Samsung T401g Review part 2

Below is part 2 of my in-depth Samsung T401g review. If you haven’t already done so, read part 1 of the review series here. Or take a look at the Samsung T401g review index for all my info related to this model.

Internal display/keypad/menus

I really like the display on the T401g – it’s as big as the screen on the T301g, and bigger than any other Trac/Net10 model I’ve tried

Samsung T401g QWERTY KeyboardSamsung T401g QWERTY Keyboard

(though I’ve yet to try the LG 290c or the Samsung r451c as of this writing). Further, the t401g’s screen is bright, clear, and vibrant. I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

I’m frequently asked how a display functions in direct sunlight. I thought that sun wouldn’t be a problem on this model since the screen is so bright, but I overlooked the extremely glossy finish on the display. In my testing, the actual light output from the display was adequate to overcome direct sunlight, but I had to be careful what angle I held the phone at to keep from reflecting the sun directly into my eyes

. So I guess it’s a toss-up there – the screen is bright enough for outdoor use, but caution must be used in direct sun.

The screen does give the same distortion I’ve noted with all other phones when viewed from the side. The T401g does seem to be  better than most other models, though – even when angling the screen as much as 45 degrees or more to the either side, the text is readable, if not visually appealing.

The numeric keypad feels nice to use, especially for one-handed texting or dialing. As I believe I mentioned in an earlier post, the keypad itself reminds me of the Nokia 1100, which I loved. The keypad is one continuous piece of rubbery plastic, as opposed to the distinct, harder plastic keys on many other recent models. The rubber feeling to the keys makes it easier, in my opinion, to dial, as the keys feel better under my fingers. The keys also provide a solid “click” when pressed, so you don’t need to guess whether you’ve actually pushed the key.

The external keyboard sports eight shortcut keys in total – up, down, left, right, left soft, right soft, and two raised keys directly below the soft keys. The four directional keys can each be programmed to the shortcut of your choice.

The left and right soft keys are hard-coded to the menu and browser (I know many people won’t like this), respectively, from the home screen, and cannot be changed. The left raised key is dedicated to text messaging, which seems to make sense for a phone with a QWERTY keyboard, and the right raised key is hard-coded to “clear,” which functions to cancel a menu selection or to delete a character when texting. This also makes sense to me.

Getting back to the browser shortcut key – on the down side, if you accidentally push it, it is very quick to load the browser and beginning deducting airtime (one full minute right off the bat in the case of Net10). This is a major disadvantage for me. On the other hand, it is nearly offset by the design of the keyboard – the soft keys are considerably smaller than on other web-enabled models from Trac/Net10. Further, the soft keys are somewhat “protected” by the raised keys immediately below them. The combination of these two factors, in my experience, makes it much less likely that you will accidentally press either of the soft keys. I have not once unintentionally activated the browser in my extensive testing of the model – something I cannot say for ANY other phone.

The QWERTY keyboard on the T401g is about 1.25” tall, and the keys are lined up in three rows (as compared to the new Samsung r451c for Net10 and Straight Talk, which has four rows of keys). The keys don’t feel too cramped – they each have a distinct button, to reduce the likelihood of accidentally hitting the wrong key. The keys themselves are made of the same rubbery material as the main keyboard.

I like the layout and spacing; though the keys are small, I don’t see any way the layout could be improved without making the phone bigger. I did prefer to use my thumbnails as opposed to the pads of my thumbs for typing on the QWERTY, as I felt that gave me more precision.

My only possible complaint about the QWERTY keyboard is that it takes a little more force to press the keys than I would like. However, when I compared it to a Kyocera Wildcard from Virgin Mobile, I found that the Wildcard keys were even stiffer than the Samsung. I definitely preferred the Samsung T401g.

Moving on to the menus – I don’t know exactly what it is about the menus on these Samsungs, but they just don’t seem to make quite as much sense to me as those of the LG and Motorola models. That being said, I’ve adapted fairly quickly to the Samsung navigation. I used the T301g as my main phone for for several months over the summer, and can now use the menus just fine. I’m sure that anyone interested in this type of phone (i.e. with lots of advanced features) will be able to learn the menu layout without a problem.

