1 - WiFi Qwerty Phone
The Samsung S390G is the first Tracfone handset with Wi-Fi capability so you can access the web without using up your airtime. Other features include a nice screen, QWERTY keyboard with track pad, 2 megapixel camera, music player, web browser with YouTube viewer.
Currently the only other Tracfone with WiFi capability is the LG 840g.
Yes, you can connect this phone to a Wi-Fi network for internet access! This is the first Tracfone that can do that. I connected it to my home network without any problems. Once connected, web browsing is fast and, you don’t have to use your airtime.
Once connected, web browsing is fast and free because you don’t have to use your airtime. The web browser has a default home page on Tracfone’s site, but you can change that to whatever you want.
When you’re connected to the Wi-Fi network, you can watch YouTube videos. The resolution is pretty low, but it’s still pretty cool. To date this review, let me say that, yes, I did watch the Gangnam Style video on the S390G.
The new feature for navigating the menus and the screen is a Track Pad that is similar to what you find on some Blackberry phones. It does take a while to get use to how the Track Pad responds to your touch, especially if you are used to pressing up-,down-, left-, or right-navigation keys instead.
Otherwise, the QWERTY keyboard has a standard vertically-oriented layout. The keys do light up so they're easier to to see in low-light conditions.
You can lock the keypad to prevent pocket dialing and accidental web access.
Along with the text and picture messaging, the Samsung S390G also has great email capability. There is a regular dedicated email client so you can receive email through any POP or IMAP server. There is also an Exchange Email client.
One way to save your airtime is to set the email client to check your email automatically only when your phone is connected to your home network. This saves you airtime. You can still manually check your email if you turn on this setting.
The two megapixel camera (1600 x 1200 pixel) takes good pictures. You can also take 320 x 240 resolution videos. For the videos, you can set limit the length for sending as picture messages. If you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you can send larger files as email attachments. You wouldn’t want to do that on the cellular network unless you don’t mind using up a lot of airtime.
The Samsung S390G has an mp3 music player and has the ability to use up to 16 GB memory cards for storing songs (and pictures). The songs can be arranged into playlists. You can set Background Playing on so you can listen to music while texting. The phone has a regular 3.5 mm headset jack so you can use your regular stereo earbuds.
You can use a USB data cable, Bluetooth or direct transfer to put music on the phone. Using a data cable is the easiest most hassle free way of doing this, with direct transfer onto the card the next best option.
You can record audio in amr or mp3 format and store them on the phone or the external memory card. Here also, you can limit the length for sending as an MMS message. Otherwise, you can pretty much record until you run out of memory.
You can use standard mp3 ringtones whether you get them from Tracfone or download them elsewhere.
This phone has the ability to run Java games and apps. Unfortunately, none are pre-installed, so you have to go out and find them. You can go to various sites that offer mobile java apps and install them yourself. For example, you can go to Facebook and install their mobile app directly from their site.
Getjar.com is a popular site for downloading java apps and games. When you go to their site (via desktop) they ask you to choose your handset. Unfortunately, the S390G was not yet listed when I last checked (January 2013), but you can choose any similar Samsung java phone. Try to choose a QWERTY phone rather than a touchscreen phone from the list. Examples include the GT E2100 and M3510.
Many of the apps are free, but watch out for the ads if you're not connected over Wi-Fi, because they use airtime.
The S390G has a pretty standard selection of tools like a calendar, alarm clock and audio recorder mentioned above. There is a cool ECO calculator that not only calculates your fuel economy, but also gives your estimated carbon-dioxide emissions for the amount of miles driven.
Overall, it’s a great Tracfone because of the Wi-Fi capability which adds fast web browsing and video viewing capability. If you are careful with your regular airtime use, you can operate this phone for under $10 a month. In addition to getting it directly from the links above, the phone is also available from Amazon and Walmart. Note if you need to use more airtime, you can also get this phone from Net10 or Straight Talk for use with their monthly plans.
Here are some of the other QWERTY phones reviewed on this site listed by order of preference. Note: none of these have WiFi capability of the S390G.
The LG 900g does not do great a job of running apps, it has a really nice screen, camera and keyboard.
Meanwhile the Samsung R355C pretty much limits itself to talk, text and music, but does it very well.
The keyboard of the LG 500g is a little squished in comparison, but it means the width of the phone is close to that of a typical brick-style phone rather than that of a wider QWERTY device.
The Motorola EX431g is a relatively newer with a few nice features, but its rubbery keys take a little getting used to.