Samsung t528g Review
This is the first installment of my detailed Samsung t528g review, which I’ve broken down into installments to make it easier to manage. For more about this phone including links to other portions of the review (as they are published), please see this review index page.
The Samsung t528g is a GSM phone, using the AT&T and T-Mobile networks. It’s also 3G-capable, which will provide much faster data transmission than the previous EDGE technology offered by most previous Straight Talk (and TracFone and Net10) GSM phones. Another nice feature on the t528g is Wi-Fi. If you are within range of a hotspot, you’ll (most likely) get even faster data connections using Wi-Fi than on 3G.
It’s a candy-bar-shaped touch-screen phone (no physical QWERTY keyboard), and looks quite narrow and sleek. Measurements are 4.33″ x 2.01″ x 0.47,” with a weight of 3.24 ounces. The overall appearance is very long and narrow to me especially when compared side-by-side with the LG 800g and Motorola EX124g from TracFone and Net10. This compactness makes it easy to carry, but also could potentially be somewhat limiting on the screen size. In this case, however, I don’t feel like the screen (3.0 inches) is cramped.
The feature list also includes a host of interesting items:
- Touch screen
- Mp3 player
- Java support (games/apps)
- Facebook/MySpace apps included
- E-mail apps
- MicroSD card slot (up to 32 GB)
- Voice recognition
- 2.0 megapixel camera
- Video Recorder
- Mp3 ringtone support
- HAC compatible
- Bluetooth capable
- Handsfree speaker
It also has all the other things you’d expect on a phone these days, such as MMS/SMS, voice mail, callerID, alarm, calendar, calculator, stop watch, etc. And it has a huge phone book, with room for 2000 entries.
I really like the appearance of this phone. I’m comparing it to the two other recent prepaid touch-screens I’ve seen lately (LG 800g and Motorola EX124g), and this is the best-looking device of the three in my opinion. I don’t think anyone will be able to tell at first glance that it’s a prepaid phone, unless they recognize the small TracFone logo just above the screen.
I think it also feels the most solid and well-constructed of the three phones. I don’t have any concerns about the durability of this device, although I would suggest using an adhesive screen protector to guard against scratches that might impair the clarity of the display.
And due to the rounded corners and slim chassis of the t528g, it’s extremely easy to slide in and out of a pocket, and while carrying it in a pants pocket I found myself forgetting it was even there. Possibly the only complaint I have here is that it would be nice to have a little better texture on the sides and back of the phone. As it is, the glossy finish can make it somewhat prone to slipping out of your hand. Both the EX124g and the 800g have a tackier texture on the sides and/or back, making for a more secure grip.
General Phone Function
The call quality has been good if not great. I compared it side-by-side with each of the following phones: Nokia E71, Motorola EX124g, LG 900g, and LG 800g. Of these five phones, the Nokia was definitely my favorite in terms of audio fidelity. As I noted in my initial review of that device, audio was crystal clear. After that, things are very evenly matched among the phones. The Motorola might have a slight edge in this category, but at most I would say it’s half a point on a ten-point scale, if anything. Rounding out the group was the LG 800g, which was a notch below the others due to a slight hissing in the background. I would score the group as follows:
Nokia E71 – 10
Moto EX124g – 8.5
Samsung t528g – 8.0
LG 900g – 8.0
LG 800g – 7.5
Signal reception so far has been very good for me. I have found that it pulls in a signal wherever any other GSM handset can pick it up, even in fairly weak areas. I have also seen a few other reports on the web that the reception has exceeded expectations.
The volume on calls is good both through the earpiece and on speaker phone, although the distortion at the higher volume settings was a little distracting on speakerphone. It wasn’t anything that prevented me from using the phone at that volume level, though.
Ringtone volume is very good on the included ringtones. You can also have custom ringtones whether you create your own or download them from a site like myxer.com. I was unable to set a full song as a ringtone, but increments of up to 30 seconds worked for me.
The t528g allows for separate ringtones for individual contacts or for groups of contacts. You can also assign message tones to individual contacts, but you’ll have to choose from among the 8 pre-set message alert tones. For your general text message tone, though, your options include the default text tones as well as the pre-installed voice call ringtones.
Battery life for me has been less than three days with moderate usage, but I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I set up my t528g to link to my email account, so the phone is regularly (it seems like once every 15-20 minutes) going out and checking whether I have any new messages. Without setting up email, I think you could expect to charge this phone just twice per week, although three times a week might be a more likely scenario for Straigh Talk users.
In addition to the email, another way to drain the battery fast is to stay connected to wi-fi and/or bluetooth. Wi-fi and bluetooth each require separate radios inside the phone, and running these features regularly will sap your power.
I’ll wrap up this section of the review here, but I’ll have more about this phone later this week or early next week. If you’re convinced now that the Samsung t528g is right for you, check out more at StraightTalk.com.