There’s something undeniably sexy about touchscreen phones. It’s probably the fact that using such an advanced interface for mundane tasks just oozes cool. But let’s face it — if a touch-based phone requires more than a couple taps (or worse, input from a QWERTY keyboard), all of that pseudo-futuristic badassery is wasted.
Samsung’s Glyde, a phone which woefully shares its moniker with a personal lubricant, is a perfect example of this at work.
There’s a lot to love about this phone on the surface — it’s elegantly minimalist, light weight and versatile. At 4 x 2 x.7-inches it shares the form factor of its cousin the F700, making for a slick, pocket-friendly presentation. The Glyde’s clean profile is rounded out by the unit’s sparse use of external buttons, and a slimming dark blue-on-silver chassis. Even the design faux pas of an exposed memory card port has been sidestepped – it now tucks into the battery compartment. With its sweet looks, and the bonuses of multimedia support and a decent 2MP camera with flash, the Glyde is clearly a stylistic progression compared to Verizon’s other touchscreen phones (I’m looking at you, Voyager and Venus).
Likewise, the Glyde does fairly well with its full HTML browser too. Wikipedia and Google queries were easily executed and relatively quick via the phone’s EV-DO connection. However, loading graphic intensive sites (ahem, ) was surprisingly sluggish at times. Once everything was loaded, navigating through individual pages proved simple enough between the Glyde’s on-screen menus and the zoom functions (accessed through the volume button). For quick and repetitive tasks like checking webmail, the phone also gives the option of accessing a dressed up WAP version of the web. Granted, none of these features were laid out in an especially intuitive way – but when push came to shove they were functional and granted me access when I needed it.
Of course, with no accelerometer, on-screen QWERTY keyboard, or gesture-based navigation the Glyde isn’t exactly an iPhone-killer. Samsung attempts to sweeten the deal by adding a basic QWERTY keyboard (accessible by sliding the screen to the right). In truth, this addition ends up being a mixed bag. Sure, the quickness and versatility of the QWERTY was indispensable – but only because the tactile navigation is so iffy. This manifested itself as everything from on-screen buttons being hard to push, to having trouble gauging the ‘stickiness’ of click and hold commands like vertical scrolling. The Glyde’s settings allowed me to adjust the sensitivity of the touchscreen to offset this, but even after toggling it up and down the difference was negligible. That said, the fastest way to zip around on this phone seems to be an underwhelming combination of touchscreen/QWERTY navigation. Score? Glyde:1, Pseudo-futuristic badassery:0