Samsung T201g – Stuck in the middle
The Samsung T201G, currently available for Net10, just doesn’t get me too excited. I have been meaning to complete this review for a while now, but more interesting topics seem to pop up every time I’m ready to put out the T201 review. So I kept putting it off. That seems to be a metaphor for performance of the phone – it’s there and it works, but it’s nothing too exciting.
I bought the T201G for Net10 back in early April when it first came out, and activated it shortly thereafter. It has been my backup phone ever since, and I’ve used it for about 150 minutes of talk time, but I just don’t find it that inspiring.
It’s a mid-range phone for Net10, which to me means it’s not the cheapest phone available, but not the most expensive either (currently $40 for Net10). The Motorola W375, which includes a camera and also offers better voice quality, in my experience, is $10 less at $29.99. The LG 400G is also available for $29.99. I would say that either of these models would be a better choice than the T201G.
On the higher end, Net10 also offers the LG 600G, with a camera and unrestricted bluetooth, for $39.99. (Note, you can read my full review of the LG 600G here). There’s also the Motorola W377, also featuring bluetooth and a VGA camera, which is not available directly from Net10′s site but does seem to be out there somewhere.
And finally, there’s the Motorola EM326g , which is priced at $59.99. The 326g is a slider that features bluetooth, a 1.3 megapixel camera, microSD slot for additional storage, and mp3 player. I reviewed it in detail here (Motorola EM326g), and I expect it to be a big hit with Net10 customers.
These are all just the Net10 alternatives – there are even more options for TracFone users, and the T201G, if it is released for TracFone, falls short of many of them in some pretty significant ways. And regardless of whether you want to save money by forgoing some of the features, or if your willing to pay extra for some of the nicer options, you’ll be better served by other models in my opinion.
Still, I’m putting together a review of this phone to evaluate it in key areas. It’s pretty similar in most respects to the T101G, which I’ve already reviewed, so you’ll probably notice a similarity in the reviews if you take the time to read them both. In cases where the two phones are nearly identical, I’ve simply quoted from my T101G review and made the appropriate adjustments to tailor it to the T201G.
The Samsung T201G is a GSM phone (i.e. the network coverage is provided by AT&T and T-Mobile) in a clamshell, or flip-phone, design. It weighs 2.98 ounces and measures 3.46 inches high, 1.76 wide, and .79 thick. It’s a very basic model, lacking a camera, bluetooth, mp3 player, memory slot, and qwerty keyboard.
It does offer downloadable ringtones, mobile web, and an external screen, though the external screen lights only when a call or text message is received, or immediately after closing the phone. This was disappointing to me as I like to be able to use my phones for the clock, and there was no way to view the clock on the T201G without opening the phone.
The appearance of the phone is fine for a basic phone, I think, but there’s nothing that really makes it stand out, either. Whether it’s better than comparably priced models for TracFone or Net10 is a matter of opinion, of course.
The T201G is sleek and fairly lightweight, and slides easily in and out of my pocket. The external screen is nice but I can’t imagine why Samsung wouldn’t give us a way to view the external screen by pushing one of the external buttons. This really lowers the usefulness of the external screen, in my opinion. [EDIT 7/15/09 - I've recently been informed by a visitor to this site that the external screen DOES light up when push and HOLD one of the external buttons for a few seconds. It's not as convenient as a one-touch activation, but it's better than nothing.]
To find out how to save $8 on this phone, click here.
To continue reading the rest of the review, click through to Samsung T201g review part 2.