Which brings me around to the text messaging – perhaps the most important feature on a phone with a QWERTY keyboard. I wasn’t sure I would make use of the QWERTY keyboard all that much, but I’ve found it feels pretty natural to slide the keyboard out for use with texting. As soon as you slide the phone open, the screen automatically rotates to accommodate the new position of the phone in your hands. Also, shortcuts associated with the directional keys rotate 90 degrees.

There is one shortcut that is lacking, in my opinion. I would really like to have the option to make the phone automatically open a new text message if you open the slider. I would assume that most people, when they open the slider, plan to write a text message, so a shortcut like this would make sense to me.

Connectivity

The Samsung T401g can easily be connected to a computer using a standard Samsung USB data cable (such as these on Amazon). When connecting by USB cable, make sure that your phone is set to “USB Mass Storage” mode in the menu settings>3. Phone Settings>7. USB Mode. I was also able to connect to my PC as well as to other phones using bluetooth. Using either a USB cable or bluetooth, I was able to transfer files from my T401g to my computer, and bluetooth worked for the exchange of files between phones, too.

The bluetooth worked fine for audio using my very cheap, generic BT headset, so I suspect it should work fine with most bluetooth audio devices. I am frequently asked whether BT phones can use the phonebook capabilities of certain in-vehicle navigation systems and stand-alone GPS systems, but since I have neither of those I can’t answer that question.

I also cannot tell how well the T401g works with stereo bluetooth devices for audio playback, although the device does support these functions.

Well, that’s all for this installment of the review; I’ll be back later this week with yet another segment in which I’ll cover the fun stuff like camera, mp3 player, games, memory card slot, and other tools.

96 thoughts on “Samsung T401g Review part 2

  1. Hey thanks for the great review! It really helps me to choose my next phone- I think im going to get this one (if it ever gets on Net10′s site), but is there any reason to wait for the R451c to come out? They seem the same to me. Thanks!

  2. As far as Stereo Bluetooth devices go, it’s very good it has good volume and no noticeable distortion or noise from the bluetooth at least it’s not easily noticeable I’m sure an Audiophile or a person with very sensitive hearing could hear some distortion or Bluetooth noise but for casual listing it’s got great sound.

  3. When y’all talk about the ‘limited’ www capabilites, what does that mean? Is there a link that I can read about the limitations?

    Also, how do you pay for browsing? Is it a certain rate per day, or by the amount down/uploaded [by the Mb]?

    Thanks!!

  4. Can either the Bluetooth or USB connection be used as a modem for a laptop or internet tablet? I’m not expecting 3G speeds, just a connection when I don’t have wifi anywhere close.

  5. well i just bought this fone and i love it it is sooo much easier to txt with and u can txt reallllly fast i wood encoruage everyone to try it it relly made my life alot easier because i am one of those ppl woo love to txt aton well hope this helped u with ur desision bye

  6. Thanks for the review and comments. They helped me decide to buy one.
    One issue: I followed the link to the data cables on Amazon, but none specifically referenced the T401G. Do all of these work? Could someone post a link to a specific cable that works? Thanks.

  7. Thanks for this review and everyone’s comments, got this phone and really enjoying it so far. Like most everyone else, not thrilled about being stuck with the function key assigned to the browser, and for this reason coupled with the fact that there seems to be no way to lock the phone, this is probably not a good fit for people with small kids around. The keypad can be locked but that is disabled whenever you slide the keybrd open.

    • I have Net10, so i know it shouldn’t cost much. But, they don’t really use price. They use units/minutes. For this phone, texting might be .3 minutes or .5 minutes and for calling you it deducts the amount of minutes that your call took up.

      • i have this phone thru straighttalk and i have unlimited text talk and internet for 45 dollars a month (30 days) but you can also have a 30 dollar plan which includes 1000 texts 1000 minutes for calling

  8. Just got this phone and love it. I cannot find a way to get music through bluetooth headphones. can anyone help?

    Thanks,
    zaxdad

  9. Questions, I was thinking of getting it someday because it sounds like a GREAT phone!

    Here are my questions…

    1. Does it have FM Radio?
    2. Does it have Speaker Phone?
    3. Does it have a Big Screen?
    4. Is the Texting easier?
    5. How much space does the Mp3 hold?
    6. Does the Video Recorder have good quality?

    If you can reply that would be great!

    Thanks
    - Skyler =)

  10. I really like your reveiw on this phone. (Both in YouTube and this website.) I’ve watched your reveiw a ton of times. Five stars with out a doubt. Thanks a lot. I’ve chosen this phone. By the way, how do you do 3 cent texting?

  11. For connectivity, I can not get this phone to connect to my Windows XP PC to synchronize contact lists, etc.
    The Best Buy store sold me a Susteen Data Pilot v. 6.1.2 package with USB cables but it does not support the T401G. I also tried Samsung PC Studio 3 with no luck.

    Does anyone know of a software package that will work with this phone?

    • Woody if you find a solution please let me know. I’m having the same problem, brought the same product from Bestbuy got the same results.

  12. I just got this phone, mostly for the slider keyboard and cheaper texting. But instead of 3 cent it’s still charging me 5 cent to receive or send a txt. The customer care number is no help either. Am I doing something wrong or is something wrong with my phone? plzzzzzzz help

    • You’re not doing anything wrong, Amber. Others have had this problem too. What did customer service tell you? They’re your best bet to get the phone’s internal settings changed. If they won’t do it for you, even though they have the ability to do so, I’d file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Trac/Net10 have historically responded very quickly to those types of complaints. And since they advertised a lower rate than they’re charging you, you have every right to file such a complaint.

    • Amber, I would call customer service again, I just got two of these phones and had the same problem with both. My first contact with customer service was no help, but experience has taught me that if you call back and get a different person, you might get actually somewhere. My second contact resulted in having to enter 5 different 16 digit codes into each phone, but at least they are now charging 3 cents for text instead of 5 cents.

      • I am buying this phone tonight and would appreciate VERY Much, and so would others, if you would reply back here and let us know those codes…. Donna

      • Donna – the codes will be something specific to the phone. It takes into account some data about the individual handset, so the codes used by CLM will not work for other t401g devices.

    • No, you’re not doing anything wrong. The phone was advertised to use .3 minutes for each text. If it didn’t, then you can’t do anything about it. But, if your packaging said .3 minutes you should call customer service and DEMAND that you get your correct charges because they told you that it was .3 min and they didn’t follow through with their offer. (Sorry for the rambling)

  13. Does anyone else happen to have more than one of these phones to test the Bluetooth connectivity between the two. I have two phones and can actually connect the phones but after confirming that I want to share data between the phones, I am presented with the different folders (i.e. images, music, etc.) but they appear empty even though they actually have data on the phone your connected to.

  14. CLM,
    I haven’t been able to view or “pull” files from other phones, but I can use it to “push” files from one phone to another.

  15. Hi,

    I asked before but you were sick. Glad you’re better now.
    Have you been able to tether the t401g either via USB or Bluetooth to a laptop so that it can be used as a modem? Toshiba’s site said it can be done with their PC Studio software, but it would be nice to have a first hand account. I know I won’t be getting more than 56k with it. Thanks.

  16. I have one of these phones. I like it alot, I just cant figure out how to get my ringtones on it so I was just going to use a USB cable. I went to the amazon site you referenced, but I could not find one that said its compatable with this phone. Do I just pick one and go with it? or is there one that is compatable and just doesnt say it? I want to get this right seeing as I have a tendancy to do something wrong with electronics and dont know what to do. Any emails would be apreciated too since I might not be able to find this site again to check on it. Please email me at silver_dragon_1288@yahoo.com labeled as “Samsung usb cable” Thanks. Much apreciated.
    Ryuu

    • Ryuu – most Samsung cables are the same – if you see something labeled as compatible with the Samsung Jack, that should work. Try this one:
      Link

  17. Ok, so I got the USB cord. PERFECT FIT! Now what? Im trying to downlowd the drivers to it and I get nothing…. What do I do now?
    I just want to put music from my computer on to it, and I get the drivers all downloaded, but now it wont even show itself as a usb at all. wtf. Please help!

