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Hands-On: Cricket Flip Phones

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Mar 22, 2011, 8:51 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Cricket had two flip phones on hand at the CTIA event. The Kyocera S2100 (already being sold by Virgin) and the Samsung Chrono are simple voice phones that cover the basics and not much else.

source: Cricket

Kyocera S2100 

Pre-paid provider Cricket was showing off several handsets during the Pepcom event this evening. One of which was the Kyocera S2100, a tiny flip phone that has two displays and a simple feature set.

I sometimes forget how small and light non-smartphones can be. The Kyocera S2100 is a good example of a handset that is easy on the hands, easy on the pocket, and probably easy on the wallet (after all, Cricket is a pre-paid provider). It's very comfortable to grip and has reasonably good materials. Build quality was very good, and the hinge was rock solid. It was tight and didn't have any wiggle room.

The external display is teensy-tiny. It's barely large enough to display the alerts and notifications it is meant to display. The internal display is among the worst I've ever seen. It has such a low pixel density that text was barely legible and icons/graphics looked miserable.

The dialpad and other controls, however, were excellent. The d-pad was nice and spacious, and felt good under the thumb. The number keys themselves were a bit flat but still easy to tell apart from one another.

The user interface had some nice elements to it. The main menu was pretty typical, but there was a nice little dock that you could open up and then slide sideways through it with extended content available as you scroll.

Other than that, it's a pretty basic phone.

Samsung Chrono R261 

The Chrono is a simple flip phone, too, but feels a bit cheaper than the Kyocera S2100. The plastics are not as nice, and the gold coloring actually makes it look cheaper, not glitzier.

It's fairly thin and light, and will easily fit into a picket. It has two displays, and they both are low-end, but at least legible. Brightness was pretty limited, but the icons and graphics looked pretty good.

Samsung R261  

The flip mechanism wasn't as strong as that of the Kyocera S2100, but it was still good enough. Samsung took care to design the Chrono so that when open, it forms a nice, unbroken line from tip to tip.

While the display was merely OK, and the color not my style, at least the keypad was awesome. It felt amazing under the my thumbs, and the numbers have a nice curve to the, and offer the perfect amount of travel and feedback. It's really well done.

The user interface wasn't anything to write home about. It has a standard icon grid in the main menu, and the soft keys can be used to access a few limited options for adjusting the behavior of the UI.

You want or need a cheap flip voice phone? The Chrono will do you fine.

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About the author, Eric M. Zeman:

Eric has been covering the mobile telecommunications industry for 17 years at various print and online publications. He studied at Rutgers Newark and University of Kentucky, and has a degree in writing. He likes playing guitar, attending concerts, listening to music, and driving sports cars.

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