Samsung Craft Review

Introduction and Design

Although it's rather difficult to fathom that a national prepaid carrier is the first to the punch in launching a next-generation LTE network in the US, the Samsung Craft SCH-R900 for MetroPCS has a huge reputation to overcome since it's the first LTE enabled handset in the market. Sure it's nothing close to the depth of features that accompany a majority of smartphones out there, but luckily, it does pack a healthy solid dose of features under the hood to make it stand out. Priced at the upper echelon of the spectrum at $299.99, it potentially might make some people look the other way and straight into smartphone territory – but then again, it's LTE we're talking about here.

The package contains:

  • Samsung Craft SCH-R900
  • Wall charger
  • microUSB cable
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Tips & Tricks


Sadly, the design of the Craft is two years too late since it employs the same style and feel of other messaging devices from Samsung. Even though it's constructed out of glossy plastic, which does attract plenty of dirt and smudges, it doesn't necessarily translate to a light weight device. In fact, it feels rather bulky (0.60” thick) in the hand versus other similar offerings and has a noticeable weight (3.74 oz) to it as well. The contoured outline of the handset does little to hide its overall girth – which does make it less appealing versus some other streamlined options out there. It would've been nice to supplement its LTE enabled backing with some kind of slick design, but regrettably, we're left to nonchalantly yawn at its conventional look.

You can compare the Samsung Craft with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

With a loud roar, we are especially enticed by its brilliant 3.3” AMOLED touchscreen which happily packs WVGA resolution (480 x 800) with support for 262k colors. There's no arguing that colors pop with lush and vibrant tones, but it's also complemented with some stunning detail since the tiniest of text is still legible to the naked eye. Viewing angles are decent, but much like other handsets implementing AMOLED panels, it suffers in outdoor usage when the sun is shining brightly down on it. As for responsiveness, the capacitive panel manages to register touches correctly, but we notice some instances of delay – which can be attributed most likely to the software on the phone.

Three physical buttons grace the area below the display – these are the send, end, and back/clear keys. All three are well sized, flush with the surface, and provide a relatively tactile response when pressed.

It's quite crowded on the left side of the phone seeing that it packs the easy to access microSD card slot, voice command button, pronounced volume rocker, and lanyard spot. While on the right edge, you've got the two-level shutter key, microUSB port for charging/PC connection, and dedicated lock/unlock key. Finally, the 3.5mm headset jack is the only sole item found on the top area of the handset.

When viewing the rear of the phone at a certain angle, you can visually see that it has a red polished look to it – which of course holds the Samsung branding and the striking 4G logo. Additionally, you'll find the 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, self-portrait mirror, and notches for the speaker phone. The back cover can be easily removed without much force and will provide access to the battery and SIM card slot.

By no means does it have the snappiest mechanism in opening the QWERTY, but it's more than adequate with its resistive quality. Thankfully, the keyboard sports a venerable layout that's equally usable in form thanks to its dedicated row for numbers and directional arrows. The hard plastic feeling buttons are all evenly sized, slightly flush, and have even spacing in between them. We found typing to be an easy and joyful process since it offers some good feedback without much falter when speed typing.

Samsung Craft 360 Degrees View:

Interface and Features:

Having said that the Craft closely emulates its other brothers and sisters, the handset also follows suit with its platform experience seeing that it retains Samsung's TouchWiz 2.0. You'll be presented with three homesceeens that you can personalize with their own wallpaper and set of widgets. As we all know by now, some of these widgets offer some additional functionality, while others simply launch specific apps. The main menu is laid out in its typical grid-like fashion which unfortunately is static – which means that icons cannot be moved. Overall, the speed of navigating between the main menu or homescreens isn't the smoothest, unlike some high-end smartphones, but should suffice for a feature phone. Fortunately, the WVGA resolution does add some pop to the overall presentation of the platform.

Capable to holding a maximum tow of 2,000 contacts, there are plenty of specific information that can be tied with each person in your list. From phone numbers to email addresses, there are a wealth of details you can associate.

Even though it packs a usable hardware QWERTY, you'll have the on-screen keypad as an alternative choice if you prefer the touch option. To lessen some time spent inputting text, you can enable the T9 option for a faster method, however, there is no landscape on-screen option – so that means you'll need to whip out the physical keyboard at that point. The Craft's email app, “mail@metro,” is pretty comparable to others since setting up a generic email account is a breeze by simply providing your email address and password. For those that are unique, it'll require some additional pieces of information, such as server addresses, to properly set up.

For those Individuals with the affinity for instant messaging or social networking, you'll find all of your needs appeased with the “IM and Social” app which is a centralized hub that aggregates a host of accounts. It has support for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, AIM, Windows Live Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger.

Without a doubt, the most frustrating thing we experienced with the Samsung Craft is its lack of preloaded software. Specifically, there are plenty of icons that are found in the main menu, like Loopt, Mobile Banking, or Metro Navigator, but the annoying part of it all is that clicking them will only provide you the choice of downloading them. In our experience, a good 90 percent of the apps on the phone had to be downloaded before we had the opportunity of using them.


