Straight Talk News – Samsung t528g Debuts, Nokia E71 and Nokia 6790 return

A couple of changes have taken place on Straight Talk’s site this week. I’ll deal with the less interesting items first. After a long time being unavailable from Straight Talk directly, both the Nokia E71 and the Nokia 6790 are once again showing up. You can check them out by clicking here. Take note, though, that if your local Walmart has these models in stock, you might want to check them out as the price may be cheaper in the store.

But most notably, the touch-screen Samsung T528g is also now available online. It’s priced at $99.99, and unlike those Nokia’s you can use it with the $30 plan. A couple of the noteworthy specs on this model include a 3.0-inch touch screen, 3G and WiFi, App-capable, and mp3 player.

To find this phone on Straight Talk’s site, click here.

And here’s the review index page for the Samsung t528g.

Motorola EX124g Review

Amid all the hype surrounding the new LG 800g touch screen phone, many users have been asking me when I will have a Motorola EX124g Review ready to publish. Unfortunately, I don’t know, but trust that I’ll be on top of it as soon as the phone is released. I don’t have a timeline for the release of this model yet, as usual, and Net10 isn’t tipping its hand either.

Further, I don’t know whether it will be Net10 only, or if we might also see the EX124g also for TracFone and/or Straight Talk. As I’ve said in other places, though, I am surprised that Straight Talk has waited this long to release another touch-screen device after the Samsung Finesse proved to be so very popular. Perhaps the Motorola EX124g is that touch-screen device people will be looking for on Straight Talk.

I was pleasantly surprised by the low cost of the LG 800g, and I am hopeful that the EX 124g will be similarly priced – hopefully well under $100. Also, here a list of expected features based on FCC filings and other information:

  • 3.2-inch touch screen display
  • 3.0 megapixel camera with video recording
  • Music player (as well as Mpeg4 video playback)
  • FM Radio
  • MicroSD card slot
  • Bluetooth

Just like the LG 800g, this will be a GSM-based device, operating on network coverage provided by AT&T and T-Mobile. At this point, the big differences between the two touch-screens, based on the tech specs alone, are a higher-resolution camera and FM radio on the Motorola. Another big question mark is how easy it might be to add Java apps to the Moto, as I’ve already heard of people adding a handful of useful apps to the 800g.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but rest assured that I’ll get to work on a full Motorola EX124g review as soon as the phone comes out. When I do, I’ll publish the reviews on my blog, and also update this page with links to any further info I find about this phone.



Straight Talk

TracFone, Net10 or Straight Talk Browser or MMS not working

This is a guest post from contributor “Otis 226,” regarding his recent activation of a TracFone CDMA handset (specifically, the LG 231c, although this advice could apply to any Trac, Net10, or Straight Talk device with a model number that ends with “c”). I think it may be helpful to others in troubleshooting their phones:

When I first activated this handset online, I was given a local area code number, but the phone indicated it was roaming. Even after multiple attempts at updating the phones PRL, (preferred roaming list), it still indicated ‘ROAM’ at the top of the internal screen.

I decided to contact Tracfone customer service, to see if they’d correct this for me, since I needed to be able to access the MMS and browser in order to complete this review. Some people may be aware that with the phone in roaming mode you cannot usually access your browser.

Well, the person I spoke to assured me that since this handset was a single rate model, meaning I would only be charged 1 unit of time per minute used, even when the phone was roaming, I shouldn’t worry about it and just go ahead and use it the way it was. At any rate, I explained to this customer service representative that I needed the phone to not be roaming so I could use my MMS and browser functions. After this, he had me input 3 strands of codes into the phone, and I got the indication on my main screen, ‘HOME’, (this is the first Tracfone handset I’ve used that actually said HOME when in my local area code).

My point in relating this story is that if I hadn’t known I needed to get the phone out of ROAM mode in order to use the browser, I’d have no idea why it wasn’t working, and would probably be spending more time than I wanted to with other Tracfone CSR’s trying to figure out the problem.

