The Samsung Alias 2 is actually the third revision of a messaging phone that was introduced to the general public in 2009. With a dual hinged design features an e-ink keyboard, which is the phone’s trademark feature, but there are also some useful additional items, like a 2 MP camera, that have also been included within the design. The end result is a phone that has aged well, still being function and with a reasonably good performance.
If you’re willing to put in the time to learn how to use this phone, then the Samsung Alias 2 still has the goods to deliver a good experience today. The extra data features of the phone can be a little cumbersome at times, but overall you will have a great communication experience with this mobile device.
The Design of the Samsung Alias 2 Is Rather Unremarkable
There aren’t any stunning features to the Samsung Alias 2 when you see it for the first time. It has sharp angles and straight lines, giving it almost a box-like appearance at first glance. It’s also noticeably thicker than the average phone at 17 millimeters, or about 10 millimeters thicker than the brand new smartphones that are hitting the market today. In total, the measurements of the Alias 2 are 4.01×2.04×0.67 inches, so it is a solid unit.
The box-like shape has been made for a specific reason: it’s needed in order to get all of the technology into the phone that has been included with its design. Even though it is thicker than the average phone, the weight is just 4.34 ounces, so it is just as light as most other phones. The added size gives the Samsung Alias 2 a little extra heft and that solid feeling lends to a perception of sturdiness that not many phones can provide any more.
What Are the First Impressions of the Samsung Alias 2?
Coming in a dark gray color with no other options, the next step is to take a good look at the exterior offerings of this phone. The Samsung Alias 2 offers an external display that is 1.3 inches in size and it supports 65k colors. That’s effectively 128×128 in pixels. You’ll receive all of the necessary data that the average person uses their phone for today: time, date, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID. You can assign photographs to numbers so their image shows up when they call.
The viewscreen also acts as the viewfinder for the 2 MP camera that has been included. It’s located just above the screen for convenience. The stock display is nice enough when you open the phone out-of-the-box, but customizing the contrast, clock style, and wallpaper will give the Samsung Alias 2 more of a personal feel. The one area of improvement here is that you can’t change the backlighting time of the phone, which is 60 seconds at best.
Directly below the display are the controls for the music player. It’s nice that dedicated controls have been included to play tunes and you can activate the phone to play music without actually having to open up the phone. You can also cycle through the songs with these useful controls and the same keys allow you to take selfies with the phone closed up as well.
Connecting With the Samsung Alias 2 Is a Little Difficult
Samsung has included some proprietary technology in the connection design of the Alias 2 that may turn some potential users away from this phone. Instead of using a standard mUSB connection, there is a Samsung exclusive charger port that you will need specific equipment on hand to use. Having the volume controls on the exterior is nice to control ring tone loudness or to turn up the music on a great song and voice dialing can be controlled by a button that is found on the left spine of the phone. Your standard headphones aren’t going to work, however, because it’s a 2.5 mm jack instead of a standard 3.5 mm jack.
You’ll also find places for a mSD expansion card, a locking key for the handset, and power controls on the exterior of the Samsung Alias 2.
It’s Time To Open Up the Samsung Alias 2
Once you pop open this phone, you’re given the impression that the Samsung Alias 2 is a lot like a portable workstation. The perception isn’t far off, since the 2.6 inch display has a fairly decent resolution to it. At 240p, it isn’t going to blow you away with HD graphics, of course, but it does support 262k colors for some added brightness. You’ll get crisp photos and graphics and that’s definitely what counts.
If you’re used to the standard Verizon menu system, then you’ll have an idea of how to navigate through the Alias 2. The one nice feature to note is that all of your pictures have a dedicated file that is easy to access from the menu system. You can change the theme of the display if you want, but all of the options are pretty basic. Using the icons is probably going to be your best bet. Unlike the exterior screen, you can change the backlighting time for the interior display. You can also change the font style and size to meet your needs.
It’s the Keyboard on the Samsung Alias 2 That Has Everyone Talking
As a sliding phone, one would expect that the Samsung Alias 2 would have a QWERTY keyboard waiting for you once you life the screen into position, but that just isn’t the case. Depending on how you open the phone, you may get one of four different arrangements thanks to the e-ink technology that has been incorporated onto the rectangular and square tiles. You have three arrangements that you can setup when the phone is in a horizontal position and there is one standard vertical set of keys that appear on the keyboard.
