In a world where gadgets strive to impress, it's comforting to see a phone that has absolutely no pretensions--a phone that doesn't fall over itself to have the flashiest features, or sport a runway-worthy design. The new Samsung Knack for Verizon Wireless is one such device. Also called the SCH-U310, the Knack (no, we don't get the name either) is one of the best basic phones we've seen. Behind an extremely well-built and intuitive design are excellent call quality and a solid, functional feature set that includes voice dialing. While this is an ideal phone for anyone looking for a basic phone for communication, large keys and simple menus also position it as a great option for seniors or cell phone newbies. You can get it for just $39.99 with a two-year contract. To find accessories for this phone, see our cell phone ringtones and accessories guide.
The Samsung Knack won't win beauty contests, but its straightforward, no-nonsense design is one of its greatest attributes. We were struck immediately by the simplicity of its style. The silver face is nicely offset by the dark gray skin while the sturdy construction gives the flip phone a comfortable, solid feel. The hinge, in particular, feels very nice; the Knack opens and closes with an audible click. The SCH-U310 is on the bulky side (3.78 by 2.01 by 0.74 inches) but its slim profile means that it can travel well. And at 3.63 ounces it won't weigh you down too much.
The Knack's one-inch external display is a bit smaller than we'd like, but it shows all the information you need, including the time, battery life, signal strength, and numeric caller ID. The display is monochrome (96x96 pixels), so it won't show photo caller ID, but that's not a problem on this caliber of phone. The text on the screen is relatively large but it's too bad the font size isn't adjustable. Also, we'd prefer being able to adjust its backlighting time.
A large, silver volume rocker sits on the left spine of the SCH-U310; we had no trouble finding it when on a call. On the right spine are the charger port, voice dialing control, and a 2.5mm headset jack, which are colored red, silver, and blue, respectively. Presumably the colors are meant to make the items more visible, but whatever the reason, we like the effect. We also like that the top half of the voice-dialing button gives convenient one-touch access to call your voice mailbox. The Knack's single speaker sits at the top of its rear face.