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Review without ANY technical information: just a mom's opinion
Written: Feb 16, 2012 (Updated Feb 17, 2012)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Sleek, slim, light-weight, good battery life, good online support website by Samsung, affordable
Cons:Fingerprints, touchy screen, sometimes glitchy, can freeze at the wrong time
The Bottom Line: If you don't want to shell out the money to Apple and are looking for a entry-level touch screen phone, this is an affordable option unless you need more techiness.
In the heyday of smart phones, we're constantly bombarded with options and for some of us, we don't really care that much for the technical aspects of our phones: we just want to know if they work and if so, how well they handle day to day use. This review is written in a completely non-technical format; I wouldn't be able to do the technical side of this phone any justice as I truly do not understand all the tech-speak. If you're looking for a technical review, please see other reviews as posted on epinions.
One of the selling points for me was size. I need to be able to see the screen, it has to fit nicely in my hand, it has to fit nicely in my purse or pocket and not be too bulky. However, I bought a hard-shell holster case with belt clip that makes it a little unwieldy. That said, without the case, the slickness of the back makes it hard to keep in your pocket as it is half the size of a standard sized napkin and would easily work itself out of a lined pocket onto the floor. Look at a napkin and fold it in half~ that's about the size of this phone.
The screen is a larger size compared to say the Blackberry or iPhone and I can view it from normal distance just like a book. The good thing about this phone is that the screen is not bordered and the full face of the phone is the screen. Many phones I considered had less screen size because of the mounting (think a nice picture with too much interior border).
With this screen, you can click anywhere on a website and it auto-enlarges; this is a great feature for those of us advancing in age. The screen also auto-rotates the web brower: turn the phone any to any side and it moves with you. Some of the games do not rotate but that's not an issue for me. Also, if you're on a web page with a lot of words, simply clicking on a word allows the word to enlarge; the system automatically offers several different options to help you look up the word or enlarge it.
Talk about keeping it simple: there are only a handful of real buttons on this phone to keep down the potential of having chunky finger syndrome aka button mashing. On the left side along the seam, there's your volume control bar that you press the top half and it turns up the volume and the bottom half turns it down. On the right side along the seam is the power button.
On the face of the screen, you have 4 non-buttons (it took me awhile to figure out what they all do as it's not readily apparent unless you're a technical person); I call them that because they have no substance and if you put the phone to your ear on your shoulder and try to talk hands-free without using the speaker, you will terminate your calls. I've done it countless times and it's annoying at best.
The first button is your edit or other features button; the second is home, the third is return and the fourth is search. I guess these are all standard buttons and most people know exactly what they are out of the box. I didn't so it took some time for me to become accustomed to them. The edit button does other things depending on which function you're using (phone, web browser, pictures, contacts etc.).
I took typing in high school. I love to type and can type up to 80 wpm (words per minute). I also have a love of the English language and was raised by using the Webster's dictionary in book form. The keyboard for typing and texting on this phone is virtual. You have the choice of hitting each minuscule key individually or swiping aka Qwerty text. I find that either process is excruciating and love the voice recognition at times when I am frustrated. That said, be very cautious with any of these options as often I discovered that my entries are converted to nonsensical words or just not the words I am trying to communicate.
With the typing/texting virtual keyboard, despite the screen protectors, I find the screen always being greasy with finger oils. I'm not a fan of lotion and would not recommend one who uses lotion to use a touchscreen for anything. I am constantly using my eyeglass cleaner wipes to remove finger and earprints and dust from the screen. Touch screens are not for one with OCD tendencies; those who have a phobia of dirt should definitely avoid touchscreens!!
Phone battery life:
I have a car charger and a home charger~ both are necessary with smart phones as anyone can attest. I have found that after 1 hour on the phone, talking, that I need to charge or else it beeps at me. I have also discovered that after 3 hours of using the phone as a music player, I have to recharge it. Additionally, when driving for over an hour, I need to recharge it as well since it constantly searches for a 3G signal. As a mom, the battery length is sufficient but I'd definitely appreciate more time when talking. You do have the ability to turn off the web signal hunt while you're traveling so you don't drain your battery needlessly.
I've downloaded my Bible, banking websites apps along with my Words with Friends, ebay, facebook, Amazon and a few others that I check daily. All the apps I have were free and easily downloaded from their respective sites or the free download site on Amazon. I've also downloaded the Amazon cloud, which contains all of my music (that player requires internet access and often does not work plus it depletes the battery terribly).
My only complaint is that iTunes is very difficult to use on this phone. Now I know this is an Android and not iPhone but having bought so many iPods over the years for all of us as well as tons of music from iTunes, it shouldn't be so hard to let those of us unwilling to shell out hundreds of dollars for an iPhone listen to our music on a different phone. My thought is if we have an iTunes account, we've obviously bought an iPod and should be treated equally as well as iPhone owners...Apple, of course, feels differently, hence my decision to upload all of my music to the Amazon cloud and download the player to this phone.
The web browser allows you to save your favorite bookmarks as well as shows you your browsing history and recently visited websites. You can only open 4 windows at one time and it took me a long time to figure out that using the edit virtual button on the bottom of the screen allows me to close browsing windows, among other features. There really should be a class for how to use your phone;)
Additonally, you can download any pdf file after downloading the Adobe app and save documents to your micro sd card. This is extremely helpful if you are like me and visit websites that have documents to be viewed.
As already mentioned, the screen is large and gets dirty fairly quickly. It is very responsive to the slightest touch but I do have reservations in this area. This screen can be very temperamental; it will change from being very responsive to simply unresponsive within minutes and that is a pet peeve of mine. When you're using the GPS feature, for instance, you need to be able to trust the device to respond without glitching.
