Below is part 2 of my Samsung T301G review – you can find part 1 by clicking here. And I’ll have more coming up in the future as well, so stay tuned to the email updates for more info about the T301G. Remember, you can find all my reviews by clicking on the “Reviews” link at
Click on the picture to find this phone from TracFone
the top of any page of the blog site, and I’ll add links to the Samsung T301G index page as I continue to add more to the review. Click here to find this phone from TracFone. Now, here’s part 2:
I really like the size of the display on the T301G. The slider design allows more area for the screen, and it’s especially noticeable when the slider is closed. I’ve found the screen to have excellent brightness, and I really like that there are two stages of dimming – full brightness when the phone is initially slid open, followed by an intermediate dim after a period of inactivity that can be changed by the user, before going completely dark after another 3 seconds of inactivity.
Also, if the slider is closed and a button is pushed, the display will light up slightly, and if the button that is pushed is the “end” key, it will light up just a little more, but not to full brightness. This is nice because it conserves battery life when a button is inadvertently pushed, and because if you want to check your phone for the time or for any of the status indicators, pressing the “end” button will allow you to do so without unlocking the phone.
Now, there are a couple of things I didn’t like about the display. It’s not a big deal, but worth noting that even though the screen is about 1/4″ bigger than the w376g and the 600g, the resolution is the same as those phones. This isn’t really a surprise, but I thought it should be pointed out. A bigger disappointment, though, is that the viewing angle is pretty limited on the T301g. If you’re looking at the screen straight on, it’s fine, but if you tilt the phone by about 15-20 degrees up or down, you’ll notice distortion in the screen. Side-to-side, you’ll have a wider margin, but the up-and-down is pretty annoying.
The menus make sense to me, with a tiled layout of the main menu that is similar to that of the 600g and w376g. I think the larger screen on the T301 makes it slightly easier to navigate, but not by much. There are also a lot of different menu options, which makes it somewhat more difficult to navigate once you get deeper into some of the menus.
The keypad is good, with small but distinctly separate keys that are slightly raised and provide a good tactile “click” when pressed. I have heard from one other owner of this model that one of her keys came off completely, within just a few days of use. I haven’t had this experience personally after two weeks of heavy use, nor I have I heard of anyone else with a similar problem. So hopefully it’s just that one unit that had the problem, but it is slightly worrisome that it might happen on other phones of this model.
There are 6 shortcut keys, and four of them can be re-programmed to access the menu of your choice. Unfortunately, one of those that cannot be re-programmed is the right soft key, which opens the web browser. This issue has been a significant complaint from users of both the 600g and the w376g, and I’m disappointed that once again it seems like TracFone might be conning us into accessing the browser and deducting units when we don’t mean to. Also, the browser is quick to deduct the first .50 units for access. This gives only a second or two to slide the phone closed if you want to avoid losing airtime.
On the plus side, I found texting to be quite easy with this phone. The device feels nice and balanced, in my hand at least, making one-handed texting a breeze. Another big plus, and something that people had asked about, is that once you press send, the message will be sent even if you immediately slide the phone shut before receiving the “message sent” confirmation. The whole texting process seems to move very quickly once you press the “send” key. One other thing that I feel obligated to point out on all of my new reviews, though, is that this phone deducts .3 units for either incoming or outgoing messages, in contrast to some of the older phones that allow for free incoming messages.
I haven’t yet tried to connect to this phone an in-vehicle navigation or add-on GPS system, but all other indications are that the Bluetooth functions the same as on the w376g. Assuming that’s the case, you should be able to connect it to your hands-free device without much trouble. I successfully connected the T301G to both Bluetooth headsets that I own, so there doesn’t seem to be any problem there.
The Bluetooth on this phone is limited to audio devices, similar to the Motorola w376g. I attempted on a couple of different setups to pair with a computer, and didn’t have any luck with that. I also attempted to pair with my LG 600g, but again had little success. In each case, it seems as if the other devices can “see” the Samsung T301G, but the phone refuses to complete the connection. I played around with several settings on the phone as well as on my computers, but still couldn’t get anything to work. That leaves this phone at a disadvantage to the LG 600g, which can connect to PCs via Bluetooth for the transmission of pictures and ringtones, among other data.
There is a cable, which is compatible with other Samsung phones that have the same connector as the T301, that can be used to connect those phones to a computer via USB port. So far I haven’t found any that are specifically listed as being compatible the the T301G (or, more specifically, the Samsung SGH-T301G, which is the official full name of the phone). I have ordered one that is compatible with a similar model, though, and I’m going to see if I can get that to work the the TracFone version. When I figure that out, I’ll post about it on this blog.
The camera is pretty comparable to that on both the w376g and the 600g. It’s a VGA camera, meaning that the max resolution is 640 x 480. At this resolution, a pic will look ok on your computer screen, but is not going to capture enough detail to produce a nice-looking print.
The camera cannot record video; something I know that some users were hoping for. It does have some nice options though. You can change the resolution (to allow for more pictures to fit in the memory); set a time delay of 3, 5 or 10 seconds; change the white balance to auto, daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, or cloudy; or add special effects of black & white, negative, sepia, emboss, sketch, antique, moonlight, or fog. You can also choose a nighttime landscape setting or select from among normal, center-weighted, or spot metering exposure.
I haven’t played around with the camera all that much yet, but I did send a picture to my email address via an MMS message. It came through fine, but cost 1.5 units to send (the picture was taken at the highest resolution of 640×480). This really highlights the disadvantage of having to use MMS message instead of Bluetooth to get the pictures from your phone to your computer, especially if you want to take a lot of pictures.
Well, that’s it for part 2. Stay tuned for part 3 in this review, in which I’ll cover the tools and extras, and wrap it all up. Also, if you have any questions or want to suggest something that I missed, please do so in the comments section. Thanks!