The Samsung r451c is currently offered for $99.99 from Straight Talk’s site. It’s also $79.99 from Net10’s site, where you can get it for $71.99 if you use the discounts I recommend here: Net10 Promotional Codes.
The screen on the r451c is a big plus among the features of this model. It appears to be the same display as on the T401g. The TFT LCD screen measures 2.1” diagonally, or 176 by 220 pixels – it’s big and bright, and does a good job of displaying pictures taken with the camera.
The glossy coating on the display did cause some problems in direct sunlight viewing – while the screen is bright enough for outdoor use, I did sometimes have a problem with glare off the coating. I also had a slight problem with distortion when viewing the screen at an angle, though this display was better than most I’ve tested recently. Overall, I like the screen on the r451c.
The keypad, as I mentioned earlier in this review, has smaller, distinct keys as compared to the one-piece keypad on the T401g. In my opinion, the keys are maybe a little too small. I guess some people might prefer separate keys, but I’d rather have more surface area to strike when keying in a number. When dialing with my thumb, I had to be extra careful to push the keys due to the small size.
I preferred the T401g for dialing.
I also prefer the shortcut keys of the T401g. On that model, the directional pad and surrounding keys are raised. On the Samsung r451c, they are flat and level, making it more difficult to use those small keys.
The QWERTY keyboard has four rows of keys – the top three are primarily letters and common punctuation marks, while the bottom row is for the shift, fn, space, directional arrows and several shortcut keys. Surprisingly, the four-row layout didn’t feel any more cramped to me than the T401g – somehow, Samsung was able to get an extra 1/4” of space on the r451c’s slider, thus accommodating the extra row.
Which layout you prefer I guess is a matter of personal preference. The r451c has more rectangular keys, which are easier for typing, the layout also means that the letters on the edge of each row (Q, A, and Z, on the left; P on the right) are a little more awkward to reach. My personal opinion is that whichever layout you use, you’ll get used to it after a little practice.
The keys on the numeric keypad are hard plastic “chiclet” type keys, while the QWERTY keys are a softer, more rubbery material. I like the softer feel of the qwerty keybad, and found it fine for typing longer messages.
As I said in my review of the T401g, I’ve grown to like typing on a slide-out qwerty keyboard, and have quickly become quite fast at it. There is a negative, though, in that use of the qwerty keypad pretty much requires two hands. The numeric keypad, which can be used in conjunction with T9 predictive text, serves as a backup for very short messages or occasions when two-handed texting is not possible.
The menu on the Samsung r451c is different than that of the T#01g models recently released for TracFone and Net10. Mainly, the differences are just minor, such as the placement of a few menu items in different locations.
However, two bigger problems I had with this operating system were the slightly sluggish performance on some menu options, such as loading the camera. It’s not a big difference, but it is just a little slower than the T401g.
The biggest complaint, though, is that the short cut keys (up, down, left, and right on the main keypad) can not be customized by the user. I’ve explored all the menus and read the manual, and can’t find anyway to change them. They are preset to the following:
- up – Create new text message
- right – Sound settings (adjust ringtones and volumes)
- down – contacts menu (not directly to the contacts list, but the contacts menu – you’ll need an extra click to get to your list of contacts)
- left – messages menu
The right soft key, when at the home screen, is a shortcut to the web browser. This has been a problem on other models, but luckily it is not a problem on the r451c. Instead of loading the browser right away, the r451c asks you to “open slide,” and the browser will not load until you do so. So it actually ends up saving you money by preventing unwanted browser sessions.
The Samsung r451c can easily be connected to a computer using a standard Samsung USB data cable (such as these on Amazon). I was also able to connect to my PC as well as to other phones using bluetooth. I was able to transfer files from my r451c to my computer using either bluetooth or USB cable. Further, bluetooth worked great to transfer files between phones, too.
The bluetooth also worked fine for voice calls using my headsets, so I expect that it will 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 this function.
One other question that I get a lot is whether a phone can be used as a modem for dial-up internet access. I don’t have a dial-up internet account to test this, but even if I did I don’t believe it’s possible with the r451c. On other phones, I’ve noted that they include a menu option to set the phone as either “USB disk” or “USB Modem.” On the r451c, there is no “USB Modem” option. So if you need a phone that you can use to connect to the internet with your laptop, I don’t think this is the answer. If someone can prove me wrong, though, I’d be thrilled to hear about how you did it. Please let me know in the comments section.
Well, that’s all for this installment of the review; I’ll be back soon with yet another segment in which I’ll cover the fun stuff like camera, mp3 player, games, memory card slot, and other tools.
I’m going to wrap it up there for now. I’ll be back soon with more info on the camera, mp3 player, browser, and other features. As usual, I suggest you subscribe to my blog to receive email updates, and/or check out the Samsung r451c review index page for more content as it is posted.
If you want to post comments or ask questions about the Samsung r451c, please do so on the review summary page.