Can I bill Verizon for the hours wasted trying to make this phone work?
When the bright young hipsters who make a living reviewing cell phones remark that the keys and screen are too small and there's a bunch of useless programming in a phone, it's gonna be hopeless for a middle-aged man with the first indications of arthritis and cataracts.
I'm not a neo-luddite. I work with computerized machinery with dozens of specialized keys and complex, humor-impaired command structures, so operating electronics is not an issue. What is an issue are important keys such as "call" and "hang up" that are so tiny as to be impossible to find in less than broad daylight, and a big center key that apparently (despite the "Press any key to answer" setting) cannot be programmed to answer the damn phone.
Further issues: useless junk that cannot be turned off, such as auto-response texts that immediately send your incoming calls to voice-mail when you push the big center button -- even after setting the "Press any key to answer" setting; Verizon's auto-updating service on your computer that locks out data transfer until you delete it; nonsense like the "fake call"; several dozen photo-editing options for a screen too small to see their effects; a very fussy Bluetooth installation that makes linking to a computer difficult (and you apparently can't transfer music via Bluetooth, only via the USB cable that doesn't work if... see above); Bluetooth music to your stereo headphones does not operate if you've fiddled with the equalization settings, and occasionally drops for no apparent reason.
The cute little slide-out keyboard is too cute by half. My big thumbs can't operate it. "Fn" key works like a standard shift key for extended characters, but most of the shift-key functions have been re-arranged relative to a standard Querty keyboard, and they're invisible in low light. Also, there's only one Fn key, and it's crowded by other keys you might want to use, which can make texting a challenge.
There are some odd programming choices. You apparently can't scroll through recent calls and call a number back with the touch of a button. Of missed calls -- same story. Oh, wait -- you can use the invisible "call" key -- if you can find it. (Hint: It's not labeled "call." It's not labelled with any recognizable icon. Ditto the "end-call" key.) If you don't respond to a missed call or text immediately, good luck finding it again. It's in there somewhere, but it takes far too many buttons to find it. There is a bit of user-programmable functionality, but not enough to make the phone workable for me, and these are not stable. Turn off the phone, turn it back on, and your settings may or may not be there. Overall-basic functions are obscured by a cutesy gadgetry.
The camera is acceptable for this price range, and you can plug in headphones or run via Bluetooth (with some caveats). Music only recognizes .mp3 and .windows media. If you download lots of mp4 tunes, you can run them under "video" but with reduced options of shuffle and auto-play. This is true in other Samsungs also -- an odd choice when many folks download music in video formats.
My long-suffering wife spent four hours in the Verizon store getting our service and numbers transferred, via some flaming hoops, from another provider. She brought me home this Intensity III, and we were back within the hour to while away another 60+ minutes figuring out why the Bluetooth music didn't work (see above). I was back for another happy two hours by the end of the week figuring our why none of my settings would stick. (Bad phone -- instant replacement.) Did I mention the several hours figuring out that the auto-update program on my laptop was screwing with the USB transfer function? I was back after two weeks when it became difficult to make a simple phone call and none of the options worked. No explanation -- it worked fine in the Verizon store. Two more hours sitting, and the manager relented and upgraded me to a used Convoy 2 (waiving the restock fee) -- a simpler phone that costs more money, but it actually has features that I want and not a lot of junk I don't. If there's a logic here, I fail to see it -- except perhaps to sell cheaper devices at a higher price to old farts who think a phone should make and take calls as a first priority.
So: my impression of Intensity III -- perhaps a cool phone for teens who's mom won't spring for an smartphone. Lots of gadgetry, and if you're addicted to texting and have nimble fingers, you may well get some miles out of it. If you just want a phone to actually make and take calls and send the occasional text, play some tunes, and take a few pics, look further.
My impression of Verizon -- pretty rough start. Too much waiting for basic services in showrooms with too few places to sit. I've been there enough to see that the in-store gadgetry is often misfunctioning, or not functioning at all. Our first billing was a disaster -- we were were charged for a month for interim phone numbers that were only active for a few hours. Another 90+ happy minutes in the showroom sorting out that mess. Staff is cheerful and attractive and knowledgeable, and I feel sorry for them constantly apologizing for the junk they're peddling.
I'm on a two-year contract -- otherwise I would have probably ditched by now. And may still if my old provider offers to buy it out....
We'll see if this actually gets (and stays) posted....
Did you not test the keyboard out in the store and realize the keys were too small?. A lot of stuff you mentioned could be found in the online help manual so you would have known it didn't do MP4 and stuff. That is one thing I do now before getting a new phone is check the manual online for the phone and read what it does and does not do, that's the great thing about the internet these days. Sounds like the features of a smart phone would suit you better. Mary
I did not test it in the store -- it was purchased by my loverly wife on my behalf. The manual (online or otherwise) does not include gems such as changing music settings knocks Bluetooth off-line, at least so far as I have found. The manual pdf is underwhelming -- short on information, long on assumptions that you already know how to do things, poorly indexed.
Why can't I set the big center button to answer calls? There's no excuse for this oversight.
It's simply nonsensical for the music player not to play mp4s as sound is most likely runs through the same program no matter the source. My 3-yr old Pantech could do it, so this is not a bleeding-edge tech issue.
Then there's the issue of one phone dead within a week, and a second one fading after two weeks, the questionable priorities in the general setup, the gadgetry that interferes with basic functions, the computer software that interferes with file transfers, the over-all sense that the software is just not ready for prime time...
As noted, I changed phones after 3 weeks of frustration, so most of these issues are moot for me. I'm just posting a cautionary tale for those who might want a basic phones and think this one is a bargain.
But I appreciate your response. Be well.
Oh you really need to try a phone in person yourself to find out the keys are too small, or at least I do and so does my hubby. I don't think my ENV3 plays MP4. Never tried it as everything I have is in MP3 format so not a problem. Mary