The first phase of any phone shopper’s quest is to decide what they need a phone to do, what they really want their phone to do, and what features would simply be nice little extras.
The Rant is full of cool little features that I wouldn’t expect from one of those cheap-with-a-contract phones. For example; when you’ve dialed a number, but not yet hit send, the name of the state you’re calling pops up on the screen. Kind of random, unexpected, and useful. I’ve wondered where I was calling before. Heck, I probably Google area codes one or two times a month on my computer, so that’s a nifty trick.
Samsung Rant back view
Once the call goes through, there can be some trouble if there’s noise on the Rant end of the line. The mic isn’t as sensitive as higher-end phones, and you really need to speak up to overcome the sounds around you. It isn’t bad in quiet or moderately noisy places, but standing on the corner of a busy intersection, I found myself yelling. Otherwise, the phone blocked out everything; the person on the other end heard silence.
Other than that issue, the voice quality is pretty good. Where the rant really shines is in text communications. The keyboard is excellent. The keys are firm but rubbery, so my thumbs aren’t sore or raw, even though I must have just typed 1500 words over the last few days. That’s a lot on a phone, and really… I’m not fatigued at all. The keyboard looks good as well, and is very easy to see in light and dark environs. I wish I could say the same for my G1.
When you slide out the keyboard, the screen goes landscape, and asks you what kind of message you want to create: Text Message, Picture mail, VoiceSMS, Email, or IM. It couldn’t be more quick and simple. This thing is what message fanatics dream about. Those two soft keys on the left side of the phone’s face have corresponding options displayed on the screen. Their functions change, depending on what you are doing, and come in very handy.
In terms of all of the text communication functions, I have zero complaints. Zero. Rant plays its part very well. Audio cues are used tastefully throughout. I love the tapping sound it makes during typing. It’s kind of thick, but honestly, what do you want from a phone? There’s a lot packed into this little bar.
Rant is lacking a bit in the multimedia department. It gets Sprint TV and Music Store access, but there aren’t any dedicated music control buttons. This is a tad disappointing, and I think the same customer who wants to be in constant communication with friends (this is not a business device) is likely to want quick control over their music.
Music plays in the background, but you actually have to navigate back to the music store app to pause songs or skip tracks. If you are at the home screen with nothing open, it takes six button-presses to get to the panel where music can be controlled. This negates the purpose of playing music in the background. If a user is in the middle of an IM and wants to pause a song, it takes like, ten clicks.
The soft keys on the edge of the face are useless when the keyboard is tucked away, and there are plenty of other useless keys available when the keyboard is out. It would have been possible to assign music controls to some of them. I’ve searched the manual and Internet, and have come up empty-handed. If I’m missing something here, please contact the site so we can update this review.
The speaker is on the back and I wish they could have found a place for it on the front. Still, it sounds pretty darn loud when you hold the phone, cupping your fingers behind it. Doing this boosted volume considerably, and caused Will Farrell’s SNL bit on his home-made wine crack me up last night.
I’ve read complaints about Sprint TV looking blocky, but I’ve had decent a experience. Not perfect, but decent. The phone is $50 after rebate and contract. C’mon! Problems on other devices are a different story.
It’s not a web phone, and shouldn’t be judged as such. Internet is basic and won’t be used extensively. Navigating the phone’s software is intuitive, and it’s easy to customize. The new standard Sprint carousel is used, and you can set up One-Click and desktop bubbles to get some web content fast and without hassle. The designers did a great job of integrating some basic web content into a messaging phone.
Overall, it’s one of the best messaging devices I’ve ever used. The phone could be just a bit more media friendly. Dedicated music buttons and a standard headphone jack would make this more of a dual-purpose phone. As it is, it’s a very well-designed messaging hand-held. Besides, Samsung and Sprint needed to leave some space in their line-up for the Highnote!
Rant doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. It has a lot of features common to phones in its price range; no mind-blowing specs or jaw-dropping photos here. Rant’s strength lies in meticulous attention to one particular area of functionality; it specializes in quick communications. You won’t be watching hi-def vids, but when it comes to text-ability, this thing is bursting at the seams.
It’s a godsend for mobile text/IM/email addicts; slide-out QWERTY is comfortable and requires about 60 seconds of adaptation; it’s Sprint TV and Sprint Music Store capable; music plays in background; stereo Bluetooth; camera with video capture and night shot; photo caller ID; GPS; comes with extra back cover, complete with curly doodles; loads of fun. What’s Not Good: Web browsing is low-priority; no dedicated music controls; background noise on Rant end can be problematic; more SD storage out of the box would be nice.
Bottom Line: If you like to keep touch on the go, the Rant has got you covered. It’s a messaging monster that’s easy to use. It supports Sprint TV and the Sprint Music Store, and does surprisingly well in the multimedia department, for a messaging phone. A camera with video and some basic effects make it the perfect accessory for shooting off updates or flirting with friends
* Make/Model: Samsung Rant
* Network: CDMA 800/1900 MHz
* Data: 1xRTT/EV-DO (3G)
* Carrier: Sprint
* Size: 4.5″ x 2.1″ x 0.7″ (114.3 x 53.3 x 17.8mm)
* Weight: 4.58 oz (130.4g)
* Form Factor: Candybar with full slide-out QWERTY
* Display: 2.1” TFT with 172 x 220 pixels and 262k colors
* Memory: Comes with 256MB microSD, expandable to 16GB
* Notable Features: killer QWERTY(!); 2 MP cam with mirror and video capture; Sprint TV, Music Store, and One-Click services; and it’s only 50 bucks with a contract and rebate.