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Samsung M240 (Sprint) review: Samsung M240 (Sprint)

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The same day it introduced the touch-screen Samsung Rogue, Samsung quietly unveiled the Samsung M240. Made for Sprint, the M240 is all about communication. Features are few--you don't even get Bluetooth--and the simple flip-phone design lends itself to making calls. On that front it does a decent job, but its performance didn't blow us away. You can get it for $19.99 with service.

OVR
6.0

Samsung M240 (Sprint)

The Good

The Samsung SPH-M240 has a simple, easy-to-use design and functional features.

The Bad

The Samsung SPH-M240 lacks Bluetooth, and its call quality wasn't spectacular.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung SPH-M240 is simple to use, though we heard some static during calls.

Design
The Samsung SPH-M240 bears a slight resemblance to both the Samsung SGH-A237 and the Samsung SGH-T329. Though it lacks the color accents of the earlier handsets, the silver and black M240 has a streamlined shape with curves on the sides and at either end. As with the A237 and the T329, you feel that you could skip the M240 across a pond. The result is a simple, yet pleasant phone that fits comfortably in the hand. We also liked the textured back cover.


The M240 has a textured battery cover.

At 3.6 inches by 1.85 inches by 0.75 inch, the M240 slips easily into a pocket or a bag for traveling. It doesn't feel too wispy even though it is quite light (just 2.9 ounces). The hinge feels sturdy, but the plastic skin isn't likely to withstand a lot of bumps. On the right spine is the large volume rocker and on the left spine sit the headset jack and the Micro-USB port. The headset jack is 2.5mm rather than 3.5mm, but we'll let that slide since the M240 isn't a music phone. On the other hand, we welcome the standard Micro-USB port for the charger.


The M240 has a vertical external display.

The vertical external display is another characteristic that the M240 shares with the T329. It gets points for design appeal, but it does come at a price. The text on the display (the date, time, and numeric caller ID) is tiny and can't be changed. It also means that it won't display photo caller ID, but that's a moot point since the M240 doesn't have a camera. You can adjust the contrast only.


The M240's volume rocker sits on its left spine.

The 1.75-inch display supports 65,000 colors and 160x128 pixels. It's sufficiently bright, but colors, graphics, and photos aren't very sharp. On a handset with more features we'd deduct a point or two, but this display perfectly suits a low-end model like the M240. The menus are easy to use and you get a fair number of customization options. You can change the backlight time, the brightness, and the dialing font size.

The navigation array has an intuitive design. There's a hexagonal toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, the Talk and End/power controls, and the back button. Only the toggle is raised, but the remaining controls offer enough room and are comfortable to type on. The soft keys offer one-touch access to the phone book and messaging app, and you can program the toggle with additional shortcuts. The keypad is also spacious given the phone's small size. These keys are flat, but they have a nice rubbery feel. We had no problems dialing or texting, although we did have to press the "5" key firmly for it to register. The numbers on the keys are large and the backlighting is bright.

Features
The M240 has a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for six phone number types, an e-mail address, an IM handle, a street address, a birthday, a job title and company, and notes. You can organize callers into groups and you can pair them with one of 20 72-chord polyphonic ringtones. You also can assign contacts a photo, but keep in mind that the M240 doesn't have a camera and the images won't appear on the external display.

Essential features include a vibrate mode, threaded text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a calculator, a memo pad, a tip calculator, a world clock, a voice memo recorder, and voice dialing. As we said, the M240 is designed for communication. That's fine, but we'd like to see at least the addition of Bluetooth for hands-free driving.

You can personalize the M240 with a variety of clock and calendar styles, screensavers, alert tones, and a greeting. More options, and additional ringtones, are available from Sprint with the WAP 2.0 browser. The handset comes with demo versions of three Java games: Super Street Fighter, Brain Exercise, and Downtown Texas Hold 'Em.

Performance
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) Samsung SPH-M240 in San Francisco using Sprint's service. Call quality was decent, though not spectacular. Voices sounded natural and the signal was strong, but we heard occasional static and the volume wasn't as loud as we'd like. The static wasn't bothersome enough to ruin our experience, but it was there at some point on all calls. The volume is fine if you're inside, but we had to strain to hear in noisy places.

On their end, callers could tell that we were using a cell phone. They didn't have trouble hearing us, but most of our friends reported the static. Likewise, it wasn't distracting, but it was present throughout the testing period. Speakerphone calls were average; you'll need to be close to the phone and use it in a quiet room.

The M240 has a rated battery life of 6.5 hours talk time. In our testing, we found the M240 has a tested talk time of 5 hours and 13 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the M240 has a digital SAR of 0.867 watt per kilogram.

OVR
6.0

Samsung M240 (Sprint)

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 5Performance 7