Samsung Strive Review: A Mid-Range Messaging Phone with AT&T's New Features
After the introduction of the popular Propel, the Samsung Strive SGH-A687 from the house of AT&T landed as a true successor. The Samsung Strive brings in with it loads of new features such as AT&T’s latest Address Book, Next Generation Messaging and Mobile Share services. Among the upgraded features of the phone is the the screen size, resolution and the camera. Let’s move on to the review to look at the Samsung Strive more closely.
Design (4 out of 5)
The Samsung Strive, dubbed the SGH-A687 is very similar to the Samsung Flight having the same slider design and measuring 4.17 x 2.15 x 0.58 inches. The phone is fairly attractive in its plastic shell encasing and feels light in hand at just 3.99 ounces in weight. The Strive is available in black and purple with features remaining the same in both models. The phone has a large display of 2.6-inches supporting 320 x 240 pixel resolution and 262,000 colors. The menus are displayed in two user-friendly styles, the list and the grid with changeable dialing font size, color and type, wallpaper, background color, backlighting time and display theme.
The Samsung Strive has a well-patterned navigation array with easy-to-operate and spacious controls. Other basic layout features of the Samsung Strive include the four-way toggle with an OK button in the center, a pop-up shortcut menu opener, Back Button, Talk Button, two soft keys and End/Power key. The toggle itself works as a shortcut to four other user-programmable features. The only issue is that the OK button opens the Web Browser in stand-by mode instead of the main menu. Moreover, there are other exterior features of the phone such as a volume rocker that sits on the left-spine of the phone, while the right-spine contains a micro-USB port, camera-shutter and syncing cable. The lens of the camera is placed on the top left corner of the phone’s rear side and the slot for memory card is at the back of the battery door. The Strive doesn’t have a self-portrait mirror or a flash.
The QWERTY keyboard of the Samsung Strive SGH-A687 might appear to be too small at first glance, but the small and flat keys are quite comfortable when you use it. There are four rows of keys, which means that the letters, symbols and numbers share the buttons. There’s a dedicated shortcut option for accessing the messaging features of AT&T’s Strive. The space bar key is placed in the bottom row just at the center.
User Interface (4 out of 5)
There’s nothing special about the Samsung Strive’s user interface. It has the same standard UI of AT&T with a kind of sliding motion when you switch from one screen to another. The only part that makes it different from the past mobile devices is the addition of new AT&T features like Mobile Share and the Address Book. The phone has a web interface where you can log on and edit the contacts list and any changes made, either in the handset or through the web, are reflected back in either case.
Features (4 out of 5)
AT&T’s Samsung Strive features a phone book with 1,000 contacts and options in each of the entries for 6 phone numbers, 2 email addresses, a birthday, a job title, a nickname, a company name, notes, job title and 2 street addresses. Each entry can further be assigned to caller groups, add a photo and any one of eleven polyphonic ringtones. New on the Samsung Strive is the recent Address Book feature of AT&T, which helps you to back-up all your phone contacts to an online address book. Sending text messages and importing of contacts is also possible from this web based account. Other essential features of the phone are a notepad, unit and currency converter, a timer, a task list, an alarm clock, a calculator, a calendar, a stopwatch, a tip calculator and a world clock. PC syncing, a voice recorder, Bluetooth and USB mass storage are some of the additional features of the Strive.
Just like any other mobile phone with a keyboard, the Samsung Strive also contains instant, multimedia and text messaging and debuted the AT&T’s next generation messaging device with an additional reply-all feature supporting up to 10 recipients. The phone’s onboard AT&T Mobile Email service allows you to access the popular POP3 services including Yahoo, Gmail and others.
AT&T’s Samsung Strive comes with a 2 megapixel camera that can take pictures in four different resolutions with 3 quality settings. Other settings of the camera being a self-timer, 20 fun frames, 3 color effects, 4 white balance options, geo-tagging, adjustable brightness tool, a night mode and options for multishots, mosaics and panoramas. It also features a digital zoom that cannot be used with the largest photo resolution. The photo quality from the Strive is good with slightly muted colors. The built-in camcorder can shoot in only one resolution of 176 x 144 pixels, but features full editing settings just like the camera. Clips for multimedia messages are limited to about 30 seconds only. The Strive further supports the Video Share feature of AT&T, but the other person must have a compatible phone for this. The Strive has a shared memory of 90MB that is accessible by users, however, a microSD card can also be used for additional storage.
The Samsung Strive supports the 3G-network service of AT&T for accessing broadband and media services. The phone further supports Mobile Video services for streaming videos and AT&T’s Mobile Music along with XM Radio Mobile, music videos, a ringtone-creating app, a Music ID application and a community part with access to fan sites and related downloads. Some of the new features are cloud based like AT&T’s Mobile Share, which allows you to share videos and photos along with contacts. Uploading of files to social networking sites, PC and online storage lockers can also be done. The stored files can then be accessed from your phone or computer any time. Even though the 250MB of online storage is offered free of charge, additional storage can be purchased, however, file transfers are not free and cost 35 cents per transfer or $10 a month for 50 transfers. But the size of file is limited to 10MB.
The Samsung Strive has direct access to the AppCenter of AT&T and offers a set of apps such as AT&T’s Navigator, Social Net, Yellowpages Mobile, Mobile IMDb, My-Cast Weather, AllSport GPS, Loopt, MobiVJ, Mobile Banking, WikiMobile, Where 2.1 and MobiTV. The Strive also comes with a number of demo version games.
Performance (4 out of 5)
The call quality proved to be pretty good when the Samsung Strive was tested using AT&T’s service. In some cases the callers might sound a bit robotic, however, the signal seemed to be clear with loud volume and natural voice quality. The end-caller report was satisfactory with very little issues like minor audio cuts in between, slightly distorted speakerphone, but not too much. The Bluetooth call quality was fine.
The Strive has a very good quality of streaming videos with very minor level pixelation. It is really great that the video frame adjusts to take the full size of the display in landscape view. The music tracks took very little time to load with good quality. The phone has a rated battery with talk-time life of 3 hours and standby time of 19.41 days of life along with a tested talk-time of 5 hours 47 minutes. Finally, the digital SAR of the phone is 0.58 watts per kilogram.
The Verdict (4 out of 5)
The Samsung Strive is one of the company’s best quality messaging phones priced reasonably at just $19.99 with a two-year contract and $169.99 without any contract. In short, if you are in need of a mid-range messaging phone with decent features and good performance, the Samsung Strive SGH-A867 could be your best fit. Overall the phone bags a good rating.