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Samsung Delve SCH-r800

>> Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Delve is almost a dead ringer for the Instinct. Both phones are exactly the same size (4.57 inches tall by 2.17 inches wide by 0.49 inch deep), though the Delve weighs slightly less (3.63 ounces). You'll also recognize the silver and black color scheme, the rounded corners, and the comfortable, sturdy feel in the hand. Yet, the Delve differs from the Instinct by including three physical controls below the display.

As on the Behold, there are Talk and End keys and a dedicated back button. Fortunately, the Delve's keys are a little larger than the Behold's. The Delve's 3 inch display is the same size as on the Behold and the LG Dare, but it's smaller than the Instinct's and the Apple iPhone's. It should be big enough for most users, but we felt it doesn't take full advantage of the Delve's real estate. On the upside, it is bright and vibrant with support for 262.000 colors (240x400 pixels).

You can change the brightness, the back lighting time, and the intensity of the vibrating feedback. The Delve comes with a stylus but there's no slot for storing it on the handset.

The menu system is quite similar to the Behold the home screen shows Samsung's nifty TouchWiz interface (see our Behold review for a full description of TouchWiz), while the intuitive main menu comes in an icon or list design.

On the top of the home screen display is a collapsible shortcut bar for your messaging inbox, the Web browser, the music player, and the Bluetooth menu.

On the bottom of the display is a second shortcut bar with touch controls for the phone dialer, the contacts menu, the messaging menu, and the main menu. Neither shortcut bar is customizable With separate keyboards for letters, numbers, and symbols, the Delve's virtual keyboard is just about indistinguishable from those on the Instinct and the Behold. The keyboards are responsive, but people with larger hands may find them a bit cramped. Yet, the Delve differs from the Behold in two important ways. On the upside, you can use a handwriting recognition tool in either a full or half screen mode.

It works quite well, but we still preferred to use the QWERTY keyboard. Of course, you also can use a standard alphanumeric to type your messages, but we can't imagine a good reason for doing so. On the downside, however, the Delve doesn't have an accelerometer. Among other things, that means you can't switch keyboards simply by rotating the phone bummer.

The phone dialer interface has relatively large keys with a number of shortcuts. You can access your contacts, the groups list, and your favorites menu at the touch of one control. There also are shortcuts for adding contacts and sending a message. An on screen back control will erase any mistakes when dialing.

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