This is the first installment in my Samsung s425g review. As I publish more parts, I’ll update them on the review index page.
The Samsung s425g debuted in the second half of 2012 and is currently available for Straight Talk ($59.99) and TracFone ($49.99). It is a GSM device, operating on the networks of AT&T or T-Mobile.
The 425g, which has a side-sliding QWERTY keyboard form factor, appears to be an update on the previous t401g and t404g from Samsung. As compared to either of those models, this one appears to be a solid upgrade.
The most noticeable improvement over those models is the more compact, lightweight design of the s425g. It weighs in at about 4.1 ounces and is much svelter than its predecessors with dimensions of 4.5 x 2.1 x 0.6 inches.
This model is a little sparse on features as far as current phones go, with the aforementioned slide-out keyboard being the most noteworthy feature. You’ll also get a 2.0 Megapixel camera with 4X digital zoom as well as Bluetooth, support for Java apps, and a microSD card slot that can accomodate cards up to 32GB. And if you are looking at the TracFone version of this device, you’ll get Triple Minutes for Life.
The appearance of the S425g is a very basic, almost to the point of looking utilitarian, but I rather like it. The block-print “SAMSUNG” logo is above the screen, and the America Movil concentric circles are stamped below. Only the basic numeric keypad is visible at first, along with the standard Send, End, left and right soft keys, the directional pad, and two hard-wired shortcut keys.
The screen looks rather large, giving the appearance that it consumes half the front face of the phone. But what really gets my attention here is the compactness of the s425g – at first glance it doesn’t seem possible that there’s a full qwerty keyboard hiding anywhere in this phone. It looks and feels very slim. The nicely rounded corners further contribute to this appearance.
On the upper left edge is the volume rocker, and lower down that same side is microSD card slot. On the upper right side is the power/USB connector, and at the lower right are two buttons. The first is a camera key, which will open the camera from the main menu, or function as the shutter button when you are actually in camera mode. The other button is a “multitasking key.” According to the owners manual, this key “opens the application switch window that allows you to select from a group of applications without having to exit from the currently active application. These options include Call, Messages, Browser, Music Player, Games, and End all.”
During my time with the phone I’ve found it very easy to carry, largely because of the compact stature. While it’s obviously all plastic, it nonetheless has a solid, durable feel to it. The slider mechanism works smoothly and provides a nice solid “ker-chunk” when it’s opened or closed. It doesn’t make me worry about the long-term durability.
General Phone Function
I have found the reception to be very good, though it still falls short of the amazing Motorola w376g, the signal-magnet standard-bearer of old TracFones. I have yet to experience a dropped call with the Samsung s425g.
Call audio quality is likewise very good, in both directions, far exceeding my expectations based on prior experience with Samsung prepaid phones.
Volume is excellent as well, both for phone calls and for ringtones. Speaking of ringtones, you’ll get good flexibility in terms of custom ringtones. It’s easy to use sounds either recorded through the phone’s own built-in recorder, or those that you transfer to the phone by USB or bluetooth. However, be warned that you will not be able to use full-length songs as ringtones or alarm alerts.
This phone is a real workhorse in terms of battery life. The stated times are 6 hours of talk time or a whopping 12.5 days. In practical, every-day use, I can easily go a week without charging this phone. For a point of reference, I go typically through about 150 minutes per month, pretty much equally mixed between voice calls and texting.
That’s all I’ve got on this model for now, but I’ll be back soon with more information about the Display, keypad, connectivity, camera, and extras, as well as my final recommendation. For those of you who can’t wait that long, though, I think it’s safe to say that if you are looking for “dumb phone” with a qwerty keyboard, this is a good one to go with.