Hands-On With the Samsung Intrepid (Verdict: Comfy Keyboard, Homely Design)

samsung-intrepid_shIn a field of large touchscreen phones, often with stunning AMOLED displays, the Samsung Intrepid ($149, coming to Sprint on October 11th), a QWERTY phone with a pop-out stylus, isn’t exactly a looker. Its 2.5-inch screen is smaller than many cameras’, and it responds to stylus– not finger touch. Meanwhile, the large soft keys have a retro (not in a good way) look.

And yet, it has solid ergonomics to recommend it.

Because it’s a candybar phone (as oppposed to a slider), Samsung was able to make the keys cushier, more raised, than they were on, say, the Moment, which has flatter (albeit, still-comfortable) keys. The keyboard even felt like a reprieve from the BlackBerry Tour (an Editors’ Choice winner) I’ve been carrying. Personally, I could do without the stylus, but then again, I might not be the Intrepid’s target customer. For those who appreciate pen input, the stylus pops out of the lower right side of the phone in a neat, satisfying way, and the screen itself is responsive to input from the pen.

For people who know they like Windows Mobile (or are curious about the new version, 6.5) and care more about having a comfortable typing experience than having a dazzling display or multimedia experience, this affordable, $149 phone could be one to consider. Check out our hands-on video to see a walk-through.

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