A compact QWERTY slider, the BT3410's sluggish touch-screen is compensated by its full QWERTY keyboard.
Samsung's TouchWiz is a little sluggish and basic, but easy to figure out. We would like to see the widget selection updated though.
Its two-megapixel camera is pretty capable for a low-spec model, and the message features are unrivalled for a phone at this price point. No 3G, which makes this phone most suitable for simple texts, rather than instant messaging or emailing.
The sluggish touch-screen was disappointing particularly in the web browser, but the QWERTY keyboard is a good size, and the camera produced decent pictures easily shared over email, text or Bluetooth.
No 3G, Wi-Fi or GPS means a very good battery life.
Review by Sunetra Chakravati,12/12/2011 3:58:05 PM
Look and feel
Ease of use
Full QWERTY keyboard, excellent messaging functionality, decent two-megapixel camera for the price
Sluggish TouchWiz interface, slow touch-screen, lack of 3G means a slow web and IM experience
Say you like texting as much as the next young person, but just can't take the bright colours of the Samsung Genio phones. Why couldn't they have done it in a classy black, you might wonder. Well, voila - the prosaically named Samsung B3410 is just up your alley, a feature phone with a slide-out QWERTY that's totally built around texting and instant messaging.
Touch 'n' type Any youth-oriented phone needs a touch-screen and the B3410 duly incorporates a 2.6-inch resistive display, the type that tends to be less responsive than the higher-end capacitive sort. A four-line QWERTY keyboard slides out from under, and this really looks like a grown-up Genio Slide, with the same rounded edges and familiar Samsung look of a diamond-shaped D-pad and two call and hangup buttons. The keyboard is decently sized, but its keys feel just a touch heavy, and we had to press harder than comfortable. There's no correction system, even for inserting punctuation into contractions, and the spacebar is a bit small, and too far to the right, and we often accidentally inserted a full stop when we meant a space. The user interface is Samsung's old standby, TouchWiz, a widget-based interface with some pretty basic widgets in a hidden toolbar. Tap on it and you can move onto the homescreen stuff like Birthday Reminder, Clock, or a Facebook 'widget' that's really just a shortcut to the website. Since there's nothing to prevent widgets from overlapping, it can end up looking quite messy, and even if you add judiciously, the widgets just aren't nicely designed. What the B3410 truly does shine at is texting. Sliding the QWERTY keyboard immediately opens the 'create-message' field, while a fixed toolbar runs across the bottom of the screen, with permanent links to Phonebook, Menu and Conversations, a threaded view of SMSes you've sent and received. A nice extra is that from within the Conversations you can also choose to 'Create a New Conversation' - in other words, yet another path to messaging. If you hit Menu, you'll go to the all-programs view, again with a bottom toolbar with hot links to Conversations, Phonebook and Home. There's also a dedicated create-message button on the keyboard, and when you get a new message, a preview box pops up on the homescreen. You can't reply from the box though, only view the message or exit.
Slow it downUnfortunately, the usual caveats of an entry-level touch-phone still apply - the resistive touch-screen is just a little slow to response and TouchWiz is a sluggish interface to navigate. The web browser is particularly lag-ridden, with touches often not recognized, followed by overcompensation of scrolling. The screen often didn't register accurate link typing as well, and the fact of a mobile browser that optimised for light-weight mobile sites coupled with a lack of 3G means the web experience is quite slow, and you wouldn't use it for much more than quick bursts of fact checking, if that. There's also no accelerometer - not unheard of in phones at this price point - though once you pull out the keyboard, the phone automatically flips into landscape mode. Instant messaging, though ostensibly one of the phone's key features, is another imperfectly implemented feature. You first need to create a separate account with the phone, then add your Gtalk, AIM or ICQ accounts. That's right, no MSN, probably the most popular IM program. Weird. Plus, without 3G (or Wi-Fi) it took us awhile to register accounts, and for messages to be sent and received.
Photo-readyThe two-megapixel is pretty impressive for its weight class - there's no flash or autofocus, but daylight photos at least came out with great colours and clarity, with just a slight fuzz over more exposed areas of the pictures. There's only a normal mode or night mode - so no portrait, outdoor, action etc as you'd usually find on a Samsung camera phone - but with no autofocus, night mode produces pretty blurry snaps in lowlight. The colours are much truer though, and we like the addition of cute extras like mosaic and 'frame' shots, where you can capture your subject in some kind of silly hat or mask.
The verdictA simple phone with top-notch messaging features, though the lack of 3G makes it less suitable for, well, pretty much anything else. And considering it's available free on £15 or £20 contracts with unlimited texts, it's really perfectly aimed at any heavy texters.