Instead of switching the different backlighting on the keys, something that you can find in earlier versions of ModeShift phones that hit the market about the same time as the Alias 2, the actual character on the key changes. Your number keys can suddenly be assigned a letter value or vice-versa. If a key isn’t being used in the design format, then it just goes white and doesn’t have any function at all. This eliminates the confusion that the previous generations of this phone had to offer.
Once you get the hang of the keyboard and get it customized to meet your needs, you’ll find that it is rather useful. The design is nice and clean, eliminates the crowding of the buttons like you’d see on a Blackberry, and you still get the tactile response that touchscreen typing isn’t really able to provide users as of yet.
When the keyboard is in its vertical mode, there are also a number of useful shortcuts that can help users have a fully functional phone. You’ve got keys that will take you straight into Bluetooth syncing, the messaging system, and your speakerphone. The Samsung Alias 2 also lets you access your games straight away, its voice dialing features, the camera, and even the alarm clock. As an added bonus, these shortcut keys tend to stay lit when you’re navigating through the various menus of the phone so that you almost always have one-touch access to the app or folder that you need to access.
The one thing about the keyboard that could be improved is the placement of the call acceptance and ending buttons. They’re stuck between the navigation buttons and the keypad, so they’re above where you’d normally dial instead of below. This is tough to get used to at first, but eventually the new habit will set in. They’re also the same color as the keyboard buttons, so there’s no red or green to help you stop or accept a call.
The Navigation Controls Are Central and Easy To Use
If the navigation controls were white like all of the other keys on the keyboard of the Samsung Alias 2, then this phone would be incredibly difficult to use for awhile. Thankfully a dark gray color differentiation has been included so that you can quickly move about the menus and folders of the phone thanks to the central cross design.
Another aspect that takes a little getting used to is the fact that the corresponding keyboard commands don’t quite sync up to the screen commands. Think about using a portable keyboard that is sitting well below a computer screen and trying to hit a shortcut command that your screen tells you is in the bottom left corner. That’s what using the Alias 2 is like. It’s not bad – it’s just different. Having the “clear” command key in the middle of the keypad is also a little hard to get used to and creates some accidental deletions that an cause a little frustration.
The feeling of the keyboard itself is quite nice. It’s like pressing down onto a slightly gel-like substance, so there is some substance to every touch. The buttons have a smooth surface that might get a bit slick on a humid day and the buttons are a little small for users that have larger fingers, but nothing worse than you’d find on a modern smartphone in the vertical position. The one problem that most users will encounter is pressing the wrong navigation button because their finger press was not quite precise.
The Features Make the Samsung Alias 2 Really Stand Out
If you’ve got a lot of friends or business contacts, then this phone is going to help you stay organized like never before. There is room for 1,000 contacts on the Samsung Alias 2 and each entry allows you to assign up to 5 different phone numbers. You can also put in street addresses, email addresses, and specific notes that you want to assign to each profile.
The one really nice feature about the contact section is that you can assigned a specific, dedicated emergency number. You can also assigned contacts into groups if you wish.
For people who want a real smartphone, the Samsung Alias 2 is not going to be able to deliver. It does offer USB storage, a file manager, and voice recognition, but there isn’t any Wi-Fi card included with this phone. You also have a tip calculator and a currency converter so that you can always know how much to pay. The clock also doubles as a stopwatch should you need it.
Because this is a messaging phone, the primary features involve your options here. You have access to more than SMS and MMS texts with the Alias 2. You can instant message, email, and chat with friends over your POP3 network. Linking your accounts isn’t a simple task, but setting up the push emails from work is pretty easy and will give you the results you want after a sync that takes a few months.
Is the Samsung Alias 2 the Right Phone For You?
With access to the 3G network and all of its services, including video and music streaming, the Samsung Alias 2 is about as close as you can get to owning a smartphone without actually owning one. Shuffle your playlists, repeat your favorite songs, and manage your content with ease thanks to the useful folders and menu system.
Use the video to record, sign up for GPS service if you want, and enjoy the improved communication that this phone has to offer. Once you get used to how the phone works, as you need to close the phone to open it up again vertically or horizontally, it becomes a fun little gadget that will still keep you connected to family, friends, and your email networks. For a phone that dates back to 2009, there is still a lot of good stuff that can be found on the Samsung Alias 2 and that’s a testament to the innovation of its design.