Mobile : Expert Review: Samsung MyShot™ Cricket Cell Phone

THE GOOD: The Samsung MyShot is compact and lightweight, with bright color displays and great call quality.

THE BAD: The Samsung MyShot has disappointing photo quality, and we would've liked to have a dedicated speakerphone or voice command key.

THE BOTTOM LINE: The Samsung MyShot is a good midrange phone with excellent call quality.

MetroPCS is a regional carrier known for its array of affordable midrange phones, and the Samsung MyShot is no different. As its name suggests, the MyShot is also one of the few megapixel camera phones in MetroPCS's stable; just don't expect anything fancy like a music player or high-speed browsing. We weren't crazy about the photo quality, but we were overall pleased with the MyShot's design and performance. It's also one of the first phones to support the CDMA 1700MHz band. The price is also quite reasonable at $149 without a contract.

Though the Samsung MyShot is not a glamorous handset by any stretch of the imagination, it still has a nice elegant design that is quite appealing. Measuring 3.64 inches long by 1.87 inches wide by 0.77 inch thick, the MyShot is a compact clamshell with curves all around plus a soft touch plastic back. At 3.2 ounces, it certainly won't weigh you down, either. The hinge mechanism felt solid when opening and closing the phone, and it feels comfortable in the hand.

The Samsung MyShot fits nicely in the hand.

We're happy to see an external screen on the Samsung MyShot. We're even more pleased to note that the 1-inch display has support for 65,000 colors, which means that it'll support photo caller ID. It can also be used as a camera viewfinder for self-portraits. It also displays the usual date, time, signal strength, and battery power information. From the settings menu, you can adjust the wallpaper, clock format, and contrast of the front display. Above the display is a simple camera lens, but do note there's no flash. The volume rocker sits on the left spine with the charger/headset jack, while the dedicated camera key is on the right.

Inside the phone is a nice 1.9-inch diagonal 262,000 color display. Colors appeared bright, and images looked clean and sharp. The menu interface is the standard grid variety, and is easy to navigate. You can adjust the backlight time, the menu style, the clock format, the theme, as well as the dialing font size.

The MyShot's navigation array consists of two soft keys, a round toggle with a middle Menu/OK key, plus the Send, Clear, and End/Power keys. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts to the contacts list, MetroPCS's @metro portal, the messaging menu, and the Web browser. The navigation array plus the keypad are arranged in tiered bumps, making it easy to dial, text, and navigate. However, there's little textural difference between each key, so we still wouldn't recommend dialing by feel. Also, we would've appreciated a dedicated speakerphone key, or a dedicated voice command key, just to make it easier to access those features.

The MyShot has pretty midrange features, which is to be expected from a phone in its price range. It comes with a 500-entry contacts list, with room in each entry for five numbers, and an e-mail address. You can organize them into caller groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, as well as one of 16 polyphonic ringtones and alerts. Other features include text and multimedia messaging, a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, voice command, a calendar, a memo pad, an alarm clock, world time clock, a calculator, a stop watch, a unit converter, and a tip calculator. For the slightly more advanced, there's also Bluetooth and a wireless Web browser.

The Samsung MyShot's 1.3-megapixel camera took mediocre photos.

Though the phone is called the MyShot, don't expect stellar pictures from this handset. The 1.3-megapixel camera is good enough for decent quick photos, but photo quality was decidedly mediocre, with an overcast look and slight blurriness. You can take pictures in five resolutions (1,280×960, 640×480, 320×240, 160×120, and a Picture ID mode which will presumably be around 96×96 to fit in the external display), three quality settings, five white balance presets, 11 fun frames, and four color effects. Other camera settings include a self-timer, a night mode, a multishot option, and three shutter sounds (plus a silent option). The MyShot has an internal memory of 20MB, which isn't enough for too many images.

You have a few personalization options with the MyShot. You can customize it with a selection of wallpapers and ringtones, which you can also download from MetroPCS's @metro data services portal. The MyShot doesn't come with any games, though.

We tested the tri-mode (CDMA 850/1700/1900) Samsung MyShot in San Francisco using the MetroPCS service. Call quality was excellent–callers thought we were calling from a landline, and they too came in loud and clear with plenty of volume. Speakerphone calls were quite good, too, though callers did report more echo and noise in the background, but that's to be expected. We paired the MyShot with the Samsung WEP350 Bluetooth headset without a problem.

The MyShot has a rated battery life of 3 hours talk time and 13.5 days. We had a tested talk time of 2 hours and 45 minutes. According to the FCC radiation tests, it has a SAR rating of 0.789 watts per kilogram.

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