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Samsung Renown

>> Thursday, March 5, 2009

In many ways the Renown looks a lot like the Verizon's Samsung Gleam. They have similar shapes, are about the same size (3.87 inches by 1.95 inches by 0.69 inch), and both have a glossy skin that catches the light. We haven't seen anything quite like the chocolate brown hue before and we suspect it will be a matter of personal taste. We like it, but we realize other people may not.

It's also worth noting that the phone tends to attract fingerprints and smudges. The Renown is a tad heavier than the Gleam at 4.04 ounces. It has a solid feel, even if much of its skin is plastic. The external display is a little small for the phone's size, but it supports 262.000 colors (96x96 pixels). It shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID. It also works as a viewfinder for the camera lens that sits above the screen.

Three touch controls for the music player sit just below the display they allow you to access the media player and control your tunes without opening the phone. On the left spine of the phone, there is a charger port and a volume rocker. The former uses a proprietary connection. On the right spine, there is a 2.5mm headset jack, a camera shutter, and a key that locks the touch controls.

The Renown's single speaker sits on its back. You must remove the battery cover to access the memory card slot. The internal display is a size able 2.25 inches. It supports 262.000 colors, which makes it bright, vibrant, and pleasing to the eye. The menus are easy to use and we're glad they represent Verizon's tweaked design. You can change the brightness, the menu font size, the back lighting time, the clock style, and the dialing font and size.

The Renown's navigation array is spacious and intuitive. There's a four way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, a voice command shortcut, a speaker phone control, a clear button, and the Talk and End and power keys. Though all buttons are flush, tactile ridges between the individual controls give them some definition.

You can set the toggle as a shortcut to four user defined functions. The keypad buttons have a similar design. Though they're also flat, they are spacious and separated from each other. We could dial and text quickly and comfortably. We could dial by feel and the back lighting helps in dim situations.

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