It may be new, but the Samsung Entro is a blast from the past. It harkens back to a time before smartphones, before camera phones, even before 3G. It’s an absurdly inexpensive ($14.99) little flip phone with plans as low as $20 per month on Virgin Mobile. You really can’t do anything with it other than make calls or send text messages, but if that’s all you need, it’ll be just fine.
Design and Call Quality
The Samsung Entro measures 3.83 by 1.84 by 0.65 inches (HWD) and weighs 2.99 ounces. It’s made entirely of black plastic with a lightly textured finish. There are two Volume buttons on the left, and that’s it as far as external controls are concerned. The 1.07-inch external display shows the time, date, battery reception, and battery life at a glance, and will show the name or number for incoming calls.
Flip it open to use the Entro’s solid number pad. They backlit keys are large and well-spaced, but a little flat. Above it is a directional pad with a Select button in the middle, along with buttons to start and end a call, go back, and activate the speakerphone. It’s a pretty standard setup. The internal 1.8-inch display features 160-by-128-pixel resolution. It’s really tiny, though text is a decent size and readable.
A single-band (1900 MHz) CDMA device with no Wi-Fi, the Entro runs on Sprint’s nationwide 2G 1xRTT network. Reception and call quality are average. Volume gets very loud in the earpiece, but the higher the volume the worse calls sound. Calls made with the phone sound relatively clear, with decent noise cancellation. The speakerphone is very clear, but not quite loud enough to hear outdoors.
The Entro’s Nuance-powered voice control app works very well. You can use it to make calls or send text messages, or even to open the phone’s Web browser. Unfortunately, there’s no Bluetooth support, so you can’t use it to control the phone wirelessly. Battery life was on the short side of average, at 5 hours and 1 minutes of talk time.
Virgin’s contract-free payLo plans start at $20 per month for 400 voice minutes, to $30 per month for 1,500 minutes, 1,500 text messages, and 30MB of data, or $40 per month for unlimited talk, text, and 50MB of data. If you only need a phone for very occasional use, $20 per month is a good deal, but it’s hard to go wrong with any of these plans.
Apps, Multimedia, and Conclusions
The user interface is responsive and simple to use. The home screen displays all of the same information as the external display, and gives you quick access to your contacts and text messages. The main menu features nine different shortcuts, but there really isn’t much you can do aside from change some settings. There’s no microSD card slot, and you only get 18MB of free space, but that’s not a big deal because there’s nothing to fill it up with.
There are no email or IM clients, though you can still access email through the Access NetFront 3.5.1 browser. The browser pulls in WAP pages, but the screen is so small, and the 2G speeds are so slow, you can pretty much count Internet out on this phone. Multimedia is out, too. There’s no music player, video player, camcorder, or camera.
For text messages, you’ll need to type out letters using the number keys. That can be tedious, but at least the number keys are big. The Entro displays messages individually, or threaded, in conversation style.
There’s nothing exciting about the Samsung Entro—it’s all about utility. And if you all you need is a phone to make calls and send the occasional text message, the Entro should get the job done. It’s also the least expensive phone available on Virgin, and maybe the cheapest phone available anywhere. The Samsung Montage and the Kyocera Loft S2300 will both get you a keyboard and some basic multimedia features, and both cost less than $50. Of the two, we prefer the Montage for its better battery life and camera. The Samsung Factor on Boost Mobile is another inexpensive flip phone like the Entro, and it gets you a camera and Bluetooth support.
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|Screen Details||160-by-128-pixel TFT LCD|
|Battery Life (As Tested)||5 hours 1 minutes|
|High-Speed Data||CDMA 1X|
|Form Factor||Flip Phone|
|Processor Speed||480 MHz|
|Screen Size||1.8 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||18 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc