Samsung has been one of the few handset manufacturers to make touch-screen feature phones for smaller regional carriers. They include the Samsung Delve for Alltel, the Samsung Caliber for U.S. Cellular, and the Samsung Finesse for MetroPCS. Well, now MetroPCS is getting its own version of the Samsung Caliber as well. It's not quite as blocky as the Finesse, and we're fans of the Caliber's slim and curved design. The Samsung Caliber is available for $249 without a contract from MetroPCS. For this review, we'll focus more on the performance and MetroPCS services. For full details on the Caliber's design and features, please read our review of the Samsung Caliber for U.S. Cellular.
As far as features go, the only differences between the MetroPCS version of the Caliber and the one for U.S. Cellular are that MetroPCS has its own applications for e-mail, GPS navigation, and the Internet browser. MetroPCS also has an online backup service called MetroBackup, and Metro411 works as an easy way to search for businesses. You can download more games and applications to the Caliber by going to the @metro MobileShop.
We tested the Samsung Caliber in San Francisco using MetroPCS. Call quality was very good on the whole. On our end, we heard our callers loud and clear without a lot of static. Turning on the speakerphone is as easy as tapping the screen during a call. The speakerphone volume is loud enough for us.
On their end, callers said we sounded really good. They heard us without distortion and with plenty of volume. They said our voice sounded quite natural as well, almost landline quality. Speakerphone calls weren't as good, though, as callers said we sounded a bit more muffled. Still, they managed to hear us just fine.
Even on a 1xRTT connection, we managed to surf the Web easily and with enough speed. We loaded YouTube in around 20 seconds and then managed to stream a video clip with only around 30 seconds of buffering time. Video quality was quite poor--videos looked blurry and pixelated-- but the audio was fine.
The Caliber has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 16.6 days standby time. Our tests only showed a talk time of 3 hours and 57 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Caliber has a digital SAR of 0.667 watt per kilogram. The Caliber is compatible with hearing aids with the M3/T4 rating.