Samsung Intensity III (Verizon Wireless) review

The Samsung Intensity III is a keyboarded messaging phone for Verizon Wireless customers that don't want to pay for a data plan.
Photo of Samsung Intensity III (Verizon Wireless)

Smartphones are great, but let’s face it, data plans are expensive. Not everyone wants to shell out that much cash every month, and there are still some people that just don’t need it. The $49.99 Samsung Intensity III is for them. It’s an old school feature phone with a slide-out keyboard that’s sure to please texting fans, and it doesn’t require a monthly data plan. Try not to expect too much from it and you should be pleased.

Design, Call Quality, and Interface
The Intensity III meets military specification 810F except for rain, icing, and immersion. So you can’t get it wet, but the phone can handle dust, shock, vibration, extreme temperature, and humidity, which makes it a lot more durable than the average device.

The design, for better or worse, is a classic slider phone. The Intensity III measures 4.41 by 2.12 by 0.57 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.06 ounces. It’s made entirely of plastic, with a textured back panel and a rubberized band around the middle. The sliding mechanism feels stable and the phone feels comfortable in your hand.

The 2.4-inch display is slightly larger than you typically find with this form factor, and the 320-by-240-pixel resolution looks decent. Unfortunately, Samsung has chosen an ultra-reflective panel with a nearly zero-degree viewing angle. You really need to hold this phone in the exact right spot every time to see the display properly, which is annoying.

When you slide the phone open, you gain access to a four-row QWERTY keyboard. I like the dedicated row of number keys at the top, and the backlit keys are decently spaced. It makes it much easier to type out text messages than using the number pad. The only thing I don’t like is the Space bar, situated between the V and B keys. It makes for an awkward typing experience whenever you need to hit a key on the bottom row.

On the front, the number pad features large, very well-spaced keys that are easy to press. The control pad above it is similarly pleasant to use.

The Intensity III is a dual-band 1xRTT (850/1900 MHz) device with no 3G or Wi-Fi. Call quality is average. Voices come through the earpiece extremely clear, though they don’t have much of a backbone. Calls made with the phone sound a little scratchy and noise cancellation isn’t great. The earpiece gets very loud, and the speakerphone is powerful enough to hear outdoors. Calls sounded clear through a Jawbone Era Bluetooth headset and the Nuance-powered voice dialer worked fine. Battery life was good at 7 hours of talk time.

Multimedia, Apps, and Conclusions
Don’t confuse this with a smartphone, though multimedia support is a little better here than on some other feature phones. You get 99MB of free internal storage, and a side-mounted microSD card slot that worked with my 32 and 64GB SanDisk cards. For music, the Intensity III was able to play MP3, M4A, and WMA files over both wired and Bluetooth headphones. It was also able to play H.264 and MPEG 4 video files, but only at resolutions up to 320 by 240.

Web browsing is powered by an Opera Mini 6 browser, which is pretty elegant, as far as feature phone browsers go. But the 2G data speeds are slow, the screen is small, and really, the whole point of getting this phone is so you don’t have to pay for data in the first place.

You get a few basic apps, like an alarm, calculator, notepad, and stopwatch. You also get Verizon’s VZ Navigator 6 for voice-enabled, turn-by-turn directions, but it costs $0.99 for a day or $9.99 for a month. There’s also email support for AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, Microsoft Exchange, Verizon.net, Windows Live, and Yahoo accounts.

The 2.0-megapixel camera has no flash or auto-focus. Performance is okay for what it is, which is an extra feature attached to an inexpensive feature phone. Colors look a little washed out and there is absolutely no fine detail, but photos look decent enough if you don’t enlarge them. You can also record video, which maxes out at a resolution of 320 by 240 and 15 frames per second. Again, you’re getting what you pay for here.

The Samsung Intensity III isn’t a very exciting phone, but it’s a decent place for Verizon users that aren’t in need of a smartphone to turn. It’s Verizon’s most capable messaging device, and far superior to the LG Cosmos 3, which, even though it’s free, just isn’t worth the trouble. If you don’t require a keyboard, another good option is the LG Revere 2. It’s a free, easy-to-use flip with good call quality. 

Specifications
Service Provider Verizon Wireless
Phone Capability / Network CDMA
Total Integrated Storage 0.107422 GB
Screen Resolution 320 x 240 pixels
NFC No
Dimensions 4.41 x 2.12 x 0.57 inches
Weight 4.06 oz
Screen Type TFT LCD
Form Factor Slider
Physical Keyboard Yes
Camera Resolution 2 MP
Bands 800, 1900
Screen Pixels Per Inch 167 ppi
802.11x/Band(s) No
Available Integrated Storage 0.0966797 GB
microSD Slot Yes
High-Speed Data CDMA 1X
GPS Yes
Screen Size 2.4 inches
Battery Life (As Tested) 7 hours 0 minutes
Bluetooth Version 2.1 + EDR

Verdict
The Samsung Intensity III is a keyboarded messaging phone for Verizon Wireless customers that don't want to pay for a data plan.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc