Samsung Entro (Virgin Moblie) review: Virgin Mobile's Samsung Entro: Can't beat the price

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The Good The Samsung Entro has strong call quality, voice actions, and GPS. Its competitive price makes it one of the least expensive simple phones anywhere.

The Bad The Entro is so bare-bones, it lacks a camera, a music player, and frankly, a personality.

The Bottom Line You can't beat the Samsung Entro's no-contract price and simplicity when shopping for a dead-simple phone that only fields calls and texts.

6.0 Overall
  • Design 6
  • Features 5
  • Performance 7

The prepaid Samsung Entro flip phone for Virgin Mobile isn't anything special, but you may just find that the inexpensive, no-contract handset is exactly what you need for placing and receiving calls and the occasional text.

Costing just $14.99 for the cell phone and starting at a $20 monthly plan, the Entro is one of the least expensive cell phones you can get anywhere. The call quality isn't half bad, either.

With its external display and flip-up design, Samsung's Entro looks like a squarer version of T-Mobile's Samsung t159, minus the camera. The body pairs glossy black with a lightly textured dark gray material. It is rectangular in shape, solid of body, and generally compact. In fact, the Entro measures 3.8 inches tall, 1.9 inches wide, and 0.75 inch thick. The 3.5-ounce weight is just right for a handset this size, and it feels comfortable on the ear.

There's a 1-inch external color display that shows off critical information like the time and date, signal strength, battery meter, and any missed messages. On the inside you'll find a 1.7-inch screen bordered by a silvery accent. The screen looks and feels small, but if you aren't doing much beyond the basics, it'll be just large enough. Incidentally, a tough, rubbery bumper at the top of the phone makes flipping open the Entro wear-resistant and worry-free. Flip, flip away!

The two soft keys below the phone, and the four-way directional pad with center button are all the navigation you need to get around the proprietary OS. There's some room for customization, like changing the wallpaper and backlight times, but you won't be able to change the font type or size, or adjust the background color on menu screens.

Samsung Entro
Its large, comfortable dialpad is one of the simple Samsung Entro's most luxurious assets. Josh Miller/CNET

Back to the phone's physical appointments, you'll find the dialpad to be spacious and comfortable. I like the two shortcut buttons to turn on speakerphone and to launch voice actions. The buttons are comfortable, but although there's a groove between them, they're not separated enough that you can make out the corner of each button by feel alone.

The rest of the phone is extremely cut and dried. There's a Micro-USB charging port, a 3.5-millimeter headset jack, and a volume rocker. The power button shares space with the End dialpad key.

On a phone like this, the address book is the phone's major feature. Unfortunately, the Entro only stores 600 contacts, compared with the 1,000-contact standard. There's space for all the usual phone numbers and e-mail addresses, plus multiple ringtone options, a note, a birthday reminder, and so on. You can also attach a custom caller ID photo and add friends and family to calling groups.

Text messaging is the other main avenue for communication in this phone; since there's no camera, you won't be able to send picture or video messages. T9 predictive text mitigates the nuisance of the dialpad.