PROS / The slide-out keyboard offers a physical typing experience and gives more screen real estate to the phone.
CONS / Very few of the pre-installed apps are actually useful.
VERDICT / If you're a fan of having a physical keyboard, the Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G's slide-out QWERTY keyboard is a welcome design choice.
Smartphones with large touchscreens are sleek, but nothing beats the tactile feeling of having an actual keyboard. Fortunately, the Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G combines the best of both worlds. Using a slide-out keyboard, this smartphone gives you a full five-row QWERTY keyboard, but don't let that fool you into thinking this is an old-style phone. The Relay uses the incredibly smooth and useable Android 4.0 system to surf the web and download great apps.
The Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G is far bulkier than most other smartphones. This is to make room for its QWERTY keyboard, which slides from the left side of the case. At first, the keys feel stiff and need some getting used to. Eventually, these tiny bumps become familiar and easy to use. The phones screen is a 4-inch AMOLED touchscreen display. Unfortunately, it is not an HD screen, but it is still bright and pretty. The viewing angles are not very wide, so you'll have to look straight at the screen to get the best quality.
The Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G offers a decent 5MP rear-facing camera. The images are good for sharing between mobile devices, but when you view them on an HD screen, the images are blurry and grainy. The phone is loaded with basic music and media players, but you can always download your favorite online radio through the Google Play market.
This smartphone excels at being a phone. Minus a poor conference microphone, you'll be able to have clear calls. While the speaker sounds fine in the conference mode, the microphone gives you a muffled sound to the listener. The phone stays connected to cell service and data consistently, and you won't have to worry about dropped calls.
The Samsung Galaxy Relay 4G has a strong battery, lasting a full day of moderate use without needing a charge. You'll still have to charge the phone every night, but with average use, you won't have to bring your charger with you everywhere. The phone only offers 8GB of installed storage, 3GB of which are consumed by pre-installed apps. You can increase storage space with an external memory card.
It is unfortunate that 3GB of internal storage is occupied already because most of these apps are not useful. They are carrier-specific apps that usually require an extra membership to use. The phone uses a dual-core, 1.5MHz processor, so as you download new apps, you'll never have to worry about your phone getting choppy or slow. The Relay runs on Android 4.0, an extremely user-friendly operating system. Once you've customized the phone to your preferences, it will be a great piece of technology. It just takes a little time to get it broken in.
Not many smartphones offer a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, using a tiny on-screen keyboard instead. The Samsung Galaxy Relay 4G stands out with its high-quality keyboard and great processing power. The internal storage space is handicapped by pre-installed apps, and the phone feels much bulkier than anything else on the market. However, if you are a fan of pressing actual buttons but still want to surf the web on a fluid device, the Relay is the slide smartphone for you.