Cell phone reviews: Samsung Freeform II SCH-r360 and the Pantech Laser
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Today we'll look at two messaging cell phones from opposite ends of the spectrum: the Samsung Freeform II SCH-r360 and the Pantech Laser. Separated by both price and features, either one of these phones may suit your needs, depending on whether you're looking for something basic or more substantial.
The Samsung Freeform II is a basic messaging phone for MetroPCS subscribers. It comes with a standard feature set and a full QWERTY keyboard for the affordable price of just $49.
The standard features of the Freeform II include a speakerphone, a standard calculator, a tip calculator, and an alarm clock. To help keep you organized, there's a stop watch, a memo pad, a calendar, and a voice recorder. Those who travel overseas can make use of the world clock and converter.
The phone book can store up to 1,000 contacts. There's room in each contact for various phone numbers, email addresses, notes, and more. Contacts can be put into groups and also be given their own photo and ringtone. If none of the 21 standard ringtones suit you, you can download more from MetroPCS. The same holds true for themes and wallpapers.
More advanced features begin with Bluetooth, so you can pair the phone with stereo headsets, hands-free car kits, and more. The phone supports voice commands as well, for more convenient use. If you need to surf the Internet, there's a web browser on board. Frequent travelers can make use of the integrated GPS that works with the MetroNavigator service for turn-by-turn directions.
The Freeform II offers several ways to maintain contact with others. It has standard text and multimedia messaging. There's also an instant messaging app that offers access to popular IM clients like AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger. Email is another option, with access to POP and IMAP accounts from services such as AOL, Gmail, Hotmail, and more. The phone also has an app that provides quick access to social networking communities.
Entertainment options are highlighted by an MP3 music player. The player is rather basic; it supports playlist creation, album art, and more. The player also allows you to listen to music while you perform other tasks on the phone. Other entertainment features on the Freeform II include some apps such as Loopt and PocketExpress, as well as others that can be downloaded from MetroPCS.
The Freeform II's 1.3-megapixel camera takes decent quality photos. Photos can be shot in four different resolutions, as well as a slew of other settings. Once finished, you can share photos with others via multimedia messaging.
The Freeform II sports a candy bar design. It measures 4.1 inches tall by 2.1 inches wide by 0.6 inch thick and weighs 3.8 ounces. It's rather stocky, but still portable enough to fit into a pocket with ease. It lacks much flair, sporting a simple glossy black color scheme. The 2.2-inch QVGA screen has a resolution of 144 x 176. The screen is a tad on the small side, but it does provide good graphics.
Beneath the display is a navigational array that works well for perusing through the phone's interface. Beneath the array is a full QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard is rather small and cramped. Users with large fingers might find it hard to type with. The keys are also stiff and do not offer much give. Still, having a full QWERTY keyboard is a plus for messaging fans.
MetroPCS users seeking a messaging phone with a full QWERTY keyboard should find the Freeform II to be an attractive choice. It doesn't come with a ton of bells and whistles, but as a basic messaging-centric phone, it gets the job done.
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