"Unfortunately, not much of a step up from the Alias"2.0 starson by CheapJustice
Pros: *e-ink buttons work very well
*groups text msgs by conversation
*bigger screen both front and main
*nice feel and look
Cons: *buttons not programmable
*less useful qwerty
*no camera flash
*interface not updated much
*2.5mm headphone jack
Summary: I've had the Samsung Alias (SCH-U740) for a while and really liked it, so when the Alias 2 (I'll call it A2) came out, I got one immediately. It's a nice phone, and for new users might be very good, but for someone who had the old Alias (I'll call it A1), it was sort of a disappointment.
First of all, it's bigger and thicker than the A1, perhaps to accommodate the bigger screens, better camera, and e-ink technology, but it was disappointing as I was used to the very slim A1.
Let's get to the e-ink. It works great. You can see it change when you flip it open in both directions. Rarely does the keypad change slow enough that you're waiting for it (the largest delay is when opening to get a new text). The e-ink seems to remember the last orientation it was in, so if you open it vertically once, the next time the buttons will already be in vertical arrangement. It's readable, the backlight is good, and the buttons are bigger than the A1.
However, the e-ink keypad leaves much to be desired. There are often blank keys that you long to be able to program with shortcuts, or move the location of things around. The latter would be especially useful since the layout is slightly-to-very different from the keypad of the A1; different enough that A1 users will have to relearn the placement of many buttons. User programmable buttons are the biggest oversight in this iteration of the phone. Very, very sad indeed. Very sad. I can't stress this enough.
Also, the keypad is now black and white, so you'll miss the red and green visual cues of important buttons from the A1. And the buttons are mostly all one size, so the tactile cue of the A1 is missing as well (as in the A1, the Send button was larger than the others).
The QWERTY is also not as useful as the A1. As the QWERTY takes up every button, some very, very important and often used buttons are left off the QWERTY and relegated to a second layout (switched with a click of a button) including the apostrophe, question mark, exclamation point, dash, *, quote marks (which there is only 1 side of oddly, there is only a closed quote mark, no open quote one), and the parentheses are in yet another layout. In the A1, you would simply hold down a button for these characters as each button pulled double or triple duty. Here, just to type "let's", you'd have to press a button to get to the apostrophe, press apostrophe, press the layout button twice to get back to QWERTY. you'll get quick at it, but it seems really unnecessary. This is a pretty large design flaw. Finally, as a last gripe about it, the OK button is in the middle/top of the keypad and is annoying to reach for with your thumb.
So besides the sadness that is the unrealized potential of the e-ink keypad, there are other disappointment. The camera is better, but they got rid of the flash that the A1 had. They changed the A1's bad input for a headphone (you needed an adapter for your headphones to plug in) to a 2.5mm jack...so you still need an adapter if you want to use typical 3.5mm headphones, AND can't use your old adapter. The music player's interface is still horrible, there is an echo when you talk that the A1 didn't have (though I like it so far as it makes it clearer to hear if you're speaking too loudly), you can't get to the video camera option by hitting the camera button twice (as you could in the A1), the calendar is still horrible to use (why can't i copy events?), I downloaded Street Fighter and the control pad doesn't really work with it in portrait mode...
That's a lot of gripes, but that's because I liked the A1 so much and got used to it. For a new owner of the A2, he/she won't have had the history and will probably like this very cool and functional phone much more than a veteran like me. The camera is nice, the dual screens are big and clear, the e-ink keypad is undeniably cool, the music player is a nice (last resort) touch if you need music, the speakers are clear, the battery life is good, the call quality is top-notch, and the phone is overall very customizable.
But alas, as much as I wanted, I couldn't give the Alias 2 much more than 2 stars. It could have been something great with programmable keys, but really missed out here.