Nokia 6790 Straight Talk Review

Nokia 6790 Straight Talk Review

I haven’t written a full Nokia 6790 Straight Talk review, but here’s some helpful info: It is a touch-screen device with an accompanying slide-out qwerty keyboard. [Editor’s note: My mistake! The 6790 does NOT have a touch screen, as I had initially thought. I’m really sorry for the mistake, and thank several readers for pointing it out to me!] The GSM (AT&T and T-Mobile network) phone is available for Straight Talk, for $200. This phone also requires the $45 unlimited Straight Talk monthly plan – they will not let you use it with the $30 plan. Click here to get the full details from Straight Talk.

Nokia 6790

This is a legitimate “smart phone,” enhanced by the fact that Nokia has an app store with some very nice, polished applications. The phone also includes email functionality, instant messaging and facebook apps built in. These apps, as well as the web browser, will benefit from the phone’s 3G network capability.

Other features of the 6790 include the free voice-guided navigation, 2.0 Megapixel Camera and Video Recorder, microSD card slot, mp3 player and FM radio.

At this point, I don’t have specific plans to do a full-length Nokia 6790 review, but I’ll try to add a more detailed summary review at some point. In the mean time, if you have personal experience with this phone, please post it in the comments at the bottom of this post to help others make an informed buying decision.

Samsung t404g Review

Samsung t404g Review

Welcome to my Samsung t404g review index page. This model is available for Straight Talk and Net10. I hope to soon do a full critique of this phone, but for now I’ll use this page to publish what info I do have at this time. In the future, it will be an index with links to my full review of this device. (For now, click here to get more details from Net10, or here for Straight Talk.)

I don’t know a lot about the 404 at this point, but I DO know a lot about its closely-related predecessor, the Samsung t401g. They are GSM phones, meaning they operate on the networks of AT&T and T-Mobile. Both models include a qwerty keyboard, bluetooth (capable of transmitting data and files), mp3 player and microSD slot.

The biggest difference I see so far is that the new 404 includes a 2.0 megapixel camera, an upgrade over the 1.3 mp cam on the 401. I don’t know yet whether the video recorder on the new version records at a higher resolution than the predecessor.

Curiously, the newer version is currently selling for $10 LESS than the older model on Straight Talk’s website, and for the same price as the original on Net10’s site.

Keep an eye on this site for a full Samsung t404g review.

Nokia E71 Review Part 1 (Straight Talk Version)

Nokia E71 Straight Talk Review

General Overview

The Nokia E71 for Straight Talk is a GSM handset, meaning it will use the networks provided by AT&T or T-Mobile (and “rented” by Straight Talk). It is a slab-style device with a full QWERTY keyboard and 2.3 inch display.

Picture of Straight Talk Nokia E71The E71 is somewhat on the heavy side at 4.5 ounces. The dimensions are 4.5 inches tall, 2.25 inches wide, and just .4 inches thick. Further, its design contours make it seem very sleek and sexy. These dimensions make it very similar in size to the Samsung r355c, although 0.8 ounces heavier. Of course, the Nokia also provides a lot more functionality. Among the many features it offers are a 3.0 megapixel camera, QVGA video recording (15 fps), GPS and navigation software, microSD card slot, Wi-Fi, bluetooth, FM radio, 3G data, mp3 player, app support, and many more.


As the Nokia E71 has been available for post-paid GSM providers for about two years now, it will blend in nicely with other “regular” cell phones. There’s nothing cheap about the appearance of this model.

It is constructed of durable stainless steel and feels incredibly well-made. In fact, the very day that I got mine I lost it – it tumbled out the back of my bicycle storage pouch. I didn’t realize it until I got home from the 7-mile bike ride. I then retraced my route and found the phone laying on the side of the bike path. It apparently landed on the pavement, the battery popped out, and then everything landed to the side of the trail. When I found it, I held my breath and prayed that my $200 phone, which I’d owned for 3 hours, wasn’t trashed. When I re-inserted the battery, everything started up as it should have and the only noticeable scar was a scuff on the upper right corner of the phone.

I think this is a pretty strong testament to the durability of the device. In fell 2.5 feet to hard pavement, from a bike moving probably 12-15 mph at that point, and survived with just a scratch. The screen, the keypad, the housing and, as far as I can tell, all the internal components, appear to be completely unharmed. I can tell you I sure breathed a sigh of relief!