    • Nick, it can go on most websites with a mobile version. This often means it is something like m.espn.com, mobile.espn.com, espn.com/m or espn.com/mobile, for example. You can also use google from within the browser to search for sites you want to visit. Gmail, yahoo mail, hotmail, and facebook all work on this phone, among others.

  18. OK, I just had to share this info. Since I purchased my Net10 Samsung T401g about six weeks ago I have been trying to figure out how to get free Ringtones, Games, Java Apps, etc. on the phone and today I came across the following info:

    http://www.howardforums.com/printthread.php?t=1608093

    It really works, I have already downloaded and installed a couple of games, a wallpaper, and even an App that all loaded and work just fine. Try it out and let me know if it worked for you as well.

    Enjoy … MosesX

    • i tried to go to that site you have there, found ringtones that are compatible with the T401g, made an account, got some tones on my fav list, and tried to get to the site on my phone…. I get error 403 every time I try to go to the site. WTF! help please! my best lead to getting all the zelda tunes on my phone just kicked me in the ass!

  19. Does anyone know how to block a source of text and image messages? I tried blocking the phone number they were sent from but that didn’t work. Apparently you can only block phone calls, not messages.
    Doug

  20. dw4 – I’m not positive, but you might be able to get Net10 to block that particular number for you. If so, I guess you’d have to call their 800 number.

  21. chris, there are two possible solutions that come to mind:
    1. I believe this works only when you have a microSD card installed. So if you don’t have a card in there, it won’t do anything for you.
    2. Is your phone’s USB setting set to “mass storage?” Go to settings>phone settings>USB mode. Make sure it says “mass storage.” Then disconnect and try it again.

    • Just bought a samsung t401g
      already purchased an micro sd card with sd adapter.
      What usd cables are compatable, and do I need a cd download?
      And where can I find a USB CABLE?
      THANKS JOEL :::::::::::::)

  22. You can only access the phone from a pc via the data cable with a micro sd card. which means you have to buy
    1. the data cable (not included)
    2. a micro sd card (definitely not included)
    if the sd card is not inserted in the phone you get a msg in windows “please insert disk into removable disk ”
    it is not true that most phones require a sd card for access from a pc..my friend has an LG phone and its plug and play from his pc

  23. About those devises that you told chris about. Where can I get them for cheap? or at all… I also have no clue what they look like, so a link would be wonderful. Thanks

  24. Re: “phone uses a standard Samsung USB data cable”
    I just got this phone and I’m rather PO’d that can’t use my STANDARD mini-USB car charger nor data cable.
    I’m PO’d that I can’t use my STANDARD 2.5mm headphones.
    I’m really PO’d that I won’t be able to recharge it and listen to MP3s at the same time.

    Is there a real manual on the web somewhere?!? Sooo many features are missing from the one I got from Net10.

  25. I have a question about the phone being a “slide out”. The models of these phones that I’ve seen in the stores don’t want to “stay put” when you slide them out to start typing. Granted, these are floor models and have been abused, but how well will it stay put once you slide it out? The trouble I’ve seen is that it tends to slide back down and cover the top row of keys, thus making it difficult to text. Have you experienced this? Does it seem to sorta “lock in place?”

    • Ive honestly had no problem like that with mine even though Ive beaten it up quite a bit. the worst that’s happening to me is I think there’s a wire loose from when I dropped it from my bike and every once in a while it turns off when I slide it just right. I’m a bit of a klutz(friends will completely and totally tell me I’m a BIG klutz, but that’s their opinions.) its still alive and working though. Still trying to figure out how to use my usb cable for my phone to get my music from my computer… if anyone could help me with that that would be great.

