Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G (U.S. Cellular) review:

Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G (U.S. Cellular)

A close-up of the bagels, which aren't as vibrant or well-defined as they should be. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

You'll have 2GB internal memory for storing your multimedia, and up to 32GB on the microSD card slot. The Metrix 4G comes with 4GB card preinserted.

A break from the blue to peer outside. The camera did much better here. Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Call quality
I tested the Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G in San Francisco using U.S. Cellular's roaming network. Unfortunately, call quality was awful for the dual-band (800/1,900MHz; LTE 700/850/1700/1900) smartphone. Voices sounded tinny and strained, muffled, and artificial. Hiccups and hot spots of distortion interrupted a smooth and even flow. To make matters worse, volume was only sufficient at the highest setting, which would make outdoor or noisy indoor calls hard to hear.

Despite the overly loud volume on my calling partner's end, he said I came across a bit muffled and echoey. Similar to my experience, he said that my voice sounded a little artificial, but at least I was easy to hear. The Metrix tends to emphasize the low frequencies. Calls were acceptable, according to him, but far from excellent.

Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone didn't do much to redeem the Metrix's call quality in my tests. Volume was strong on the highest levels, but a reedy voice quality and a tinniness that sounded like my caller's voice was piped in, added up to conversation that was difficult to understand. I will say that voice tones sounded warmer than through the standard speaker.

On his side of things, my test partner didn't hesitate to call my voice cottony. Volume dropped tremendously, he said, and any background noise would present a problem. I also sounded warmer and richer on speakerphone, an adjustment you don't hear often.

The Metrix 4G's 1GHZ Qualcomm Hummingbird processor failed to impress, especially since so many other phones aiming for the middle range now come with dual-core processors. Worse yet were the network's 3G speeds. Since San Francisco is outside of U.S. Cellular's 4G LTE range, it only surfs 3G through roaming agreements. Those within the carrier's 4G network footprint should expect to see much better performance.

Performance: Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G
App download 6.52MB of 41.7MB in 10 minutes, 15%
CNET mobile site load 16 seconds
CNET desktop site load 60 seconds
Boot time 36 seconds
Camera boot time 2.5 seconds
Camera, shot-to-shot time 2.5-3 seconds
Load up app (Quadrant) 1.8 seconds

A battery of tests checked the diagnostic speeds of the network using Ookla's app. 3G speeds were so slow, it took 10 minutes (I timed it) to download 15 percent of a game. I called it quits after that. Wi-Fi worked just fine downloading apps quickly, so I'd recommend it over the network whenever possible.

Diagnostic speeds on the Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

I also used the Quadrant app to test diagnostics for the 1GHz processor. The app runs the phone through a battery of tests that don't involve the network, but tax the processor, to wind up at a score that compares the phone's raw chipset power with its contemporaries. The test results place the Metrix 4G at the bottom of the heap.

Quadrant processor results on Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The Metrix 4G has a rated battery life of up to 7 hours of talk time and 14 days of standby time on its 1,800mAh battery. During our talk time test, the device lasted 8.47 hours.

According to FCC measurements, the Metrix 4G has a digital SAR of 1.2 watts per kilogram.

Final thoughts
Unless a QWERTY keyboard is the only thing that will satisfy your needs, I'd recommend looking beyond the Metrix 4G for phone satisfaction. The Samsung Galaxy S3 is top-notch and has 4G; the Samsung Galaxy S Aviator has similar specs to the Metrix, but with superior camera capacity and no keyboard. If you're not picky about speed, 3G fans can also get the dual-core, 8-megapixel-camera Galaxy S II. The 3G-capable HTC One V is also a top choice for its impressive technology camera, speedy processor, and up-to-date Android OS; and the new 3G-ready LG Splendor is another good choice. While all these handsets lack the QWERTY keyboard, they're all zippier in the processor department and comparable in price, if not cheaper.

What you'll pay

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