Beyond that, the phone just feels very solid and durable in the hand. It seems like it should be bulkier, but really it’s quite easy to carry in a pants pocket. The only possible downside, as I noted earlier, is the weight. But Nokia was really able to pack the device into a pretty small frame, so it feels dense but not bulky.

General Phone Function

So far I have been very pleased with the signal strength. I’ve been able to make calls in places where only my strongest handsets can connect to the network. I have questioned the accuracy of the “bars” meter at times, though.

As you may have heard, a similar issue caused some uproar among iPhone 4 owners over the summer as it came out that Apple, whether by accident or by design, had an incorrect algorithm determining what signal strength to display on the screen. This resulted in the phone’s screen showing 5 bars even in very low-signal areas.

I suspect there might be something similar going on here, as there have been times when I look at the phone and see 1 or 2 bars, but they drop to zero when I try to make a call. This has happened to me only in areas that I know to have very weak signals, though, and no other handsets that I’ve tried were able to make calls. I’m not overly concerned about it, since the actual performance is as good as I could expect, but it is worth noting.

I have also been very pleased with the call quality, both in transmission and reception. The audio coming through on calls sounds crystal clear to me, and other parties report that I sound great on their end as well. I am definitely happy with the E71’s performance in this regard.

The only negative I can come up with in terms of the phone performance is that speakerphone isn’t quite as clear as I would like, nor as loud. This could be a problem in especially loud environments, so I recommend using the regular earpiece output in these situations.

The battery life so far has been excellent. If you are leaving it mainly in standby mode and not using a lot of the features like apps and wifi, you can expect to get many days or perhaps even a week of standby (the official specs state a standby life of up to 17 days). Of course, if you are spending $200 on a phone as well as $45 in monthly charges, you’re probably going to be using this device for a lot more than just standby time.

Various features will, of course, drain the battery more rapidly than others. In particular, I used an app called “Joiku” (which I will discuss later), that uses both 3G data and WiFi.

That’s all I’ve got for now – I’ll post more next week with more answers to your questions, better pictures, and more detailed discussion of some of the features of this phone. To check out more specs on the E71 or to order it now, click here to visit Straight Talk’s website.

LG 620g Review Conclusion

I’m finally ready with the LG 620g review conclusion. To read earlier segments, use the following links:

LG 620g Review Index

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Click here to buy the phone at

Here’s the review conclusion:


I have been rather impressed with the browser on this model. I’m not sure whether the reason is that the phone is Straight Talk rather than the TracFone and Net10 handsets that I typically use, or if it’s related to the hardware of the 620g. Whatever the reason, the browser seems to load as quickly as any phone I’ve used from these three companies.

I also had no trouble navigating to any website I chose. Among those that I tried were Google, Wikipedia, Google Maps, Mapquest (which worked better than Google Maps), Yahoo mail, GMail, ESPN, and CNN. Page load times met my expectations, considering this model doesn’t use 3g data services. Still, I would say that page load much faster on this model than on old dial-up modem phone line connections. Much of that depends on the quality of the site, too. Any well-known site will have a version of the designed specifically for mobile phones, and they will load fine on this phone.

The organizational features are pretty good and include a calendar, alarm clock, note pad, calculator, world clock, task list, stop watch, and unit converter. One unusual feature, similar to the LG 420g for TracFone and Straight Talk, is a “secret notes” section where you can enter notes that are then protected by the phone’s “security code.” Beyond those functions, there’s a fairly versatile voice recorder, with pretty good recording quality and the ability to save VERY long recordings to your phone’s internal memory or to a microSD card.

The calendar function, as well as the alarm clock, work very nicely in my opinion. I’d like to have task list automatically incorporate into the calendar, but that‘s a minor complaint and might be something that would be limited to more complete smart phones rather than a pretty inexpensive feature phone such as this. All in all, if you stick to the calendar and the alarm clock I think this could be a handy organizational device.

The 620g comes with a couple of pre-loaded games, the same that were available on the LG 420g I reviewed recently. There’s a version of Sudoku that I don’t like much because there’s an annoying delay between when you press a key and when the cursor actually moves between squares. There’s also something called “mini game planet” that has 10 very simplistic mini games inside. You can unlock three of the ten to start out, then you’ll have to earn more “credits” by playing the games to unlock more. Some of these are moderately entertaining for the first few minutes, but they get boring pretty quickly.