Boasting a 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera in its housing, picture quality was average at best with this shooter. Granted, we adore the myriad of options that are traditionally found with Samsung's camera interfaces, the images it produces as a simple point and shoot doesn't radiate anything jaw dropping. Although outdoor images did come out with mediocre detail, color reproduction was a bit more on the bland side. Conversely, there is a fair amount of noise which can be seen in images taken indoors with poor lighting. Luckily, the LED flash does remedy the issue, but it leaves the shot looking rather over-exposed.

Sporting a maximum shooting resolution of 640x480 and a capture rate of 15fps, video recording with the Craft won't produce the stunning memories saved with some HD equipped handsets. However, the fair amount of detail it's able to capture, combined with the tolerable frame rate, should prove adequate enough for most people.

Samsung Craft Sample Video:

Following accordingly with other handsets, the music player's presentation on the Craft is what you expect. It displays the album cover, track information, and some on-screen controls. We're happy to find some level of personalization with its three skin offerings that'll provide you a visualization (with the earphones connected), displaying lyrics, and your normal layout. Audio quality from its speaker was average at best since it wasn't terribly loud on the highest setting – but isn't riddled with any strained tones.

AMOLED displays are probably the best when it comes down to video playback, and the Craft fits the bill perfectly. Although it stuttered briefly after initially loading one of our test videos, which is encoded in MPEG-4 800 x 480 resolution, it soon was able to play it flawlessly without any hiccups. Colors naturally explode and the smooth rate it's able to run just makes the entire experience breath-taking.

Light users should suffice with the handset's 165MB of internal storage, but it can undoubtedly be supplemented with microSD cards up to 32GB in size.

Internet and Connectivity:

The Samsung Craft is a tri-band CDMA (800/1700/1900 MHz) device with its sole uniqueness found in its dual-band LTE connectivity (1700/2100 MHz). Currently, Las Vegas is the only market to have a live LTE network up and running, but its expansion will continue to other larger markets very shortly. As for 3G access, which still might not be prevalent in most areas, the handset is equipped to support 1xEV-DO rev.0. However, you can resort to using its Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g for a faster connection if you can't tolerate its slower cellular data one. In addition, it packs Bluetooth 2.1 to enable other wireless devices to connect with it.

Despite having the ability to reach some ridiculous speeds with LTE, the web browsing experience doesn't translate like something that one would think a next-generation device should exhibit. Even though we are connected via Wi-Fi, the MetroWEB browser, which is in fact the POLARIS Browser version 6.2, didn't provide a worthwhile experience to make it supremely better over other handsets. At times it just seemed to struggle to have a consistent experience and didn't properly load everything. Sure it has kinetic scrolling, but when its inconsistent speed is either super smooth or terribly choppy, it doesn't leave us with a good impression. Ultimately, the web browsing experience is indeed a test in itself, but when it's packing support for LTE speeds, we'd question whether or not it's a viable solution for those who look for lighting speeds with web browsing.


Handling phone conversations with the Craft is surprisingly good since we didn't experience any hint of obstruction during our testing. The earpiece produces some decent tones to make the already clear and distinct voices of our callers even easier to comprehend – plus there is no background or static noise. On the flip side, our callers did say the same thing about us on their end – specifically, our voice was more than audible and natural in tone. When switching over to the speakerphone, it might not have produced some overbearing tones, but conversing is still more than pleasant.

To our amazement, the handset doesn't handle well in retaining a solid connection to the network. In our time testing it, we did experience quite a few dropped calls in our area.

Battery life should be good enough to last a solid day on normal usage, but we did obtain a talk time of over 7 hours from a single charge. The manufacturer has it rated for  6 hours or talk and 200 hours of standby time.


With arms wide open and readily awaiting an embrace, we welcome the next generation of data connectivity for mobile with the onset of LTE. Sure it's only available in one market for right now, but it does signal the next era of mobile connectivity – and the Samsung Craft is here to give us a tasting.

Accepting it solely as a messaging device, its $299.99 price is surely its biggest sore spot – even though it's branded as the first LTE enabled handset. In fact, its web browsing performance over Wi-Fi is still nothing worth bragging about, but its hefty price does exhibit some rich hardware under the hood to match it. However, there are a host of other alternatives out there that are more than ideal for messaging individuals. Additionally, there are smartphones out there that easily triumph over the Craft in a variety of key areas.

In the end, it's nice that the Craft is bestowed with the prestigious title of being the first LTE enabled handset on the market, but it just doesn't come off on a level surface as something that's considered to be next-generation.

Samsung Craft Video Review:


  • Stunning AMOLED display
  • Great calling quality
  • LTE connectivity


  • Bulky & bland design
  • Inconsistent web browsing experience
  • No pre-loaded apps

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

3 Reviews

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