  26. Had my t401g for a while now. My Texts are full. I can fit 30 on the phone and 200 on the card. I would like to keep or archive these text off the phone to clear up some space. Does anyone know if there is a way?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Robert
      I haven’t tried this with messages, but have you tried using a SIM card reader to view the messages on the phone, then copy the messages from the SIM to your computer? I would give that a try – you should be able to get a sim card reader for less than $5 from some place like a dealextreme, ebay, or maybe buy.com

      • Hello pbushx2,

        I just sent a post to Aaron Hayward from your Review Part 1 asking this same question. I hope that you or someone has come up with some ideas other than a SIM Card Reader because all of the reviews I’m reading for the SIM Card Reader seem to indicate they don’t work very well. At least the ones that are about $20 or less. I’ve looked at are…

        Vivitar RW-ALL – Card reader – 72 in 1 ( MS, SD, xD, CF, microSD, SIM card, SDHC ) – Hi-Speed USB

        Epraizer Universal Flash & SIM Card Reader/Writer, USB 2.0 by Epraizer

        For the above 2 I read the reviews at Amazon.com

        Dekart SIM card reader – I couldn’t find reviews for this SCR.

        The website that I referenced on the post I just sent to Aaron that is…

        http://www.soundfeelings.com/free/save_text_messages.htm

        This website gives suggestions on how to do what Robert is asking in his post from May 10th, 2010.

        Thanks,
        Amy

  27. Please answer, very important. If you had a choice between having the Samsung t401g and the Samsung r355c which one would you choose. Thanks :)

  28. THIS PHONE IS A RIPOFFF IT CLEARLY STATES ON THE BOX 3 CENT TEXT THEN U TEXT ON IT AND ITS 30CENTS MINE EVEN STARTED BY CHARGEING 50CENT EVERY TEXT I HAD TO CALL AND GET IT WORKED OUT TO EVEN BE 30CENTS EVERY TEXT SO DONT BELEIVE ANYTHING THEY SAY THEY ARE LYING JUST TO SUCKER U IN 30CENTS TEXT NOT 3CENTS CHEATS CHEATS CHEATS CHEATS END OF STORY

    • i have this phone through straighttalk its a really good deal i love it its cheap for unlimited talk text and web for 30 days its 45 dollars a month the only down side about it is the only place you can purchase this phone through straighttalk is at walmart and that is the only place you can buy a phone card too

      • Actually, you can purchase it directly at Straight Talk’s website and I just got a great Black Friday special (good until Nov. 30th). The phone, the first month’s plan, and free overnight shipping for $70. It is the $45 plan (unlimited) talk, text, web plan and as part of the deal you only pay $30 per month for the $45 plan as long as you use the automatic payment plan option. Link is below:
        http://bit.ly/ST401-404

  29. if you tried to plug in the t401g into computer using a USB, you have to change the setting from modem to mass storage. Also, you need a micro SD

  30. hello Pbushx2
    The reason for the distortion on the screen when looked at it from an angle is because its a glass covered lcd. This problem is common to many devices icluding the iphone and the itouch, the latter of which i own. Thank you for this review it was very helpful and i puchased it because of your review and absolutly love it.

  31. um dustin,
    if you look closer at the screen you will see that it says .30 minutes, and at ten cents a minute it is 3 cents per txt. that period before the thirty makes a difference.

  32. james,
    the r355c is better if you are sending out and recieving large quantities of texts as it is cheaper. but i find the 401g looks nicer.

  33. hi robert,
    save your texts on a micro sd card and store them in a new file on your computer. you can purchase a micro sd card at places like frys and even walmart. expect to pay between ten to fifteen dollars. A two gig card should hold about 2000 texts. hope this helps. =)

  34. ryuu,
    go to walmart or target and purchase a micro sd card, put it in you computer assuming you have a card reader (its standard on most computers made within the last 4-5 years) load up the music on it, then put it in your phone and access the music files that way. hope this helps. =)

  35. amanda,
    dont worry the floor models arent actual phones theyre just the shells. i own this phone and so does my girlfriend and once it opens to a certain point it slides out completely and locks, in order for it to close you have to apply a small amount pressure. iv had it for sixth months and its held up great. hope this helps. =)

  36. Is it possible to deactivate/disable the browser on this phone? I bought it, and I’ve mistakely hit the browser button about 8 times within only 3 days of owning it. I tried calling but they were closed and I feel impatient about this.

