Though the Samsung Stunt SCH-r100 may not be anything to write home about, those looking for a simple phone could certainly do worse. To its credit, this basic candy bar phone has Bluetooth and voice commands, but consistent to its class, a camera and music player aren't part of the Stunt's limited bag of tricks. Fuzzy and tinny nuances marred overall decent call quality, but call volume held steady. The Stunt was made for MetroPCS and costs $39; it doesn't require a service contract.
Make no bones about it: the Samsung Stunt SCH-r100 is about as basic as cell phones get. And that's fine, really, for the people who want a handset just for making calls. Standing 4.2 inches tall, 1.7 inches wide, and 0.54 inch deep, the Stunt's candy bar design is pocket-size and slim. It's light (2.6 ounces) and narrow in the hand, but feels sturdy enough to take a few drops on the floor. We like the plastic backing with its faint black nubbles on the top portion and combination glossy and matte striped bands on the lower half--the only visual flair apart from two electric-blue accents.
Adjacent to the 2.5mm headset jack on the right spine is a Micro-USB port, but there's no camera (no surprise here), and appropriately no external memory slot. We always prefer a 3.5mm jack, but since the Stunt isn't billed as a music phone, the smaller jack won't do much harm. There are a few dedicated shortcut buttons on the keypad, however: a keypad lock and a voice command key, and a shortcut for turning the Stunt's vibrate mode on and off.
The slight upward curve of the Stunt's backlit keypad leaves room for comfortable typing. Plastic troughs between the rows of keys keep the Stunt's buttons from feeling too flush, but they're not tactile enough to dial by feel. We like the typical four-way directional navigation pad with its shortcuts to the address book and messages. Though the phone lays flat on the ear, its shorter stature keeps the mic farther from your mouth, so you may be inclined to shout, as we at first were.
The Stunt's internal display measures 1.7 inches, which is pretty tall for the phone's size. The measly resolution (65,000 colors; 128x160 pixels) is typical for a phone in its class. Backlighting and font sizes are adjustable, and the menu interface is mostly easy to use, with the help of an icon carousel for getting at tools. Some submenus lack a "back" command, but the Clear key often takes you back a step. When in Menu mode, the volume rocker on the left spine acts as secondary navigation.
The Stunt's phone book holds 500 contacts, and lets you key in four phone numbers and an e-mail address in each entry. You can assign groups and one of 20 polyphonic ringtones to a contact. There's no camera, but you can still pair a photo with a contact; you can download a picture, for example, or use one that's sent to you via MMS. The thumbnail picture will show on the screen when your buddy calls.
As for its toolkit, the Samsung Stunt contains a calendar, a calculator, a memo pad, and an alarm clock. There's also text and multimedia messaging, a world clock, a stop watch, a converter tool (everything from currency to weight), and an all-important tip calculator. Be advised that since the Stunt also doesn't let you program a default text entry mode, we had to manually switch to T9 predictive text with the soft key each time. As with last summer's equally simple Samsung Axle SCH-r311, the SCH-r100 also throws in Bluetooth support, speaker-independent voice commands, and voice dialing; the latter two worked well in our tests. Speakerphone mode lives in the Options menu when a call is on, but we'd prefer to see a shortcut key for seamless toggling.
MetroPCS offers a few services of its own, such as Metro411 directory assistance and MetroBackup, which stores your contacts online for $1 per month. There's also e-mail available via MetroPCS' mail@metro service if your MetroPCS service plan covers it.
The Stunt's WAP 2.0 browser is bare-bones, but the Google search bar does make for quick lookups, and a menu of hyperlinks gets you to downloads, weather, and news categories. No games come preloaded on the Samsung Stunt SCH-r100, but you can download them through MetroWeb or the @metro storefront. Once you've got games installed, you can play them in airplane mode while you jet around. You'll have 15MB of internal memory for storage.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) Samsung Stunt in San Francisco using MetroPCS service. Voices sounded natural and the volume was fine, but call quality often suffered from a hum that was audible on the caller's side at the beginning of most calls. The calling ring was also usually fuzzy or broken on the caller's end. Hazy or tinny overtures often persisted into the call, with occasional distortion that folks on both ends of the line could hear. Speakerphone volume was decent, with typical distortion in noisy environments. Most users, however, shouldn't notice too much interference a few minutes into the conversation.
The rated battery life is 3.3 hours of talk time and up to 8.3 days of standby time. The Stunt has a tested talk time of 3 hours and 1 minute. According to FCC radiation tests, the Stunt has a digital SAR of 1 watt per kilogram.