Samsung Genio Qwerty review

Reviews Andrew Williams 12:29, 21 Jan 2010

We review the Samsung Genio Qwerty, a budget-conscious phone set to bring BlackBerry stylings to a younger, cash-strapped audience

The Genio series stormed into the budget mobile sector in 2009 with the Genio Touch, offering one of the most affordable and accessible touchscreen phones ever made. Not only was it small and cheap, it also was one of the first low-end phones to use the same type of touchscreen as high-end phones – a capacitive one.

The Genio Qwerty is much like its stablemate in many respects. It’s small, it’s cheap and it also features the interchangeable backplates that became one of the Genio Touch’s leading draws for younger fans. Of course, at Know Your Mobile we’re a lot older and – if we’re frank – more jaded than that, so it’s the Genio Qwerty’s more substantial offerings that we’re interested in.

On paper, the Genio Qwerty doesn’t sound all that impressive. Its 2-megapixel camera is puny, the keyboard is cramped compared to a fully-fledged BlackBerry and it lacks 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity. Like every budget phone though, the Genio Qwerty needs to be assessed within its coinage context. Take this onboard, and the Genio Qwerty turns into a surprisingly impressive device.

First, let’s take a look at the phone’s main feature – the keyboard. Yes, it is small and relatively cramped – something that could have been improved by letting the keys expand out to the very edges of the phone’s body, but within minutes we found our speed and accuracy levels up to those achieved when using a decent virtual keyboard.

The contouring of each key helps out hugely on this front. With two thumbs on the keyboard, the whole thing is virtually obscured, but you can easily glide around without worrying about your limited view once you’ve gotten used to the layout, which doesn’t take too long.

Key placement is intuitive, working well with the standard two-thumbed approach. If you are genuinely big-fingered, we would question how wise choosing the Genio Qwerty is, but for its younger demographic, the keyboard is certainly sufficient. After all, we’re fully grown and got on fairly well, although we’d recommend trying to get your hands on a device before buying to see if your digits can deal with the cramped conditions.

Plus, while we were happy using it, not letting the keyboard spread out a little more when it's the device's key feature seems like a possible mis-step

Another element that at first seems underpowered is the screen. At 2.2 inches, it doesn’t fill the half of the fascia it inhabits, leaving a black border hanging around outside of its perimeter. The resolution is fairly poor too – even budget phones tend to muster at least 240x320 these days, but the Genio Qwerty is stuck with 220x176. Yet again though, it doesn’t sound good, but once again it performs better similarly specc’d rivals.

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