Part 3 of my Samsung T401g review is here. There’s a lot to talk about with this model, so this review is long even by my standards. For those of you that just want the overview, I’ll be back with a summary next week, so feel free to skip this one. If you’re seriously interested in this phone, though, take a read through – I’ll think you’ll find some things that interest you.
Also, note that all of the info related to this phone will be posted here on my Samsung T401g Review Index Page.
Without a doubt, this is the most capable camera I’ve tried yet for Trac/Net10. It takes photos at settings up to 1.3 megapixels (1280×1024), as well as lower resolutions if you choose. As I’ve said previously on this blog, the 1.3 mp resolution should provide enough detail for some 4×6 or maybe 5×7 prints (photog enthusiasts, please correct me if I’m wrong!). However, like most camera phones, this one lacks a flash, so any photos will end up looking muddy if there isn’t adequate lighting. Here are a couple of pics I took with the T401g on the highest resolution; first an outdoor shot, then a pic in standard indoor lighting situation:
The T401g camera also offers the following options
timer (3, 5, or 10 second delay)
single, multi, and mosaic shot
white balance including settings of automatic, daylight, incandescent, fluorescent, and cloudy
special effects such as black and white, negative, sepia, emboss, sketch, antique, moonlight, and fog
Once a photo is taken, you can attach a voice note, which is an interesting option. There are also a few editing options you can add after a photo is taken. These include: black and white, sepia, negative, blur, sharpen, sketch, posterise, and solarise. You can adjust the brightness, color, and contrast; rotate or flip the image; or add a frame, emoticon, or clipart.
And of course there’s the camcorder option on the T401g, a first for Net10 phones. It is definitely fun to have the option there, but the resolution is just 176×144. I recorded a couple of test videos, and they looked somewhat blurry or pixelated even on the phone’s screen. Of course, displaying the video on a larger screen only aggravate the problem. So you probably wouldn’t want to rely too much on this camcorder, but if you’ve got nothing else it is a nifty little feature to have. Here’s an example video I recorded using the T401g.
One great thing about the Samsung T401g is the variety of options for getting pictures off the phone:
Email: Of course, there’s the old standard of emailing the photo to yourself, using up your airtime in the process. One picture that I sent cost a total of 3.5 units to send, and the file was resized from 330k to around 90k in order to fit in the message.
Bluetooth: If your computer has bluetooth, that’s an easy way to upload pictures from the T401g. While viewing a photo, select “send via blutooth” and it will be sent to your computer.
Memory card: If you have a microSD memory card installed (and they’re pretty inexpensive, so it makes sense to have some extra memory), you can manually move any photo to the memory card, then remove the memory card and use your computer to copy the image off the memory card.
USB – For some reason, this only works if you have a memory card installed – the USB cable I have could read only the memory card, not the phone’s internal memory. But it was still an easy process then to copy files from the memory card to my computer – just drag and drop.
I haven’t tried this personally, but when viewing any photo on your phone, there’s an option to “print via bluetooth.” My assumption is that if you have a Bluetooth-enabled printer, you could print directly that way.
The Motorola EM326g attracted a lot of attention earlier this summer for its mp3 player. Well, the Samsung T401g actually does a better job of it, in my opinion. In my review of the EM326g, I noted that the audio quality wasn’t the best. That is not the case with this model.
The Samsung T401g mp3 player produced very nice sound quality. I compared the audio output to my PC using windows media player. I listened to the same song, using the same headphones, and to my ears they sound very similar – rich, full sound as compared to the flat sound I noticed on the EM326g.
The setting options within the player are fairly limited. There is no equalizer function to adjust the sound, but there are ten playlists of 50 entries each that can be customized by adding songs manually.
I was also happy with the wide volume range. On the Motorola, the volume moved up or down too much with each click on the volume adjustment. As a result, I was sometimes stuck on a volume that was too loud, yet if I adjusted it down it became too quiet. So basically, my ideal volume was often somewhere in the middle of two settings on the Motorola dial. The Samsung allowed for much finer volume adjustment.
The built-in speaker actually played the music at a respectable quality, and good volume. I would compare it maybe to an old AM radio – not great, but not terrible. If you’re listening to much music, though, you’ll want to listen through a different set of headphones or speakers. Unfortunately, that brings me to something I didn’t like.
