This phone, despite other reviews, is NOT a better phone than the 355C. I have multiple issues with this phone. I just received it and got it activated today. I've used it less than 2 hours, and already, I am browsing for a replacement; this one is going back. I will try to be as detailed as possible in my issues. They are not necessarily in order of importance. In addition to that, while I note my issues with the phone, I'll try to compare it with the R355C as I can.
1. Texting is terrible. I assume most of you have used phones that have the smart word suggestion feature. This one has that, but my issue with it is that on most phones, there is a feature in phone settings that allows you to disable that or stop the suggestions. With this phone, there is no such option, except to change the setting to regular abc every single time you use the phone. So every time you receive a text and try to reply, you have to change that setting, with every single message you send. Your next question... so why disable word suggestions, right? Here's why -- with the word suggestion feature on, the phone is slow to recognize characters you type as you type them, perhaps waiting for you to respond to what it thinks you want to say, and it even misses some characters that you type altogether with this feature enabled, particularly the space bar. If you text even at a reasonable speed (and believe me I do not text any faster than any other average person), this feature seriously slows down the speed at which you can type in a response, and if you do not disable this feature with every single text, you will find yourselffrequentlytypingresponseslikethiswithnospaces even though you hit the space bar, but because of the vast degree to which this feature slows down the accepted characters in the text message, it often does not recognize the spaces as you are typing. After you finish typing every single word, their 'suggested word' is still on the screen, so that when you hit the spacebar, instead of putting a space there as you intended, the phone just uses the spacebar to remove their suggested word choice from the screen, so then if you really wanted the space there, you have to hit it twice between every word, every single time. Even if you are only using the word 'I,' you have to hit the spacebar twice to get a space after I, if you dont disable the suggested word bank. If you never ever text, this won't be an issue for you, but if you text even occasionally, this gets to be very annoying very fast. Every message I tried to send ended up going into the phone with no spaces, every single one, except when I disabled the word suggestions, and since there is no option to turn the feature off completely, and you have to disable them manually with every single message you send, that gets to be frustrating.
2. Related to number 1, The fn (function) button, when replying to a text, if you press it should quickly change from word suggestion to numbers to symbols, or whatever. It does not even offer the suggestion to change to abc no matter how many times you press the fn button. And when you press the fn button for it to change to numbers, it won't let you type any numbers, giving an error message. Now this particular issue seems like a problem with the phone I got rather than the model, but I wanted to note it in case others are having the same issue.
3. As another reviewer noted, on the home screen of the phone, written across the front of the screen on the bottom is a message that lists the number of days of service you have left. It frustrated the other reviewer who commented, and he said that he had noticed a menu option to disable this feature before he activated, but he chose not to, thinking he would disable it later, but that after activation, the option disappeared. He was right. In fact, I disabled the feature before I activated the phone, turned it completely off. But when the phone was activated, the message showed up on the screen anyway, and when I went to the menu where the option to turn it off had been, the menu option was no longer there. I don't mean it was there and dimmed or grayed out; it was gone--completely vanished as if that menu option had never existed.
4. The sound quality is poor.
5. The keypad does lock, but if you get a text while the keypad is locked, it has the standard, view message option on screen, however it will not let you click on it until you unlock the keypad. With the R355C, this phone's predecessor, you could still view and respond to that one message without having to stop to unlock the keypad just to view it. Furthermore, why does it even flash the view now, or view later options on the screen if clicking them is disabled? If you cannot click the option it gives you when the keypad is locked, why does it give you an option rather than just playing the audio message alert tone or flashing a fast 'New Message' reminder with no options shone?
6. The keys themselves - On the 355, the keys are mostly flat, on this you can't tell from the picture, or even from the box, but when you feel it, or look at it from the side, you can tell that the keys are angled not flat, one side is raised higher than the other on each key. I assume they thought this was some kind of feature that would make the keys easier to use, since they also did make the keys on this model a little bigger than the ones on the 355, however, this does not make the keys easier to use, in my opinion, it made them more difficult to use. They have a more unnatural, awkward feel to them now. One other thing to not in comparing the keyboard of this phone to the keyboard of the 355 that it replaced is that they have also moved some of the keys around, which is a minor issue, but if you are upgrading from that model, you tend to know where most of the keys are but several have been moved around. For example, on the R355C the comma is just to the right of the spacebar with the exclamation point as a function of that same key, but on the R375C, they put the question mark to the right of the spacebar with the exclamation point as the function above the question mark--the comma is on the above row as a function of the period where the question mark was on the 355. This is a minor issue, but to those upgrading from the other model, it feels awkward, and you're left wondering what the purpose in moving those things was. It isn't the entire key that was moved, but that the arrangements of which keys were where and which key function went with which other key.
Lastly, on the phone itself compared to the 355, this model feels just slightly lighter in weight than the R355C, but it also feels more plastic and less durable. As I am returning the phone immediately, I cannot comment about its long-term durability, but the R355C feels sturdier, much sturdier than this model. The basic features of the phone are the same. On a more positive note, one reviewer noted an increased browser time with this phone model versus that of the R355C, and I can confirm that if you have to search online for something, this phone is slightly faster in that regard than the R355C was. This phone has an open hole in the side that I assume is for a headphone jack whereas the headphone jack slot on the R355C was on the top of the phone and hidden behind the little removable flap. Basic phone use for these phones is about the same. This model does include 2 game demos where the previous model did not.
There are a few positives, and I think they tried to add more features to improve the phone, but in my opinion, this phone is definitely not an improvement at all. I wanted to like the phone; I really did, but some of the features are just too buggy. In addition, adding features is of no benefit to the customer if those new features aren't customizable or optional. Adding new features might be nice or sound nice, but whether or not to use those features should always be up to the customer. There must be a way to turn them off or on. Perfect examples are the problems with the buggy word suggestion/space bar issue on texting, and the display message that says you have __ service days left splashed across the screen of the phone, and there is no phone setting anywhere in the phone that will allow you to completely and permanently turn off those features. Forced features are bad enough under any circumstances, worse yet when they are forced features that are either buggy, or that some customers just don't like. I can deal with the service message though I know that some others use personal pictures as their wallpaper and don't want that message splashed across their main screen all the time; however, I cannot live with the other buggy issues of this phone. I apologize for the length of this review--I know it is long, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible. I wanted to like this phone, but after trying it, there are just too many bugs to work out before I could recommend this model. If you don't mind the new forced features that you can't turn off, or the display messages that show up for which the menu option to turn it off completely disappears after activation leaving you stuck with it, or if you need only a simple phone for calls only, then perhaps this phone is for you. Otherwise, I'd say either go with the 355 or explore other models.
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