Samsung has traditionally kept its Korean Anycall devices completely separate from Europe, but the Samsung B3310 seems to be the first Anycall-inspired device to hit Western waters.
The B3310 is a QWERTY slider, although not in the more modern combination of keyboard and touchscreen. Instead, there’s an old-school navigation pad.
When you slide the keyboard out, the device changes from portrait to landscape mode, although this is where the whole concept fails.
In portrait mode, the softkey buttons are in line with the screen directions. Slide out the QWERTY keyboard and it becomes nigh on impossible because they don’t line up in landscape mode.
The keyboard is overly spongy, made from one rubberised panel. As you press each, the whole thing moves, making for a very uncomfortable typing experience.
Directly beneath the screen on the front panel are number buttons that double up as letter keys. This is not the most useful way of typing, as we’re used to looking left to right for the correct letter, not up and down.
The UI seems overly complicated too. On the homescreen there are a number of shortcuts, including Myspace and Facebook mobile websites, organiser, alarm, inbox, the compose message screen and music player. The icons are so small, you’ll have to squint if you want to see anything.
The animated menu screen adds a twist to the usual boring interface seen on many budget handsets, but it’s too garish to take seriously.
Packed inside the Samsung B3310 are a whole load of handy apps if you’re into sharing. Delve into the communities folder and you’ll find links to MySpace, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa and Friendster.
In terms of multimedia, there’s an FM radio, music player and a 2-megapixel camera, sans flash. The camera’s performance is as can be expected on a low-res snapper, with misjudged light metering not helping matters.
The Samsung B3310 could be viewed as a fun phone, available in a range of vibrant colours. Sadly, typing and navigation is a chore – something that really isn’t expected on a budget phone.
The Samsung B3310 looks to be good on paper. With a QWERTY keyboard and small dimensions, it appear’s a perfect first phone and well suited to those who feel typing is key. However, in use it’s an endless disappointment, with spongy keyboard buttons and an awkward system with a strip of numerical keys down the side. The camera fails to impress, although social networking links are prominent. The UI is a little too complicated for a basic phone. There are plenty of devices out there that tick all the boxes, including for a little extra, the Samsung Genio Qwerty.