The Verizon Wireless Blitz kicked off the trend of square messaging phones, and it was quickly followed by the LG Lotus from Sprint. Now it appears U.S. Cellular will have one of its own as well, in the form of the Samsung Gloss. The Gloss is one of the smallest messaging phones we've ever seen, which makes it ideal for carrying around in your pocket or purse. The Gloss doesn't have much in the way of features, but for $29.95 after a mail-in rebate and a two-year service agreement, the Gloss is perfect for anyone who wants a super compact phone made for texting.
The Samsung Gloss is not as glamorous as its name implies. It's not very shiny or sleek, and it's more cute than stunning. Measuring 2.55 inches wide by 2.94 inches long by 0.82 inch thick, the Gloss is adorably square and looks a lot like a woman's compact. The only thing that's even remotely glossy is its plastic exterior. The Gloss has rounded corners all around, and its gentle curves cradle nicely in the hand. It has a sturdy hinge as well.
On the front of the Gloss is a camera lens, and below that is a 1.1-inch color external display. It shows the basic date, time, signal strength, and battery life information as well as status icons for Bluetooth, connection speed, and new message indicators. When the music player is activated, you can view the list of songs as well as the track information of the currently playing song. In camera mode, you can use it as a self-portrait viewfinder. You can adjust the wallpaper, the clock format, and the contrast of the front display.
Flip open the phone and you'll find a bright and colorful 2.2-inch display with support for 262,000 colors. You can adjust the menu style, the clock format, the dialing font size, and the backlight time. Underneath the display are the navigation keys, which consist of two soft keys, a square four-way toggle and middle Menu/OK key, a speakerphone key, a Back key, and the Send and End/Power keys. The Send key also acts as the voice command key when held down. The up, left, and down buttons on the toggle double as three user-defined shortcuts, while the right one leads to U.S. Cellular's EasyEdge online portal.
Right under the navigation array is the full QWERTY keyboard. It has the typical Function, Shift, and Symbol keys, a big space bar key in the middle, plus a dedicated calendar key, and a dedicated text messaging key. The keyboard is quite spacious, and though the keys are small, they're raised above the surface, which makes thumb typing easy.
The microSD card slot and volume rocker are on the left spine, while the charger jack, headset jack, and camera button are on the right. An external speaker is on the back.