However, there’s also apparently the ability to add your own java games, which you can download from the internet. This is something that I need to explore more with this model, but I’ve previously done something like this with my LG 600g and Samsung T401g. Here are some tips for adding games to this model (note that this applies to the LG 420g, but should work with this model as well). Hopefully I’ll soon have some more time to look at this more closely and do a full post only on adding games to the 620.

Other info on the LG 620g

I’ve found that the phone is rather slow to refresh the screen when it’s first slid open. This can be mildly annoying if you use your phone for the clock, as for the first second the screen lights up, it displays the time of previous time the screen was lit. It takes a second to refresh to the current time.

As I usually do in my reviews, I’m going to complain that this model doesn’t have voice-activated dialing. For some reason, Straight Talk seems to include this feature only on CDMA handsets, while this one is GSM.


I’ve found a lot of things I like about the LG 620g after using it extensively over the past several weeks. I really enjoy the large screen, compact size, excellent battery life, excellent signal reception, good voice quality, and flexibility in terms of ringtones. Further, the ringtone creator, 1.3 mp camera, mp3 player, and microSD card slot make the phone more fun and useful.

While I won’t personally make use of the organizer functions since I always carry my iPod and use apps on there, I think that the calendar and alarm clock would do the basics just fine if you need to set reminders and plan your schedule. And of course the video camera and voice recorder are nice little extras to have if you ever need them.

I also found some drawbacks. I don’t necessarily think the following list is very significant, but one of these items might be a deal-breaker for any one individual. So I’ll list them out, in the order of what I consider to be most important:

  • no voice-activated dialing,
  • proprietary headset or adapter is necessary if you want to use a wired headset for calls or music
  • no programmable shortcuts
  • no side rocker switch to change the call volume
  • takes too many keystrokes to change ringtone volume (although complete muting is easy)
  • flat keys on the directional pad are hard to get used to
  • menu navigation is a bit laggy at times

All in all, I have found that after a few weeks of using this as my only phone, the positives definitely outshine the negatives for me. I’ve really learned to love this little phone. I ported my primary phone number to Straight Talk just to write the LG 620g review, even though my usage pattern is really a better fit for Net10 or TracFone. But after using the 620g, even just for a few weeks, I think I’ll be pretty disappointed to switch back to a Net10 or TracFone handset. I may be persuaded to give up my landline and use this phone instead!

If you’re on the fence about this model, I strongly suggest you give it a try. As of this writing, the price is $69.99 with free shipping, plus a $30 or $45 airtime card to cover your first month, on Straight Talk’s site. And I’m not sure how long it will last, but they’re currently (September, 2010) offering a $15 gift certificate with all new phone purchases. Click here to check it out!

If you haven’t yet read the other parts of this review, but want to get some more details about the LG 620g, check out the following links:

LG 620g Review Index

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Click here to buy the phone at

LG 620g Review Part 3

Here’s part 3 of my LG 620g review. To read previous parts, check out the following links:

LG 620g Review Index

Part 1

Part 2

The 620g is currently available only as a Straight Talk device, though it might make an appearance on Net10 at a later time. For now, you can check out more details or buy the phone at


The 620g can be connected to a computer a couple of different ways, and I’ve found very few limitations in the connections. I have been able to transfer pictures, ringtones, mp3 files, videos, contacts, and even application files both by bluetooth and USB cable. Further, you can also use a removable microSD card to transfer files between the 620g and other devices.

I tried briefly to connect the phone for use as a USB modem, without success. When this model is plugged into a computer via USB, the user is presented with two options for the connection – mass storage, or USB modem. The mass storage modem, of course, allows for files to be transferred to or from the phone.

But when I selected “USB modem,” my computer began searching for an appropriate driver, which it never found. I poked around a few different sites on the web looking for a driver, but still couldn’t get the setup to work. Either way, I’m not too confident that the phone would work as a modem, since Straight Talk has previously been pretty careful about locking down options like that. And even if it did work, the connection would be very slow due to the GPRS connection offered on this device.

I had no problems with the bluetooth audio connection on the LG 620g either. As always, I skipped testing the phone with GPS units and navigation systems since I don’t have access to either of those. Based on previous experience with these phones, however, I think it’s a safe bet that the bluetooth connection will work for audio transmission and probably call answering and ending, but probably not for voice-activated dialing or any other advance services.

