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Home / Review Center / Cell phones / Prepaid phones
Samsung Slash reviewBy Philip Berne, Thursday 29 May 2008
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Video review
Samsung Slash
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We slide open the Samsung Slash, Samsung's first phone on Virgin Mobile. Is this the phone the prepaid set has been waiting for?

Review summary of the Samsung Slash:
Video »   Scoreboard »   Features »   Side-by-side »   Gallery »
Samsung Slash If there is an audience that was clamoring for a slider phone on Virgin Mobile's prepaid network, here it is, and it's just about everything we've come to expect from a Virgin Mobile phone, which isn't much. The Samsung Slash does make calls that sound good, and that might be the most important thing for its audience. But it also lacks more features than it packs, and many of the included functions, like the Web browser and the e-mail client, were so below par that they were unusable. We like that Samsung kept the phone small, and it is a compact slider, but it has a cheap feel to it overall. There are definitely better choices for buyers willing to sign a contract, but in the tight market for prepaid phones, this one still manages to stand out. Release: May 2008. Price: $80.
Pros: Good call quality. No contract required. Nice keys for texting.
Cons: No support for a variety of IM and e-mail services. Web browser is poor. Lacks many features.
Poor
35%
MEDIOCRE
Good
Very good
Excellent
Full review of the Samsung Slash:
Design - Good

The Samsung Slash is the only slider phone in Virgin Mobile's flip-heavy lineup. It's also the first phone Samsung has delivered for the U.S. installment of the MVNO. Thankfully, Samsung makes a solid, classy slider; the form factor is definitely the manufacturer's forte. 'Otherwise the slash has a low-end feel, not just from its atypically large buttons but also from the cheap-looking chrome border around the screen and upper-half of the slide.

The phone's menus and interface are also clearly low-end affairs. Perhaps owing to the 128 by 160 pixel screen, the icons look blocky and dull. Text also looks jagged, and though it was certainly legible, it wasn't pretty. The menu structure seems designed to encourage users to spend minutes. Three of the nine items in the main grid will drive users to the Web or to Web-based stores to buy ringtones and such. At this low price, on an MVNO that discourages yearly contracts, we expect to find less expensive hardware, but there is no reason the interface can't be more modern looking and more fun.

Calling - Good

No matter what we might criticize on the Samsung Slash for its calling features, the phone makes calls that sound very good, and we don't underestimate the value of good call quality. We heard more static on this phone than on most phones we test, but when calls were clear, voice tones sounded very clean. For battery life, in our tests the Slash exceeded the 3.5-hour estimate by about a half hour, which is fine for a budget phone, but we'd always like to have more talking time.

In terms of calling features, the Slash is missing a few of our favorites. The phone has a solid, though not abusively loud speakerphone, as well as Bluetooth for handsfree calling. Both voice dialing and conference calling are absent, though. We can forgive the lack of voice dialing (not even voice tags?) on a budget phone, but conference calling is a nice feature for this phone's teenaged audience, so that's a feature we miss. The address book was robust for a simple calling phone, with plenty of fields for multiple phone numbers and messaging IDs, but it had only enough room to store 500 entries.

Messaging - Good

The Samsung Slash has the basic messaging features covered, including SMS and MMS messaging, with a few nice extras thrown in. The phone gets an IM client, but, strangely, it only supports AIM and Yahoo. Perhaps MSN is too grown up for this crowd? Same goes for the e-mail client, which supports AOL and Yahoo, as well as a few other popular providers, but lacks support for hotmail, Gmail and plenty others. There is no way to bring your own POP or IMAP account to the e-mail party, either. Though text on the phone was kind of blocky, we found the keypad to be easy for typing, thanks to the nicely rounded rows of keys. Also, the phone's T9 texting implementation was very easy to use, since it offered a selection of choices in a neat text box next to the word we were currently typing. Not pretty, but undeniably effective.

Web browsing - Mediocre

Whenever you access the Web with the Samsung Slash, a message pops up warning you about usage rates. We mention this because most of the phone's advanced features, like IM and Web browsing, activated this warning. For browsing, the phone is best at navigating to Virgin Mobile's own pages for buying wallpaper and other gimmicks. When we tried to load our page, the phone rendered one of the strangest versions of infoSync we've seen, with some background graphics that we certainly didn't include on our site. As we tried to scroll down, we noticed most images had failed to load, and the browser crashed before we got too far. The Virgin Mobile deck includes a link to a mobile Facebook page, but it looked horrible when we opened it, and should only be used in dire Facebook emergencies.

Value - Good

The Samsung Slash costs $80 at the time of writing, and Virgin Mobile doesn't require any long-term contract. However, prepaid phones like the Samsung A737 ($100), Nokia 6555 ($175) and Sony Ericsson W580 ($180) from AT&T Wireless are better choices when comparing test results. The AT&T prices listed on the comparison page require a contract.


Price and availability

The Samsung Slash is available now from Virgin Mobile for $80.

Best Prepaid phones
Name Score Price Carrier
C
Nokia 6555 54% $50AT&T
Nokia 2366i 50% $10Verizon Wireless
Samsung SGH-a737 49% $80AT&T
UTStarcom Slice 48% $50Virgin Mobile
Kyocera Cyclops 48% $50Virgin Mobile
Pantech C120 45% $50AT&T
Samsung Slash 35% $80Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile Arc 32% $50Virgin Mobile
Click here to see full and advanced chart »
 
 
 
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