Nokia Surge:Best Entry-Level Smartphone

NOKIA'S SURGE ($80 with a two-year AT&T service contract) is a great starter smartphone. It has a few design quirks and doesn't feel very sturdy, but you get a nice feature set for a good price.At 3.8 by 2.2 by 0.6 inches,the Surge is highly pocketable; and it weighs a feathery 4.3 ounces. But the handset's plastic body is a dull black, with no color options.

Call quality over AT&T's 3G network sounded great,too. Since the Surge has no separate numeric keypad,however, you must have the slide-out keyboard open every time you dial a number.The Surge's hardware buttons are laid out horizontally, for use with the slide-out QWERTY keyboard. To the right of the display are talk and end/power buttons, with a comfortable directional pad between them. Shortcut keys for browser, home, and e-mail occupy the lower right of the display, but they offer little tactile feedback.

The uncramped keyboard slides out easily, feels solid.and has a generous-size spacebar; but its keys are stiff and difficult CO press. The Surge's Symbian S60 platform supports productivity apps, a handy social networking app called JuiceCaster, and Flash Lite for viewing Web pages that have considerable Flash content.The Nokia Surge offers a lot for the price, but its young target audience may dislike its awkward design and lackluster interface.


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