The audio output jack is a Samsung proprietary connector, which means that listening to this device through headphones is not as simple as plugging in the headphones you already own. Instead, you’ll need to either get separate Samsung-branded headphones, or find an adapter to convert from the Samsung jack to a standard 3.5mm jack. I got this one for about $6, and it works pretty well: http://bit.ly/LgABp. It seemed like the fit wasn’t quite right when I first plugged it in to the phone, but I haven’t had any problems with it coming out.
Another issue that I had with this particular adapter is that on my headset with a built-in mic, the mic didn’t work through the adapter. So you might want to look for something different if you want to use the same headset for listening to music and talking on the phone.
And, as I mentioned in a previous segment of this review, there is the option of using bluetooth for audio playback. As far as I can tell, and bluetooth stereo headset should work with this model.
Anyway, aside from needing to buy the adapter, I was very happy with the mp3 player.
The next thing people ask about when I review new phones is the quality of the browser. It’s probably no surprise here, but once again the browser is limited to Trac/Net10′s version of the web containing ringtone downloads, headlines, sports, and weather, and not much else. The browser seemed pretty slow when I tried it, similar to any of the previous Net10 phones.
The organizer functions are also pretty standard, offering the exact same options as the Samsung T-series models that were released last spring. Here’s what I wrote about those:
The organizational tools are pretty standard among modern phones. The tools menu offers the following:
Alarms – St up to 3 different alarms, with the option of making it repeat for any combination of days you choose. You also have the option of changing the tone from 5 pre-loaded tones (but not custom tones), and unlike the “calendar” function, you do have the option of settingup a snooze.
Calendar – This function offers quite a few features, with the ability to enter an appointment, anniversary (meaning a repeating event, I guess), task, or miscellaneous items. The calendar can then be viewed by day, week, month, or item type. The calendar can store up to 100 items, and repeating events (i.e. the same item occurs every day at the same time) take only one memory slot regardless of how many times it repeats. I did have a couple of minor gripes with this function, but they may not be of great importance to you: 1) I couldn’t find a way to set the default entry mode in the calendar subjects to be T9 entry. Every time I set a new calendar event, I had to switch to T9 before proceeding, and 2) I could not find a way to set a “snooze” function on the calendar events.
Calculator – This calculator is the easiest to use of any cell phone calculator I’ve ever used, mainly because each function is assigned to a specific key, and the map to those keys is displayed on the screen at all times. Also, the calculator allows for parentheses to be used, which means you can do some basic algebra on here if you really want to.
Tip Calculator – Enter the total cost of your meal, enter the tip percentage you want applied, and then enter the number of people splitting the bill (if applicable). The calculator then will determine the amount to be paid by each party.
Converter – Another very handy feature. Convert between different units of Currency (although I’m not sure how the phone determines conversion rates on this one), length, weight, volume, area, and temperature.
Timer – Enter a time and the timer will count down, alerting you when the time as elapsed.
Stopwatch – Count-up type timer, with up to 30 splits possible.
World time – Find out what time it is around the world.
SIM app. – I haven’t played around with this yet because I didn’t want to risk disabling my phone, but this appears to be the function that can unlock the phone for use on other services. With TracFone or Net10, though, it’s important to note that if this feature is indeed functional, there will be no going back to TracFone/Net10 if you do unlock it. Anyway, I suspect that the phone cannot really be unlocked, as has been the case with all phones released by TracFone or Net10 in the last two or three years.
Another feature that’s going to be important to some people are the ringtones. While this phone comes with a selection of ringtones, it’s also possible to download mp3 tones from Net10 (at a price). But more importantly, users can play their own mp3 files for ringtones. However, in that case the file must be under 300k for it to work.
There are a number of websites that offer free ringtone downloads. If you do this, I recommend downloading the file to your computer, then transferring to the phone by bluetooth, USB, or memory card.
One extra that is still missing, and something that I’ll continue to complain about until it’s available on all new phones, is voice dialing. The new LG CDMA phones that just came out have it, and in my opinion it’s a big safety feature as well as a convenience.
Well, if you’ve read this far, thank you! This might be my longest post ever. I’ll be back next week to summarize everything and go over anything else that I think of between now and then. If you have any suggestions of anything else you’d like me to cover, please make note of it in the comments section below this post and I’ll do my best to get to it. I’ll also try to get my pictures of this model posted over the weekend.
If you’re looking for more of my info about this phone, check out the Samsung T401g Review Index Page.