The Good The Samsung Messager II has an easy-to-use design with a handy tactile keyboard. Its features are functional and its performance is satisfactory.
The Bad The Messager II display offers several customization options. The camera lacks flash mirrors and a self-portrait, and we don’t like the keyboard shortcuts.
The Bottom Line With some advantages over its predecessor, the Samsung Messager II is a reliable addition to the MetroPCS and Cricket lineup.
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Samsung Messager II
When we saw Samsung Messager earlier this year, we thought it was an adequate messaging phone, but we were disappointed that it didn’t offer much else. Fortunately, Samsung took a bit more care of developing the new Samsung Messager II. With a more attractive design and more powerful feature set, Messager II, also known as the SCH-r560, offers messaging and multimedia in one easy-to-use package. The call quality is decent and the picture quality is good. Messager is available with both Metro PCS and cricket. We have tested the former, but with the exception of some differences in operation, the two devices will be largely similar. Also, since no carrier requires contracts, you will have to pay more for Messager II than your carrier. MetroPCS costs $ 149.99, while cricket charges $ 129.
The original Messager was not unattractive, but we couldn’t overcome the fact that we thought it looked like a toy. In contrast, Messager II is bigger and stronger. Its profile and blue-gray color scheme are not particularly striking, but what it lacks in puzzles is offset by its bright display and well-designed controls.
The 2.2-inch display supports 262,000 colors. His graphics and photos are more than presentable, and his colors are bright. Not enough exposure to some higher resolution displays, but a good fit for a phone of this caliber. The menu is also easy to use and we like the shortcut icons on the standby display. However, we would like to have more control over which icons we would like to display. Also, although you can change the backlight time, no other display options can be set.
Messager II’s strongest navigation array is one of its largest drawings. The circular control functions as a four-way switch and a scroll wheel. Indeed, we could slide our finger all the way while navigating the menu. The middle of the switch opens the standby menu and functions as an OK key on the inside pages of the menu. Its other controls are spacious and tactile. You’ll also find two soft keys, a shortcut in the loudspeaker, a clear button, and the Talk and End / Power controls.
Below the controls is a standard numeric keypad. The keys are blurred, but you have plenty of room to dial and evenly type. The individual buttons are also separated from each other, although the numbers on the keys are somewhat small. Visually impaired users should check their phone before making a purchase.
The volume rocker and microSD card slot are on the left spine, and the camera shutter and Micro-USB port are on the right spine. The latter is used to connect a USB data cable and charger. At the top of the phone is a 3.5mm headphone jack – a nice touch to the music phone. The camera lens and the speaker sit on the back of the phone. Messager II has no flash and self-portrait mirrors.
Messager II has a spacious, comfortable keyboard.
To find the Messager II keyboard, just move your phone to the left and swipe up on the top of your face. The slider mechanism is neither too rigid nor too loose – it can be opened and closed with one hand and it clicks in place at either end. The display will return to landscape mode when the keyboard is opened, although Messager II does not have an accelerometer. The keys are flat, but the spacious keyboard layout makes it simple and convenient. Moreover, the top row of keys is not too close to the bottom of the sliding face.
The large space is conveniently placed in the center of the bottom row. On its left side you will find a shortcut label and keys for switching and operation. Arrow buttons are located on the right side. Like many messaging phones, numbers share space with letters and symbols. We did not like that the softkeys are at either end of the bottom row. Although they are of a different color, they are far from the corresponding commands on the display. In addition, although the buttons are illuminated, their numbers are difficult to see on the shift keys.
Messager II has a phonebook for 1000 contacts with a number in each entry for five phone numbers and an email address. You can store your subscribers in groups, as well as pair them with photos and one of 13 polyphonic ringtones. Other basic features include vibration mode, text and multimedia messages, alarm clock, calculator, calendar, tooltip, voice recorder, world clock, stopwatch, currency converter and notepad.
In addition to the basics, Messager II has Bluetooth with file transfer profile, voice commands and voice dialing, USB support, and can run several applications including Loopt, MetroNavigator, Mobile IM, @Metro, email, premium directory assistance, Pocket Express and MetroBackup. Your exact choice depends on the operator. The handset also supports additional content downloads via WAP and MetroWeb. Messager II has 40 MB of internal storage, but you get extra storage with an external memory card.
Messager’s camera lacks flash mirrors and self-portraits.
The 2 megapixel camera shoots in five resolutions, from 1600×1200 pixels to 176×144 pixels. Other editing options include five quality settings, four color tones, ISO adjustable, night mode, self-timer, three white balance settings, spot metering, serial and mosaic modes, digital zoom and adjustable brightness. Camcorder options are similar, though not so plentiful. Clips intended for multimedia messages are limited to 30 seconds, but you can record videos for a much longer time in standard mode.
Messager II has nice photo quality.
When you have finished shooting, you can save the videos to the internal memory of the phone, or transfer them from the phone in a multimedia message or via a memory card. The photo quality was pretty good for a 2MP shooter. Our photos showed natural colors and not too much noise. The lighting was a little tricky – either too much or not enough – but that’s expected on the camera phone. The quality of his video was just average.
The Messager II music player is standard on the Samsung device. The interface is simple and easy to use, and the scroll wheel is easy to scan through a long list of songs. The player supports album art and even lyrics for some songs. You can also set the equalizer rendering. Additional features include play and shuffle and repeat modes. However, the quality of his music is not too great for external speakers, so we suggest using a headset.
You can personalize Messager II with wallpapers, notification tones and a banner. Setting options and more ringtones are available. There are no games in the phone.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800 / 1,900; AWS) Samsung Messager II SCH-r560 in San Francisco with MetroPCS. The quality of calls was, for the most part, satisfactory. We enjoyed clear conversations with enough volume and little static or interference. For the most part, the voices sounded natural and, from time to time, made a robotic impact on our region. It wasn’t a big deal, but it was there. His calls to the loudspeaker were loud and relatively clear.
Finally, subscribers reported some problems that exceeded background noise. Most of our subscribers were satisfied with the voice quality. They could say that we use a mobile phone, but this is a normal experience. If we were in a loud place, we had to talk loud to understand. Calls to automated systems were normal, but we had to be inside. The calls from the headset via Bluetooth were decent.
Messager II has a calculated battery life of 4 hours of talk time and 12.5 hours of standby time. In our tests, we found that Messager II has a relatively short talk time – 3 hours and 1 minute. According to FCC radiation tests, Messager II has a SAR of 1.10 watts per kilogram.