Verizon’s Glyde has been a long time coming. Based on the F700v we reviewed back at the beginning of the year, Verizon’s version has taken four and a half months of rumor and FCC spills to reach our hands. The premise is aluring: EV-DO, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, capacitative touchscreen and stereo Bluetooth. But we weren’t convinced by the F700v, and the Glyde makes some strange drops in spec; the camera, for instance, dives from 3-megapixels to 2, and while the F700v has HSDPA the Glyde makes do with EV-DO (not Rev.A).
In its favor, though, the Glyde is slimmer than the F700v. Samsung has cropped the keyboard down by sandwiching the space bar between the ‘V’ and ‘B’ keys, taking the cellphone down to 1.97-inches wide. It makes a real difference in how the Glyde feels in the hand, though of course at the expense of screen real-estate.
The Glyde’s display measures 2.8-inches and is 240 x 440 resolution. Compared to the broad expanse of the iPhone and the VGA richness of the freshly announced HTC Touch Diamond, it’s a little on the pokey side. This is most obvious in the browser; we weren’t big fans of the F700v’s browser, and while the software appears the same on the Glyde the use of the display is much worse. The standard font size is unncessarily large, and almost 40-percent of the screen is taken up with menu bars, top and bottom.
It’s a shame, because the rest of the menu structure is an improvement. There are more obvious buttons than on the F700, easier to select, and Samsung appear to have used the past four months taking better advantage of the touchscreen’s capabilities. We quickly turned off the haptic feedback; non-location specific, the whole handset vibrates instead of a specific point on the display. It adds no usability to the device.
A disappointing omission is Verizon’s streaming TV service, a shame considering the LG Vu on AT&T – another touchscreen device – makes a great job of mobile TV. The Glyde does have access to V CAST Music and V CAST Video downloads, as well as Verizon’s “Get It Now” download service; the subscription-based VZNavigator GPS is also available. The onboard media player is reasonable, and can use either the onboard memory or microSD cards up to 8GB in size.
Verizon make good use of the Glyde’s QWERTY keyboard, with support for AIM, MSN and Yahoo! instant messaging as well as SMS, picture and video messaging. Sadly there’s no push email access nor compatibility with Exchange accounts; the Glyde can be set to regularly check POP and IMAP email. The keyboard itself is a mixed experience. Reasonably spaced and with the tactile benefits of being hardware rather than on-screen, the positioning of the space bar does slow down rapid typing. Overall, despite the benefits of a narrower handset, we prefered that on the F700v.
The Verizon Glyde isn’t a bad cellphone, but it’s outshone by its rivals. If it had been released back in January at the same time as the F700v appeared, it would have stolen the march on Sprint’s Instinct and all the other touchscreen handsets. However, users are spoilt for choice at the moment, and we would likely recommend other devices before Verizon’s Glyde.
Verizon have priced the Glyde at $249.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year contract. Enjoy the Glyde walk through video, for now enjoy the unboxing video!