Review: Samsung Gravity - A Solid Mobile Messenger

Do you need a smartphone or do you just need a smarter cell phone? In these days of touchscreen cell phones that constantly make headlines, you might find yourself wondering if you need a mini computer clipped to your belt, of if you'd be better off with a far less expensive phone that still lets you stay in touch in a variety of ways.

The Samsung Gravity is attractively small and yet still contains a variety of connectivity options. It's sold by T-Mobile and is available for free with a $149.99 Web-only discount and a $50 mail-in rebate.

You can choose from two color schemes; we tested the gray with lime accents model, and thought the vibrant green gave a fresh energy to an otherwise staid design.

The Gravity measures 4.53 x 2.07 x 0.7 inches and weighs 4.3 ounces. It's not the slimmest or smallest phone around, but it easily slides into a jeans pocket.

It's a quad-band (850/900/1800/1900) GSM phone, so it's a good choice if you travel to Europe or other GSM areas often.

The front holds a 176 x 220 pixel display, and beneath that is a clickable direction pad. The pad is surrounded by the usual four controller buttons (two contextual soft buttons, plus call start and stop buttons), as well as one button for calling up your favorite messaging app (choose from your in-box, IM app, or e-mail client) and one for moving back one screen.

The left side holds the volume buttons and the microSD slot (the phone supports up to 4GB cards), while the right side holds a proprietary headphone slot and a camera button. The box includes a set of headphones that work with this slot, but we would have preferred a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and the ability to use whichever headphones we like.

The back of the Gravity holds the lens for the 1.3 megapixel digital camera. There's a silver self-portrait mirror, but unfortunately no flash.

There's one more piece to see, though, and that's the slide out QWERTY keyboard. Slide the bottom of the phone to the left and the screen automatically goes into landscape mode, and the direction pad now works with the new orientation.

We found the keyboard comfortable to use, although the keys were just a bit stiff. After playing around with the Apple iPhone and the BlackBerry Storm, we were hoping for typing time-savers, like the ability to create a period by hitting the space bar twice, but there's nothing like that to be found here.

The Gravity supports Bluetooth, but not WiFi. With no high-speed data network (just EDGE), the Gravity is purely for people satisfied with texting, e-mailing, and calling (of course).

It's easy to navigate the T-Mobile menu, and to create new messages.

We like that there's 60MB of internal memory, which you can use to store songs for the installed music player. Helpful extras include a calculator and a tip calculator. The battery is rated for 6 hours of talk time and 12 days of standby.

More isn't always better, and if you're looking for a bargain phone on the lowest-priced carrier, the Gravity is a solid way to go.


messenger, Samsung, T-Mobile, Samsung Gravity