I also don’t know whether the mp3 player will play through a stereo bluetooth headset. Looking at the supported bluetooth profiles on the phone, I can see that it supports Advanced Audio Distribution (A2DP), which indicates it can transmit stereo audio over bluetooth. However, I don’t see any option in the mp3 player to change the audio output to bluetooth instead of wired headphones or the built-in speaker. This was the case even when the phone was paired with a bluetooth headset. The only headsets I have are mono, so that could be the problem. So I guess the answer there is simply that I don’t know whether the mp3 player can play through a bluetooth headset.


The LG 620g camera can take pictures at a resolution of up to 1.3 megapixels (1280 x 960). Other supported resolutions include VGA (640 x 480) and 320 x 240. Videos can also be recorded, but only at 176 x 144 resolution.

The camera offers the usual assortment of options such as super fine, fine, and normal quality settings; 2x zoom (but not at the highest quality settings); white balance and brightness manual adjustment; night mode; self timer; choice of several color settings such as sepia or black and white; and multi-shot mode.

Here are a couple sample photos and a sample video, all taken on the highest quality settings.

MP3 player

Right off the bat, I have a significant complaint with the mp3 player: the phone requires a proprietary headset (or possibly an adapter if you can find one). Unlike the Samsung r355c, which has a standard headset jack on it, the headset connector on this LG 620g is a microUSB port. That means that you’ll probably have to spend more money on accessories in order to listen to music. Of course you could use the built-in speaker, but that doesn’t produce good sound quality. And like I mentioned previously, I don’t believe that bluetooth is going to work for stereo audio. I ended up buying a headset on Amazon for around $10.

Beyond that complaint, the performance of the mp3 player has been alright. Audio quality is acceptable, but not good, through the headphones I bought. I can’t be sure whether the problem is the headphones or the device itself, but I suspect it’s a combination. The sounds just aren’t as sharp as I would like, even compared to my iPod and standard Apple headphones, which aren’t the highest quality for music playback.

On the plus side, there are a handful of preset “equalizer” options that actually do change the sound somewhat, if only minimally. The playlist function is also more user friendly than on previous Straight Talk phones. It definitely is far from perfect, as it takes a while to set up playlists especially if you have a lot of music on your phone. But once you have songs added to a playlist, you can then change the order within the playlist – something that is not possible, to my knowledge, with the Samsung mp3 player phones from Straight Talk. I also like the fact that the headset includes a button to start and stop playback right on the cord, eliminating the need to pull out the phone to pause music.

To sum up the mp3 player – it’s a nice feature to have, and it’s definitely handy to have a few songs on a microSD card for occasional use. But to take advantage of it, you’ll need special headphones. And if you already have a separate mp3 player you like, you’re not going to want to ditch that separate device for this phone, because the organization and audio quality on just about any other stand-alone music player will greatly surpass what’s available on this phone.

That’s all for now, next week I’ll be back to discuss some of the other features and to wrap it all up, including my final conclusion on the LG 620g review.

For now, you can check out more details or buy the phone at

LG 620g Review Part 1

General Overview

The LG 620g is a new slider GSM handset from Straight Talk. (Click here to check it out at For those who don’t know, GSM refers to the type of hardware in the phone, and this determines which network(s) the phone can use. In the case of GSM, a phone can use the networks of AT&T and/or T-Mobile. This is noteworthy because up until earlier this summer, only Verizon-based phones were available on Straight Talk’s service.

The 620 is a nice compact phone and pretty light-weight, weighing in at just 3.4 ounces. Especially when compared to the 4.4 ounce Samsung t401g I’ve been toting for the last 11 months, the 620g seems extremely sleek. The new phone is also a nice drop from the 4.1 ounce LG 290c from 2009.

The LG 620g has most of the features you’d expect from a feature phone at this price point. Namely, it offers a 1.3 megapixel camera, web browser, MMS messaging, voice recorder, mp3 player, FM radio (requires headset) MicroSD card slot, and video recording capacity, although the video will be at a max resolution of 176 x 144.