    Thanks tons!

    • Hi Kera
      I’m not aware of a way to disable the browser on this model, although you can ask Net10 to disable data services on your number. This would prevent you from EVER accessing the web or sending/receiving MMS messages, though.

  37. My problem was figuring out how to get pictures transferred to my laptop (using bluetooth or the USB cable.)

    After turning bluetooth on and clicking “my visibility”, my laptop had problems finding a driver. The same thing happened with the data cable, although with the data cable I could view stuff on my Micro-SD card, but still not the pictures on the actual phone memory. You have to tell the phone to make the pictures visible to Bluetooth!

    Go to menu/my folder/images/photos/options/*bluetooth visibility, select multiple, then select “add all” and save. Now you should be able to find them when browsing the phone’s files by the bluetooth connection.

    Another option(to clear off your phones memory and put them on the MicroSD card) is to move or copy pics from phone memory to micro-SC card memory (memory card)..go to menu/my folder/images/photos/options/#5 – move to memory card, then select “multiple”, next screen select all at the top of the screen, then click move at lower left. It will warn you of them reverting back to default, just click yes, then it displays the optional folders to move the pictures to. Highlight the folder you want to move photos to, click “options” at the lower left, then click “move to selected folder”.

    There are probably other ways to do this. The best option would be to have the camera initially store the photos onto the MicroSD card but I haven’t found that option yet.

  38. Pingback: Samsung t401g Net10 Review | Prepaidphoneguy's Blog

  39. Pingback: Samsung T401g Reviews Summary

  40. Does the LCD screen need a protective film put on it? Does it scratch easily? Also, twice so far, I’ve gotten text messages from two different people that were broken up into two messages, so I got charged for two messages. I checked with the people who sent them and they were not sent this way. Another time I only got the last few word of the text. Why would this happen? One other thing; my brother has a Droid (or some kind of fancy phone) and when he sent me a text it cost me one and one-half minutes. Is this the way it’s supposed to be? Can anybody answer these questions for me? Thanks

    • I have had the same experience with text messages split into 2 and thus double billed, so I’d also like to know why. Does not happen every time.

      I think that the cost of the text messages depends on the terms under which you bought the phone. I got mine under a 3¢ per text promotion and when I checked that’s what they were costing.

      I started with a film on mine but when it started curling at the corner I eventually took it off. Haven’t noticed any scratches, but then I always carry it in a holster.

  41. I have the Samsung Straight Talk T401G, and have NO clue how to set a signaute, I looked in the phone/messaging settings and have yet to find it, can anyone tell me how to set a signature!? Please Help ASAP.~Izzy =D

  42. I would like to download some apps from my church website of scriptures and manuals, but I don’t know which format the T401g uses. The offerings are: Android, Apple, BlackBerry, Palm, and Windows Mobile.
    Does anybody know which of these will work?
    Thanks.

    .

  43. This is my first cell phone, and I am totally ignorant of everything.

    I purchased a bluetooth wep200 for this phone, but cannot seem to get it working. Do I need to buy a usb cable or something???
    Exactly what do I need to use my ear piece with this phone. I followed directiions, but it is saying device not found. Do I need to hook this up to my computer first? Thank you for any help you can give me!

    • Hi Don
      Sometimes different BT headsets have different ‘quirks,’ but I think that most likely you’ll need to do the following:
      1. Turn on bluetooth in your t401g menu.
      2. Make your headset in “discoverable.” Consult the manual for the headset to figure out how to do this.
      3. On your phone, in the bluetooth menu, select “search for new device.”
      4. When your phone finds your new device, “pair” the two. You may need to enter a passcode, which is a number (usually for digits) that you should be able to find in the manual for the headset.
      Let me know if this helps.
      Good Luck!
      Patrick

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