Not everybody needs a large, high-end mobile phone these days. There are those who simply want something that works well as a mobile phone, is small enough to not be a bother during operation, and has a price that befits its barebones feature. This is where the Samsung Genio QWERTY comes in, providing a decent budget phone for people who don’t really feel the need to get the latest and best model out on the market.

The Samsung Genio QWERTY: The little phone that could

As the Samsung name denotes, the Genio QWERTY is not your usual el cheapo mobile phone, despite carrying the price tag of one. For one thing, it has a crisp, bright touch screen (a capacitive one.) similar to its older brothers.

The Genio Qwerty is also a bit of a paradox in itself, as it is meant to be a budget model and should be targeted more towards people who want a no-frills mobile phone, yet its colorful, interchangeable backplates imply that it is also being marketed towards younger users, who normally prefer high end phones like the Galaxy series or Apple’s iPhones (mainly because this age group uses their phones for entertainment and socialization, and the fact that they rarely need to spend their own money on buying one).

When it comes to specs, the Genio Qwerty is fairly unimpressive, as is expected of a low-end budget mobile phone. It comes with a fairly anaemic 2 megapixel camera, a small 2.2 inch screen, and a keypad that is small and cramped when compared to a Blackberry’s. It also lacks 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, and runs on Java so you won’t be able to go crazy with third party apps.

However, it is important to assess the Samsung Genio Qwerty in the proper context; that of a sub-80 pound mobile phone targeted towards people on a budget. Given this context, the Genio Qwerty is actually a surprisingly above-average mobile phone that is worth every penny.

A Look at the Features

The Genio Qwerty’s main feature is its Qwerty keyboard (hence the name), which may seem small and relatively cramped, but unless you have really large fingers, it will only take you a short while to grow accustomed to its feel. The keys are contoured, which helps a lot as it prevents you from hitting two keys at the same time. In no time at all, you’ll be typing messages much faster and more accurate than you would on a larger virtual keyboard.

As for its screen, it may seem extremely subpar due to the small size (2.2 inches) and the odd choice to not let the screen fill the entire space, resulting in a small black border on the edges. It is also fairly low resolution, only managing 220 x 176, compared to the usual 240 x 320 of similarly priced phones. But Samsung has ensured that the phone’s UI is unaffected, and it still looks sharp and easy to read, without making things look too blocky. The viewing angles on the phone are also top-notch, something that can’t be said of other budget phones. However, don’t expect to watch videos decently on it. They look nice enough, but the small screen will make you miss a lot of details.

A key strength of the Samsung Genio Qwerty is its music playing capabilities. The phone is marketed as a barebones mobile meant for pure voice calls and text messages, so the built in media player seems like a welcome bonus. For one thing, it has an FM radio function that supports recording. However, the recorded music is saved in *.m4a format, which its media player ironically doesn’t support. If you want to add it to the playlist, you’ll have to transfer it to the PC first and convert it to mp3. It can be a hassle but it’s still a good thing that you have the ability to play your recording, even if you have to do it in a roundabout way.

Another nice thing about the Genio Qwerty is that it’s not finicky with headphones, as it supports standard 3.5mm headphone jacks, making replacement extremely easy. It also gives you the ability to output to a much larger speaker, making it feasible as a party music player.

One thing to keep in mind if you want to use this as an mp3 player is that it only has 50 MB of internal memory, so you won’t be able to put your entire catalogue in the phone. However, this is where another welcome feature of the phone comes in: it supports memory expansion through a microSD card. It supports SDHC, and Samsung claims support for cards up to 8GB (while Samsung doesn’t state it outright, we have a feeling that it can also support much larger SDHC cards).

As mentioned above, the Genio Qwerty runs on a Java-based OS instead of the Android variations that its bigger brothers use. This means you’re pretty much locked out of all the third party apps that android phones enjoy. Not that app support will be of any use, as the phone has neither any Wi-Fi nor 3G capabilities.


The Samsung Genio Qwerty isn’t really the cheapest budget phone around, but it does offer the most bang for your buck. It does all the things its cheaper rivals do, but does them better. It also offers features that are available only on higher end smart phones. The closest competitor that the Genio Qwerty has in terms of feature set is the LG GW300, which is at least £40 more expensive than the Genio Qwerty, making the choice between the two fairly easy.

The Samsung Genio Qwerty is a fairly easy recommendation if you’re on the lookout for a budget phone that offers features and durability that go beyond most budget phones’ capabilities. It’s no Galaxy, but for a fraction of the price, you may as well try it out and see if you can use it as a bare bones alternative to your high end device.

Getting a Samsung Genio Qwerty was important to Sam Jones.  He searched on sites such as uSwitch and found a great deal in just a few minutes.


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