Though touch-screen multimedia handsets and complicated smartphones are common these days, that doesn't mean there isn't a market for entry-level phones. The Cricket Captr is one such handset, with basic features and only a VGA camera. The photo quality isn't too good, but if all you want is a phone that can make and answer calls, the Cricket Captr is a decent choice. It's available for $129.99, and there is no contract required.
The Cricket Captr has a simple nondescript clamshell design. Measuring 3.54 inches long by 1.81 inches wide by 0.74 inch thick and weighing in at 2.82 ounces, the Captr is easily one of the smallest flip phones we've seen. It is black all around, and the curved corners give it a comfortable feel in the hand.
On the front is the camera lens with the 1-inch external display underneath. It supports 65,000 colors and 96x96 pixels. It shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and photo caller ID, plus it doubles as a self-portrait viewfinder for the camera. You can adjust the backlighting, the incoming call screen, the clock format, and the wallpaper. On the left spine are the 2.5mm headset jack and volume rocker, and the camera button and charger jack are on the right.
Flip open the phone and you'll find a 1.8-inch color display that supports 262,000 colors and 128x160 pixels. Though it's bright and colorful, the low resolution results in graphics that look a little pixelated and lackluster. You can change the backlight time, the menu style, the clock format the incoming call screen, the greeting banner, the contrast, and the brightness. Like on other Cricket phones, there's a row of shortcut icons along the bottom of the display when the phone is in standby mode. These icons lead to widgets or applications like the local weather, your horoscope, the latest news headlines, and more.
Underneath the display is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a circular toggle with a central OK button, a speakerphone key, and a shortcut to the calendar. The toggle also provides quick access to the messaging menu and the browser in the up and down directions respectively. Below the array is the Talk and End/Power buttons with the clear key in the middle. All keys plus the number keypad are quite flush to the surface, but there are textural delineations between each key so it's still possible to dial by feel. We did find the asterisk and pound keys to be a little on the small side.
The Cricket Captr has a 500-entry phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, a Web URL, and a memo. You can then organize your callers into groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, and you can choose from six polyphonic ringtones plus four SMS alert tones. Though it's a rather small collection, you can use your own voice recordings as ringtones if you wish. Other basic features include a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a vibrate mode, a schedule, an alarm clock, a world clock, a memo pad, a calculator, a tip calculator, a stopwatch, and a unit converter. You also get voice commands, a voice recorder, Bluetooth, and a wireless Web browser.
The Captr only has a basic VGA camera. It can take pictures in four resolutions (640x480, 320x240, 160x120, and Wallpaper). Settings include a self-timer, three quality settings, six image effects, nine fun frames, and a mirror image mode. Photo quality was pretty bad, as you might expect from a VGA camera. Colors looked completely washed out, and the images were so blurry that the objects looked indistinguishable. The Captr has a 64MB of internal memory.
You can personalize the Captr with graphics and ringtones, and you can always download more via the Cricket Storefront on the phone. The Captr comes with a MyBackUp app and a game called Midnight Pool 2. You can download more games and apps the same way.
We tested the Cricket Captr in San Francisco using a roaming network partnered with Cricket Wireless. Call quality was quite good overall. We heard our callers loud and clear most of the time, though our callers got cut off every once in a while. There was hardly any static, and their voices sounded natural.
On their end, callers said that we sounded great. They could hardly hear any background noise at all. They also said our voices sounded quite natural with plenty of volume. Speakerphone calls did not fare so well, though. Callers said that not only was there a lot more echo, but our voices sounded a little muffled with some mild distortion. On our end, we could hear them clearly, albeit with a tinnier voice quality, thanks to the mono external speakers.
The Cricket Captr has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 10.4 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 4 hours and 13 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Captr has a digital SAR of 0.739 watt per kilogram.