smartphones, this type of change is actually very jarring, and for new users, a bit frustrating, as it feels like the phone isn't responding if you don't apply enough pressure.
The keyboard that slides out from under the display is decent, with the keys spaced evenly across the whole keyboard. Typing on the Trender is easy to do, and the keys click fairly responsively. In fact, the keyboard seems to be the best part of the Trender when it comes to user interface.
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The Trender comes equipped with a disappointing 1.3 megapixel camera. The camera quality is definitely below average, with images coming out fuzzy and unclear. Bright light flushed out the pictures while low light ends up with blurry pictures. In addition, the camera cannot be used for video recording. Overall the camera on the Trender might as well be non-existant as it really doesn't work that well. It definitely cannot be used as a camera replacement of any sort.
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The Final VerdictRating
Overall the Samsung Trender easily ranks in as a 'Below Average' phone. It doesn't have many redeeming qualities, with the resistive touch screen, the slow user interface, the bad call quality and the horrid camera. This is one phone to forget about in favor of other entry level smartphones such as the LG Optimus S, also offered on Sprint.
Samsung has been up and down when it comes to releasing quality smartphones and the Trender is more on the down side of the house. Even if it had been preloaded with Android, the Trender still would not have fared any better.
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- Source: Author's own experience.
- Image Credit: Samsung, http://www.samsung.com/us/mobile/cell-phones/SPH-M380ZKASPR-gallery