Please note that this is a follow-up to my Samsung T201g review part 1, which you can find here.
General Phone Function
The signal reception pulled in by the Samsung T201G is okay, but not great. I was surprised to find that, in a few “fringe” areas, the T201G was not able to make a call, while the T301G could. I can only assume, based on this, that the components of the T301G are superior to those in this model.
I was also not entirely pleased with the call quality on this model. It was fairly similar to the T101G, and this is what I wrote about that model:
“I had [some] difficulty understanding the people I was trying to talk to. It sounded a little like what you’d expect to hear from, say, a fast-food drive through intercom, tinny and muffled. I noticed this most when I tried to turn up the volume to compensate for background noise while riding in a car. The distortion seems to be greatest at higher volume levels. In fairness, I offered this phone as well as the T201G to my friend who has owned a Samsung AT&T phone for a year, and he thought both phones sounded fine. So I guess he’s used to the Samsung speaker, and I’m not.”
I should also note here that within the menu system, there is an option to enable “HAC Mode.” This is designed to aid people that use hearing aids. However, I found it to improve the sound quality over all for me as well.
I also asked the other parties on my calls how I sounded to them, and they all agreed that my voice sounded somewhat distorted. They didn’t necessarily say that I was hard to understand, just that I didn’t quite sound like myself.
In comparing the three Samsungs, I found a noticeable, though insignificant, upgrade in call quality for each of the models. The T301G sounds best of all, and T101G is the worst. The 201 falls in the middle, but closer to the 101 than the 301. For the same amount of money, you can buy other Net10 or TracFone models that will provide better sound quality.
Again, quoting from the T101G review:
“The speaker phone works well enough, considering the aforementioned distortion. Actually, as far as that goes, I think that most phones have some distortion on speaker phone, so the [T201G] is just about on par with the speaker phone on most other models that I’ve tried. The max volume on the speaker phone was a little louder than the max on a Moto [w260], and voice quality at the max volume was pretty comparable.
The speaker was fairly easy to access once a call was connected – just press the “ok” button in the center of the directional keypad. However, like some of the LG models available for TracFone, the call must actually be connected, meaning the person you are calling must pick up, before the speaker phone can be activated. On the other hand, the speaker phone on the w175 can be activated as soon as a call is placed, which to me makes a lot more sense.
The ringtone volume is quite loud – louder than the LG’s I’ve tried lately and as loud as the recent Motorolas. Especially using the pre-loaded tones, I was easily able to set the phone to play LOUD ringtones. The mp3 tones that I downloaded weren’t quite as loud, though, but that’s also been my experience with other phones from a variety of manufacturers.
The battery life is pretty good on this phone. It doesn’t have a lot of features like games, bluetooth, or camera to drain the battery, and I think that helped save the power. However, I used it quite a bit, browsing the web, downloading tones, text messaging and making probably 40-50 minutes of test calls during my review process, and so far it has been on 3 full days and the battery meter still shows two bars remaining out of five.”
Display and Keypad
The display looks nice and sharp, and is a an acceptable size for a phone in this price range. The main display is crisper than the Moto w260, but fell short of the clarity offered on the LG 600g and LG 400.
The T101G menu layout is acceptable. The main menu is easy to read, and for the most part the menus are pretty easy to navigate. However, I did notice a couple quirks where the navigation wasn’t intuitive to me. Specifically, in editing the different sound profiles (i.e. outdoor, silent, quiet, etc), I had trouble remembering what keystrokes would bring about my desired results. I think this might be due to the fact that there were more “layers” of menu options to perform these tasks, so it took me longer to figure it all out. Once you get “deeper” than the main menu, the directional keys don’t do the same thing for each menu, which is a little confusing at first. Further, this requires that some menus be memorized, as it’s impossible to see them without knowing they are there.
Another thing I didn’t particularly like was the function of the text message menu. The T9 predictive text editor works very well for creating a message. But the problem that I have is that, when you have a new message, it can take too many clicks to get to the message and either read or delete it. This is a rather minor annoyance and hopefully is something that will become less annoying as I become more familiar with the phone, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
A major drawback of the text messaging function is that when you receive a new text message, you can see just the first several characters of the message, but you CANNOT see who it is from until you open it. This is the case with all the Samsung models that I’ve tested, and is especially problematic when you take into account that you are not charged for a text message until you open it. Therefore, if you knew who the message was from, you might be able to delete it before reading it and thus save a few minutes.
I was pleased, though, with how fast and responsive the menu navigation was. I didn’t notice any lag time between pressing keys and moving through the menu, nor is there a delay when loading any menus. And text messages are sent very quickly. I know many readers had complained about the time it takes for some other TracFone models to actually send a text message, but that is definitely not a problem with this model.
I also liked the feel of the keyboard. It’s not completely flat and smooth as on the Motorola w-series, nor is it as raised and distinct as on the Kyocera. The keys are just slightly rounded, like little bubbles, and provide a good tactile “click” when pressed. The directional keypad is as flat as the rest of the keypad, though, and this was a problem for me. I found it somewhat difficult to maneuver the keypad, as I kept accidentally pressing either the “clear” or “ok” keys instead of the arrow I meant to press. The Directionals are slightly raised on both the 101 and 301 models, which make them easier to use.
The right soft key is coded to activate the web browser. This key cannot be reprogrammed, which can be a problem when you accidentally activate the browser and cause units to be deducted. The four directional keys, on the other hand, can be customized to provide shortcuts to your most-used menu options.
To find out how to save $8 on this phone, click here.
If you want to read more about this phone, continue on to the Samsung T201g Review part 3.