The new Mantra is only the second Samsung phone for Virgin Mobile. Like the earlier Slash, the Mantra (aka the SPH-M340) offers functional features and respectable, though not perfect, call quality. But unlike its predecessor the Mantra has a more agreeable flip phone design with spacious controls and keypad buttons. You can get it for just $59.99, which is quite affordable for prepaid service.
With its black-and-gray color scheme and simple lines, the Samsung Mantra has a plain yet pleasant design. The silver line across the front face adds a bit of style, but this is hardly a phone that will stand out in the crowd. At 3.8 inches by 1.87 inches by 0.69 inch and 3.35 ounces, the Mantra isn't tiny, but you can carry it around easily in a pocket or bag. It has a plastic skin, but the hinge feels sturdy.
The external display is rather small (less than an inch diagonal) and it doesn't have the best resolution (96x96 pixels), but it shows the date, time, battery life, and signal strength. It also displays photo caller ID, and it works as a viewfinder for the camera lens, which sits just above.
Completing the Mantra's exterior is a volume rocker that sits on the left spine. On the right spine you'll find a camera shutter button and a combined headset/charger jack. The jack is proprietary, so you'll need an adapter to use your own headset, and you can use only one peripheral at a time.
The 2-inch internal display supports 65,000 colors (160x128 pixels). The color and graphic resolution won't amaze you, but it displays most things well. The menu interface is intuitive in either the list or icon style. You can change the backlight time only.
As previously mentioned, the Mantra offers spacious and easy-to-use controls. There's a square toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, the Talk and End/power buttons, and a Back key. The array is flat, but the individual keys are easy to touch. The same goes for the keypad buttons--though they're flush, we could dial and text quickly without making mistakes. The numbers on the keys are big and brightly backlit.