Getting a MetroPCS prepaid phone? Experts agree that the Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G is a good choice to consider. It might not stand out, but CNET's Jessica Dolcourt says it's at least "much more eye-catching than the bland-looking LG Connect 4G" and has a relatively reasonable price. However, the phone suffers from a poor 4G network and MetroPCS's limited coverage.
Simple, convenient design. Dolcourt says the 4.5-ounce phone feels comfortable to hold to one's ear. PhoneScoop.com's Eric M. Zeman agrees, adding that you can peel off the battery cover easily, and that you can access the microSD card slot without having to remove the battery.
Decent smartphone held back by MetroPCS. Reviews of the phone's call quality are so-so. The person Dolcourt called while testing said voices transmitted well, but Dolcourt herself experienced persistent noise on her end. Colon reports fuzzy phone calls, and Zeman complains of dropped calls.
The Galaxy Attain is a 4G LTE phone, but Colon notes that the carrier's network exhibits speeds more akin to a "very good 3G network." That isn't so bad, taking into account the carrier's affordable monthly plans. For $60, MetroPCS gives you unlimited talk, text and data, with the added bonus of unlimited music streaming from Rhapsody and video streaming from MetroStudio. Note that for $75 per month and $200 up front, you can get an iPhone 5 from Sprint, although it does come with a two-year contract.
One issue with MetroPCS is that the carrier has no 3G network. So if you're in an area with no 4G coverage -- and MetroPCS doesn't exactly have the most prolific 4G LTE network -- your phone automatically connects to slow 2.5G Internet. But even in places with decent 4G coverage, Zeman says the phone has a hard time maintaining an Internet connection. When Dolcourt tested the Galaxy Attain's Internet capability, the connection kept "bouncing back between LTE and the 2.5G (1xRTT) network that Metro falls back on…".
Battery life differs for every tester, with Dolcourt experiencing only 3.3 hours of talk time and Colon experiencing 8 hours and 16 minutes of talk time.
Not the toughest, but solid. The phone, with a body made of shiny plastic, feels mid-range to PCMag.com's Alex Colon. But even if the Galaxy Attain doesn't feel high-end, it comes equipped with Gorilla Glass that lends its screen some extra protection.
Design is nothing special. The Galaxy Attain is a candy bar phone that measures a typical 4.5-by-2.6-by-0.4 inches; it's not especially small or thin -- Colon feels it's rather thick "like it's hiding a slide-out QWERTY keyboard" -- but it can be pocketed easily. Its sides, rim and backing are made of silver to complement the rest of its glossy black body. Zeman calls it a "winsome device," but admits it doesn't have anything to offer by way of innovation.
Colon describes the phone's 320-by-480 pixel display as "lackluster," while Zeman believes it's not that bad, although individual pixels pop up every now and then. Colon also mentions a delay in haptic feedback while using the on-screen QWERTY keyboard.
Apps galore. The phone comes with a bunch of pre-installed bloatware, which is PC World's Armando Rodriguez's biggest complaint. You can, however, download any app you need from Google Play, considering the Galaxy Attain is an Android 2.3 Gingerbread device. Colon believes that multimedia is one of the phone's stronger features. The device uses Google Music as a media player, has a 3.5 mm standard jack for headphones and can support microSD cards up to 32 GB in capacity.
While reviewers find photo quality captured by the phone's 3.2-megapixel camera decent, Dolcourt says indoor shots exhibited washed-out colors when she performed her tests. The camera can also take videos 720 by 480 pixels in resolution, which Zeman finds satisfactory.
"[T]he worst part of the camera software on the Galaxy Attain 4G is the fact that it's stuck in landscape mode," says Dolcourt. She also complaints of washed-out indoor shots and limited MetroPCS network coverage. Still, she believes the Galaxy Attain is "a pretty nice package for a midtier Android phone."
Review: Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G review (MetroPCS), Jessica Dolcourt, Jan. 18, 2012
Colon believes the phone "could've been better with just a few tweaks," including a nicer display and better call quality. Among the three LTE phones on MetroPCS, Colon recommends getting the LG Esteem instead of the Galaxy Attain.
Review: Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G (MetroPCS), Alex Colon, Feb. 6, 2012
The Galaxy Attain "does most things well, though it stumbles badly in a couple of places," Zeman writes. He's most concerned about the carrier's spotty 4G network; the phone couldn't maintain its 4G connection even in an area where MetroPCS supposedly has strong coverage.
Review: Review: Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G for MetroPCS, Eriz M. Zeman, Feb. 4, 2012
4. PC World
While Rodriguez believes the phone is a good deal for its price, he expresses strong aversion against all the pre-installed bloatware. Still, he says that if you don't mind adware on your phone, the Galaxy Attain is a "solid choice."
Review: Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G Review: Affordable LTE, but Bundled with Bloatware, Armando Rodriguez, Feb. 3, 2012