This device measures 3.75” x 1.75” x 0.6”. When the slider is opened, the phone measures 5.2” long. As I mentioned earlier, it’s very light weight compared to other phones that offer all of these features, and even compares favorably to very basic phones, like the LG 420g or 220c, in terms of size and weight.


The appearance of the 620g is a lot like the LG 290c, which is also available for Straight Talk but is a CDMA phone rather than GSM. There’s nothing flashy or outstanding about the appearance, just a basic vertical-sliding feature phone.

It’s black all over, with only very slight touches of chrome-ish sliver around the directional pad, earpiece and camera lens (on the back). The black body of the phone is not glossy like on the 220c, 420g, or 600g from LG.

The 2.2” screen consumes most of the face of the phone when it’s closed. Sliding the phone open reveals a basic numeric keypad with white numbers and letters on flat, separate, slightly raised keys.

The “LG” logo is printed just above the screen, and embossed on the rear battery cover. The only “prepaid” branding is in the form of a concentric-circle TracFone logo just below the screen and above the directional keypad, but this does not have any wording, just the circles. The display is free of any TracFone or Straight Talk branding, but does have the “Home” text that seemingly cannot be removed, as with previous phones.

The corners are somewhat rounded, but not as much as on the LG 420g or 220c. This contributes to a somewhat boxier look. Still, the LG 620g easily slides in and out of a pants pocket.

The construction of the phone seems solid, with a reliable slider mechanism that has very little “give” to it when the slider is open. The quality of material might at first seem a little suspect to some, due to the light weight of the device. I think this falls under the category of “you can’t please everybody” – if the phone was made of heavier materials, some people would complain that it’s too heavy. And when it’s made of light materials, others will say it feels cheap. In my opinion, you need to consider that cell phones these days are usually exchanged every 2 years. I’m sure that this model will last at least that long and beyond.

In my next post, I’ll cover the general function as a phone, including signal reception, audio quality, volume, and battery life. So far, I must say I’m happy with these aspects. But I’ll get into more details next time.

(Click here to check out this phone at

LG 620g Review

LG 620g Review

EDIT: I’ve now completed my LG 620g review. To read each segment, use the following links:

LG 620g Review Index

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3


Click here to buy the phone at


Now that I’ve finished working with the LG 420g, I can get started on my LG 620g review. I received this phone a couple of weeks ago, but decided first to finish up on the 420g, which I had already activated.

The 620g, as indicated by the “g” at the end of the model number, is a GSM phone. This is fairly new for Straight Talk, which started out with only Verizon-based CDMA coverage. The Samsung t401g and the aforementioned 420g were the first two GSM phones for Straight Talk, with this new model following close behind. It is now available from Straight Talk for $69.99.

I’ll be using the 620g as my primary phone for a while here, so I should be able to get a very good understanding of it over the coming weeks. I haven’t activated the phone yet, but I’ve taken it out of the package and looked over it a bit. Here’s what I can tell you so far:

It looks like a blend of the older Samsung t301g and the LG 290c, which has been available for Straight Talk as well as TracFone and Net10 since the fall of 2009. I expected it to be a lot like the 290c. The 620 offers a few more features, however, including an mp3 player, microSD card slot, FM radio, and video recorder. The video records at 176×144.

Unfortunately for those of us hoping to make use of the mp3 player capability, the headset jack is in the form of a microUSB connector, so we’ll have to either purchase an adapter or a special headset to listen to music. I haven’t yet figured out whether bluetooth is an option for listening to music, but I’ll give it a try.

It appears that the display on the 620g is also the same as on the 290c, which is a little higher resolution than we’re used to with Trac/Net10/Straight Talk phones. I am only observing this visually without comparing it side-by-side with the 290c, which I don’t have with me presently. But I’ll definitely dig into that a little more as I get into the full LG 620g review.

A couple of other initial impressions thus far: this new model is definitely lighter than the 290, and some people might interpret this as feeling a little more cheaply made. The slider mechanism seems solid, though. And one criticism I can make is that there is no volume rocker on the side of the phone, which will make it a little harder to adjust the volume in-call.

I don’t know yet whether it will be available for Net10 or TracFone, but I’ll get started on the Straight Talk review right away. Stay tuned!

In my next post, I’ll have some more info about the Samsung t401g, then get back to the LG 620g review next week.