Samsung Chrono (Cricket Wireless) review: Samsung Chrono (Cricket Wireless)

CNET Editors' Rating

3 stars Good
  • Overall: 6.3
  • Design: 6.0
  • Features: 6.0
  • Performance: 7.0

Average User Rating

1.5 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good The Samsung Chrono has excellent call quality, large dial-pad buttons, and a smooth, attractive design.

The Bad Its basic screen resolution and camera don't do the Chrono any favors.

The Bottom Line A fantastic price and clear call quality make the Samsung Chrono a top pick for U.S. Cellular customers who are looking for just the essentials.

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This is a review of the Samsung Chrono for U.S. Cellular. Although the handset is nearly identical on Cricket, keep in mind that we did not test call quality and performance on Cricket's network.

There's no doubt that the "moon-gray" Samsung Chrono for U.S. Cellular is cut from the same cloth as Sammy's scores of other flip-phone designs. It may incorporate elements also seen in Samsung's t339 , Factor , and t259 , but the Chrono has a more squared-off look and more impressive call quality. In terms of features, it's one of Samsung's most stripped-down models, so if you're looking for more than the essentials, move on.

The Chrono costs only a penny if you buy it with a contract, and $19.99 if you purchase it as a prepaid phone. Both are stellar values by today's pricing standards.

If you've seen one Samsung flip phone, you've seen them all. The Samsung Chrono looks and feels like almost every other clamshell cousin, although there are slight differences. The Chrono has a flat top, squared edges, and a thick, sturdy hinge. The smooth coating helps the 3.1-ounce phone slide in and out of pockets. In the light, the 3.7 inches by 1.83 inches by 0.7 inch Chrono appears steel blue; in shadow, it looks dark gray.

Depending on the light, the Chrono looks either blue or gray.

The Chrono's external face houses a VGA camera lens and a 1.7-inch CSTN display, which shows a battery meter, signal strength, and data connection in addition to the date, time, and a message indicator when you press on the volume module. On the right spine are the shared microUSB and headphone charging port and the camera shutter button. A shortish volume rocker is on the left. Since the Chrono has no music player, combining ports is fine, and a pair of standard microUSB-powered earphones comes in the box for anyone looking to go wired.

Photos on the Chrono's VGA camera are significantly better taken outdoors than indoors.

The VGA camera isn't the worst we've seen, but it's far from the best. Bright colors remain bright in outdoor shots, but lose vibrancy in indoor scenes. The camera also has difficulty focusing properly both indoors and outdoors unless you're perfectly still. Being able to take a self-portrait shot from the closed position is a nice perk, as on most flip phones. The camera has all the usual multiple shots and modes, like night mode, a self timer, white-balance settings, and color-effects presets. After taking a picture, you can set the image as a wallpaper or photo ID, share it, or save it to an online album.

When you open the phone up, there's the 2-inch TFT main display with a QVGA (320x240 pixels) resolution and support for 262,000 colors. The screen is bright enough and the text is sharp enough, but the menu icons look blurry. Adjusting the backlight times, contrast, and theme are easy. Although you can change up the font size, you can't choose the font.

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Where to Buy

Samsung Chrono (Cricket Wireless)

Part Number: R261 Released: May 27, 2011

MSRP: $39.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date May 27, 2011
  • Talk Time Up to 240 min
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player
  • Service Provider Cricket Wireless
  • Weight 3.14 oz
  • Diagonal Size 2 in
  • Technology CDMA