Samsung SCH-U410 (Verizon Wireless) review: Samsung SCH-U410 (Verizon Wireless)
Samsung SCH-U410 (Verizon Wireless)
We have to be honest that Samsung is beginning to wear us out. In the last two months we've reviewed six phones from the manufacturer and there hasn't been much to distinguish the handsets from one another. That's why it's hard to say much about the latest model from the manufacturer, the Samsung SCH-U410. Bearing a standard flip-phone design and midrange features, it can't compete with flashier Verizon Samsungs like the SCH-U470. But if you're looking for a simple flip phone with Bluetooth for occasional use, the SCH-U410 isn't a bad choice. Just don't expect too much from the mediocre VGA camera. The SCH-U410 is a reasonable $29.99 with service. To find accessories for this phone, see our cell phone ringtones and accessories guide.
If all the Samsung cell phones went to high school, the SCH-U410 would be one of the class wallflowers. Though it's not unattractive, its plain design is hardly eye-catching, and you might confuse it with earlier Verizon Samsungs like the SCH-U340. It has average dimensions (3.48 inches by 1.81 inches by 0.77 inch; 3.17 ounces) for a phone with no protruding exterior features to break the clean lines. Even its black-and-silver color scheme is unremarkable.
The external display measures 1 inch diagonally and supports 65,000 colors. It shows the date, time, battery life, and signal strength, and it works as a viewfinder for the camera lens, which sits right above. You can change the wallpaper and the clock format, but the screen's options are not customizable. Completing the exterior of the phone are a volume rocker and a headset jack on the left spine, a combined camera shutter/speakerphone key on the right spine, and the charger port on the SCH-U410's bottom end.
The SCH-U410's 1.8-inch internal display supports 65,000 colors. That means it's not the highest resolution screen around, though it's quite serviceable for this caliber of phone. Graphics and photos weren't terribly sharp, but it's fine for texting and navigating the menus. You can change the backlight time, the contrast, and the dialing font and size.
The navigation controls are well-designed and easy to use. A round toggle with a central OK button serves as your primary interface tool. It's large and tactile, and it doubles as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. Surrounding the toggle are two soft keys, the Talk and End buttons and a Clear key. The keypad buttons also have a satisfying design. They're well-spaced and slightly raised above the surface of the phone, so dialing by feel was not a problem. Also, the numbers on the keys are large and brightly backlit.
The SCH-U410 has a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, and notes. You can save callers to groups and pair them with a photo or one of eight 72-chord polyphonic ringtones. Basic features include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, a calendar, a speakerphone, an alarm clock, a stop watch, a notepad, and a world clock. Yet the SCH-U410 comes with two extras we weren't expecting: Bluetooth and voice commands.
The VGA camera takes pictures in three resolutions (640x480, 320x240, and 160x120), and you can choose from three quality settings (fine, normal, and economy). Other features include a self-timer, a 4x zoom, six color tones, a night-shot mode, brightness and white-balance settings, and three shutter sounds plus a silent option. When finished with your shots, you can save them to the phone's memory--the SCH-U410 offers a respectable 40MB of shared space--upload them to an online album, or send them in a multimedia message. Photo quality was disappointing, unfortunately. Colors weren't terribly sharp and images tended to be blurry. The SCH-U410 does not support video recording.
You can personalize the SCH-U410 with a variety of wallpapers, display themes, and alert sounds, and you can download more options and more ringtones from the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. The SCH-U410 does not come with any games or other applications. You can buy titles from Verizon, but keep in mind that the carrier uses BREW instead of Java.
We tested the dualband (CDMA 800/1900) in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless service. Call quality was decent, but we've heard better on Verizon phones. There was some audible static on the line and the sound had an echoed effect at times. On the upside, we enjoyed enough volume, and voices sounded natural but the quality was not consistent. Occasional callers may not mind the shortcomings, but we wouldn't recommend the SCH-U410 for heavy cell phones users. On their end, callers reported similar conditions, and they had trouble hearing us unless we spoke close to the phone. The speakerphone was okay, but it's only passable when you and your caller are speaking in quiet environments.
The Samsung SCH-U410 has a rated battery life of 3.3 hours and 7.08 days standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 4 hours and 40 minutes.