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Samsung C5220 review: Samsung C5220

The C5220 is a passable prepaid from Telstra. Its low-specs are elevated somewhat by Next G compatibility, though there's little else to recommend it.

Joseph Hanlon Special to CNET News
Joe capitalises on a life-long love of blinking lights and upbeat MIDI soundtracks covering the latest developments in smartphones and tablet computers. When not ruining his eyesight staring at small screens, Joe ruins his eyesight playing video games and watching movies.
Joseph Hanlon
3 min read

Design

Samsung's C5220 is one of those phones you feel you've seen before you take it out of the box. There's no real surprises here. The black plastic chassis is solid, and attractive for about 30 seconds before we covered (absolutely covered) it in greasy finger-shaped smears. On the top of this flip phone is a 1-inch external display that shows a very old-school clock face in standby, with the 1.3-megapixel external camera mounted just above the screen.

6.2

Samsung C5220

The Good

Next G web speeds. Easy to use.

The Bad

Fingerprint magnet. Flat keypad lacks definition. No 3.5mm headphone socket. Low-res display.

The Bottom Line

A modest handset with a matching modest price tag. There's lots of neat phone features missing from this passable prepaid, but then, you won't have to pay for them either.

The rest of the exterior of this handset is pretty sparse. There's obviously no camera on the back, and there were very few shortcut keys; only two volume keys on the side. Two external input ports are covered by plastic doors, a microSD card slot and a combined charging and headphone USB port. That's right, no 3.5mm headphone socket here.

Flipping the phone open reveals a colourful but noticeably low-res 2-inch screen. Below it is a tiny front-facing camera for video calling, and below the hinge is a standard Samsung numeric keypad: flat as a tack as per several of Samsung's previous models. Each key on the pad is quite large, though each is defined by a horizontal plastic strip with no vertical definition to speak of.

Features

As you may have noticed from the pictures, the C5220 is a Telstra phone, and apart from external badges, you can't miss the fact when you play with this handset. Foxtel and BigPond shortcuts are front and centre on the home screen and pressing the middle nav-key takes you to the main menu, highlighting Telstra's "My Place" shortcut first.

These shortcuts make use of the phone's 3.6Mbps HSDPA web data speeds, and though the built-in browser is nothing to write home about (or to write in a review about) it is ample for short web sessions. You also get access to Telstra's full suite of online services including BigPond music and WhereIs maps. The C5220 doesn't have a GPS receiver, but makes good use of cell tower triangulation to find points of interests on the maps in your area.

The C5220 supports a basic range of media files: MP3s, AAC, AAC+ and WMA audio, and MP4 video. While it's not a smartphone, you can install Java apps on the C5220. Predictably Telstra spruiks its apps on the phone, including a Matchmaker dating app that promises to find you love using "technology based on your natural algorithms" — creepy.

Performance

For basic phone functions we had no complaints using the C5220. Call quality was clear and loud, though holding the phone to our face made us aware of some give in the hinge, though this doesn't seem like a major issue. Messaging and email is good with T9 predictive text. Web browsing is the real joy, the fast Telstra speeds really show, and we zipped from page to page. The browser isn't tremendously robust, trying to access the Sydney Morning Herald website gave us a "Page too large" warning. When browsing with the C5220 make sure you know the mobile alternatives for your favourite websites.

Overall

Cheap and cheerful is not a phrase we tend to use when describing Telstra products and services, but with a new push towards prepaid handsets Telstra finally has some budget models to crow about. The C5220 is available outright for AU$199, which seems about right to us. You get HSDPA web speeds, but to make best use of them be prepared to pay extra for a data package and for subscriptions to Telstra services.