This phone freezes often at the most inopportune times and that to me is unacceptable when it's a necessity and not a luxury. It's not a weekly occurrence that I've had to take out the battery and reset it, but it's definitely been more than I'd like for the price I paid.
The camera screen is on the back of the phone in the upper left side. Unfortunately, your fingerprints and dirt collect on that tiny screen and often turn out bad pictures. Otherwise, if you remember to wipe the screen regularly to keep it free of oils or dirt, you can capture some okay mobile pictures. I'm talking the difference between those little PC-camera shots and top-of-the-line DSLR (or fancy) camera shots~ this little camera has taken some great daylight and indoor shots at many events and I've stopped carrying a separate camera with me to events where, in the past, I would never have attended without one. Uploading to your favorite social network, e-mailing using your account or texting your pictures is very easy and requires no thought at all. You can turn the flash on or off plus do some other things that I've never tried simply because I don't know what the symbols mean...anyone who has more knowledge about the specifics would probably take better pictures than I do with this phone LOL.
I have stopped carrying my iPod~ there is an earbud/phone jack type connector at the top and I use this phone to plug into my car's outlet as well as use earbuds to walk with this phone using my holster belt clip case. It produces better quality through my car stereo and in my headphones than it does using it as a stand-alone music player. That said, I've also downloaded Netflix to this phone and we've watched movies on it with no sound distortion. With my additional 16gb micro SD card that slides easily in under the battery, I have no need for an additional music player.
As already mentioned, I no longer carry a digital camera or iPod. I also stopped worrying about my phone book and my Kindle. I have downloaded the Amazon Kindle for Android and all of my books are accessible from this phone as well. I have nothing to compare this phone with in regards to storage but I wanted to say I have 4 full screens of apps and still have 1.4gb of program storage of room left as well as a little under 11gb of external sd card room left. That means, in my uniformed opinion, that I've yet to overtax this phone or fill it to capacity. Of course, it also means that adding a 16gb micro sd card gave me more room to work. I have over 800 pictures, 4 1/2 hours of video and 1700+ songs on my micro sd card with so much space left. I don't see the phone handling any differently when I plug it into my laptop and download my pics once a month; so overall, I'd say the bigger sd cards help your phone's speed. But don't take my word for this section!!
In the case, I've dropped it from counters, tables and onto some very hard surfaces. Outside of the case, I'd be very afraid to sneeze in its direction. I think it's very fragile and it wouldn't take much to break the screen, thereby rendering the phone unusable. The back comes off quite easily with a fingernail in the cut-out slot and the back itself is very thin and flimsy in my opinion. Let's just say that you want to invest in a very tough and durable case that can protect your investment (if you have a contract. Ibuy all our phones on ebay and have month-to-month postpaid through Verizon, thereby avoiding any contractual obligations;).
As already mentioned, I've had to restart this phone many times due to it freezing up in the middle of operations but never in the middle of phone calls. I've also jabbed the screen in frustration and taken out some overt hostility on it when attending sports games with our kids. That said, our 10 year old daughter did borrow this phone to go to the amusement park this past summer (we've sinced caved and bought her a flip phone of her own) and despite the carelessness she showed this phone, it has survived with dignity and surpassed my own expectations. My only issue in this area is the flaws in the keyboard entry (very touchy) and in the occasional glitching aka freezing up at the worst times.
Editted to add the basics~ not sure how I missed these points but thank you to the advisors here who remind you of the basics!!
This phone functions very well as a phone except for my thoughts that the in-call volume could be louder. Even at the full number 15 volume, I still manage to have issues hearing my caller. Those on the other end have also said they've had issues hearing me at times, depending on where I call from (in the car, at the beach, in the house).
I've also thought that the voices on the other end sounded distant for a smart phone; our kids all have phones and I'm not sure if it's this phone or theirs but I do wonder if Samsung addressed this in the next generation phone. My husband weighed in and said that often times, I sound like I'm in a tunnel. I believe it to be a combination of my location, the person on the other end of the call's location, their phone BUT for the technological advances of the day, you'd think this issue wouldn't really exist. Often, my 12 year old boy and 10 year old girl sound the same to me when they call this phone, either from their cell phones or our landline. It may just be my hearing, though~ but at my age, I'd like to think it's the phone...
I've also had spotty coverage with Verizon; this may be carrier issues but I've lost calls and when the phone decides to freeze, I cannot hear the caller or call out. Also, when the phone glitches, it will repeatedly hang up on the call and redial it repeatedly without your input; this isn't often but it requires you to remove the battery and reset the phone entirely. It isn't all the time, but often enough that I mention it as it wouldn't be right not to cover the problems I've had over the past two years.
From this mom's standpoint, if your child is begging for an iPhone, this Android is a good and cheaper alternative. Resale seems to be strong on ebay (and as I've just ordered a new phone from ebay, I've been checking to see what mine will be worth on that site when I transfer to my new phone), which in my humble opinion is a positive for this phone as it means it's desirable and has longevity versus other smart phones.
The Samsung website also has a huge section for the support of this phone as well as an app you can download to your laptop. I've noticed the phone has received many different "patches" in the past two years; which means any issues identified by Samsung have been addressed without me even knowing they existed. That type of support seems to be more common these days and I appreciate the automatic updates on my phone that I receive on my laptop~ done without my knowledge or having to be requested.
Samsung has upgraded it to a newer version of this phone which means to me they will continue to support it and work out the bugs in the future. I'd say anyone looking for an entry level Android smart phone would be satisfied with this phone...unless you're a techie and need all the bells and whistles, this phone delivers reliable use as a phone, media player and outlet to the world at large.
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