Samsung's summer of sequels continues with the Samsung Flight II, a successor to the Samsung Flight messaging phone from last year. Like the original, the Flight II has a touch screen and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard; however, this time the keyboard slides out horizontally instead of vertically. Aside from that, the phone's features remain mostly the same as its predecessor--a 2.0-megapixel camera, GPS, a media player, and 3G support--though it has a few extras like an HTML Web browser and social media apps. The Samsung Flight II is available for $49 with a new two-year service agreement with AT&T.
While the Samsung Flight looked unique with its rather wide footprint and vertical QWERTY keyboard, the Flight II is decidedly not unique. Measuring 4.4 inches long by 2.1 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick, the Flight II looks similar to other slender sliders we've seen from Samsung--the Seek and the Messager Touch spring to mind. We can't help but feel the design is rather boring as a result, but we admit it does have a nice feel in the hand because of its curved corners and oval shape.
The Flight II has a 2.8-inch touch screen, which makes it a hair bigger than the one on the Flight. Its display looks vibrant and colorful with crisp graphics and text; in fact, it looks much brighter and sharper than the display on the Eternity II. You can adjust the font type, the brightness, the backlight time, and the greeting message on the home screen. You can also customize the menu layout as well as add and remove apps from the list.
Like a lot of Samsung's touch-screen feature phones, you can customize the Flight II with up to three home screens. Samsung dedicates one home screen to Favorite contacts, while you can customize the other two with shortcuts and widgets from the TouchWiz tray on the left. A few of the more interesting widgets are the ones for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Yahoo Search.
At the bottom row of the home screen are shortcuts to the phone dialer, the contacts list, and the main menu. The menu is separated into different pages, which you have to navigate by swiping across the screen. On the main menu, the bottom row shortcuts change to the phone dialer, the contacts list, and a new text message.
The touch screen was responsive, and we're glad to see that it has a capacitive display instead of the more common resistive option. You can add vibration feedback if you want, and you can adjust its intensity. While we liked the touch screen's responsiveness, and the overall performance of the phone marred it significantly. There was often a delay when swiping home screens, and when opening and closing the TouchWiz tray. Launching apps took a few more seconds than it should as well.
The phone dialer has a nice size keypad with large digits and it includes quick access to the contacts list. For messaging, you can tap out text with the alphanumeric virtual keypad; however, we prefer to use the physical keyboard for faster typing. Just slide out the phone to the right and you'll find a four-row QWERTY keyboard. It feels pretty spacious, more so than the keyboard on the original Flight. The keys also have a nice raised feel, and the tactile response of the buttons contribute to a pleasant typing experience. The number keys are highlighted in red, and there's a messaging shortcut key plus a .com key on the keyboard. We would've liked a slightly bigger spacebar, but that's a minor complaint.
Like the LG dLite, the Samsung Flight II has a motion detection sensor. When enabled, you can silence any incoming call ring by turning over the phone. This will automatically send the call to voice mail as well, which is handy for when you're in a meeting.
Underneath the display are three physical keys for the Send, Back, and End/Power functions. On the left are a volume rocker and a multitasking key that brings up a grid of open applications that you can switch between. On the top is a 3.5mm headset jack, while the Micro-USB charging port, screen lock key, and camera key are on the right. On the back is the camera lens, but it doesn't have a flash. You have to open the battery cover to access the microSD card slot.
The Flight II has a generous 2,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, a Web URL, a nickname, a company and job title, a birthday, and notes. You can also add the contacts to caller groups and associate them with photos, vibration patterns, and one of 15 polyphonic ring tones. You can also use your own MP3s as ringtones if you like. The Flight II comes with AT&T's Address Book service that lets you store your contacts in the cloud as a backup.