The Samsung Contour (SCH-R250) is a basic phone by any standard, but as we've said time and again, for anyone interested in making phone calls and little else, simple is just the ticket. It's certainly far more bare-bones than another contemporary clamshell, the Samsung SPH-M360 for Sprint. We weren't impressed by the Contour's low VGA camera resolution, but MetroPCS stocks the candy-apple-red flip phone with a handful of useful apps like instant messaging, e-mail, and driving directions. While it's technically 3G, MetroPCS' markets for the most part offer 2.5G speeds, with the exception of Detroit and Dallas/Fort Worth. The Contour costs $49 without a contract.
The Samsung Contour may not scream "sophistication," but its lacquered carmine-and-matte-black body will surely stand out on store shelves. The flip phone has a square head that tapers and rounds toward the bottom. Thanks to its silky smooth plastic chassis, it's got a great in-hand feel and glides easily into pockets and purses. Its slickness can at times make the handset slippery; we fumbled it more than once. The Contour measures 3.8 inches tall, 1.9 inches wide, and 0.7 inch thick. Its 3.8-ounce weight feels just about right for the cell phone's size. Although we weren't wowed by the build quality, the Contour seems solid enough. In addition, it's easy to flip open and has a sturdy hinge.
A 1-inch color external display on the phone's face squeezes in the time, date, battery life, reception, and data speed, and alerts you to unread messages. You can adjust the contrast on the 176x220-pixel CSTN screen.
The 2-inch internal TFT display has a blurrier 128x160-pixel resolution (that's QQVGA). It supports 262,000 colors and is bright enough, but not at all crisp. The clock format, theme, dialing font size, brightness, and backlight time are all adjustable. The menu is easy to navigate with soft-key controls and an icon-based menu. In addition to the onscreen menu and @metro controls is a shortcut button that pops up a ribbon of featured apps. This is typical of MetroPCS phones.
Below the display, the navigation array consists of two soft keys, a four-way navigation toggle with a central OK button, a Talk and End button, and a Clear key. The navigation toggle is comfortable and responsive, as are the dialpad buttons. The large, backlit keys are partially separated and raised above the surface. Made of a rubbery material, they feel good to press; we had no problems dialing or texting.
In the way of external hardware buttons, the Contour has a volume rocker, a Micro-USB charging port, a camera trigger, and a 2.5-millimeter headset jack. The VGA camera lens is on the flip face.
The Contour has a 1,000-contact address book, with room in each entry for multiple phone numbers, an e-mail address, a calling group, and one of 22 polyphonic ringtones, including a silent mode. You also can assign a photo ID from the contact entry screen or after shooting a picture.