Today Samsung surprised everyone by launching a new series of feature phones that have been indigenously designed in India. Samsung calls this series REX and these phones have been designed solely to take on Nokia’s Asha series of smart feature phones. The Rex 90 is the most expensive of the lot at Rs 6,240 and we went hands on with it. Read on to find out our first impression.
Right off the bat, the build quality of the REX 90 seems reminiscent of Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones. For a device of this price it appears to be very immersive and in my opinion blows the Nokia Asha phones out of the water in terms of look and feel. The plastic, for a change, does not feel cheap, especially at this price point.
Even from the design stand point it is shares the rounded curves of the Galaxy Android smartphones, but the Rex 90 is much more easy to use single handedly considering it has a capacitive 3.5-inch display with a HVGA resolution. Apart from this it’s a dual-SIM phone with hot swap and it combines this with Wi-Fi and a 3.2-megapixel camera
On the software front, the user interface is very similar to the one Samsung uses on its Android smartphones. After all, it is TouchWiz, but its underpinnings are Java. In terms of usability, features like pinch to zoom are on tap, but the experience is no where as close to the ones we have seen on Android. But then again its competition is Nokia’s Asha platform and here is where it fares very favorably.
That said, Nokia has already built a solid ecosystem of apps around its Asha phones, and Samsung to begin with cannot match that. For instance there is no maps app. Samsung says that its working on one, but till its out, that’s a critical weakness. Nokia also has its own music store as well as critical apps like Whatsapp, among others, which will be tough for Samsung to get on REX considering it is not as flexible as the S40 that Nokia uses for its Asha range.
Additionally, Samsung bundles the device with a few native apps just like Nokia, but Nokia manages to give the user access to 40 free apps from EA, Samsung can only retaliate with 10 free games from Gameloft. On the bright side, Samsung bundles the Opera browser, which also compresses data just like the Nokia Xpress browser but then we have had it for years on feature phones.
Overall, the REX 90 looks like a promising feature phone. Software wise it appears to be behind Nokia’s Asha series, but in terms of hardware it is very good for the price.
Photo Credits: Rohit Sharma