In spite of its shortcomings, experts say, the Samsung Freeform III is a good option when it comes to budget messaging phones without a contract. Though the phone looks like its predecessor, the Freeform II, it has more rounded corners and a larger screen. PCMag.com's Jamie Lendino praises the phone for not feeling overly cheap even though it's made entirely out of plastic. CNET's Jessica Dolcourt, however, complains that the plastic is so smooth that the phone slipped out of her grasp more than once.
Reviewers say that the screen is colorful and sharp, except in direct sunlight. They also find the keyboard responsive and easy to use, although Dolcourt warns that "people with larger digits could find them small and cramped." She praises Samsung for changing the position of the microSD card slot from the back of the battery cover to the spine of the phone, where it's more easily accessible. The phone's basic music player can be a pain to use, according to Lendino. The Freeform III inherited its forerunner's 1.3-megapixel camera, and reviewers find the pictures it takes to be of poor quality.
The phone's 2G Internet connectivity is understandably slow, and according to Dolcourt the browser is "frustrating to navigate." Its preloaded voice-enabled GPS app with turn-by-turn directions is well received by the experts. But if there's a particular feature in which the phone shines, it would be its call quality -- experts were impressed by the clarity and volume of voice calls. The downside is that the phone only has about three hours of rated talk time. PCMag's tests, however, prove that the phone can last nearly four and a half hours.
CNET's review of the Samsung Freeform III examines the phone's every feature. PCMag's review is shorter and tackles only the most important aspects of the phone. Lendino, however, performs real-world testing to come up with actual battery life.
Jessica Dolcourt says she is disappointed that the phone's camera didn't receive an upgrade since the last iteration. She also believes that the only substantive change from Freeform II to III is that the latter can now recognize microSD cards up to 32 GB in capacity, up from 16 GB.
Review: Samsung Freeform III SCH-R380 (MetroPCS), Jessica Dolcourt, July 27, 2011
Lendino says the Freeform III is a good and solid choice for anyone looking for a cheap phone for talking and texting. He notes, however, that he encountered several bugs while testing it.
Review: Samsung Freeform III (MetroPCS), Jamie Lendino, July 25, 2011