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NOTE: The Samsung Finesse is no longer available from Straight Talk, but they have recently added a new touch-screen phone, the Samsung t528g. For more info about this model, check out this page: Samsung t528g info

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NOTE: The Samsung Finesse is no longer available from Straight Talk, but they have recently added a new touch-screen phone, the Samsung t528g. For more info about this model, check out this page: Samsung t528g info

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First off, I need to apologize. I meant to get this published a few days earlier, but was unable to do so because of a change in plans at home, but I’ll do my best to answer your questions about the web browsing capabilities of the Samsung Finesse Straight Talk version. (Please click here to view this phone on Straight Talk’s site.) Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

The biggest question has been weather the r810c is capable of doing full HTML web pages, or is limited to the more limited WAP protocol. The good news is that it is a full HTML browser. However, many sites with mobile versions will automatically detect that you are browsing on a mobile device and direct you to the mobile version of their site. Facebook, for example, loads the mobile version but presents a link to get to the “full” version. For sites with no designated mobile version, or for those where the site doesn’t detect that you’re using a mobile phone to access it, the full HTML version will display.

I was satisfied, but not thrilled, with the page load times over the EVDO network. For example, I loaded the full html version of priceline.com, which has several pictures, lots of graphics, and dozens and dozens of links on the page, in a little over a minute. For the sake of comparison, I tried visiting Priceline on my LG 290c, which uses the slower 1xRTT network instead of EVDO, and it took about the same amount of time to load the mobile version. So clearly, the EVDO is faster than other cellular access, but it still falls far short of broadband speeds.

Another thing worth considering is that if you frequently visit the same sites, the browser will cache some of the images and graphics that need to be loaded on those sites. This way, on subsequent visits to the same site it will pull the images out of memory rather than over the network, resulting in a faster page load time.

Still, when possible, you’ll want to view the mobile-optimized sites in order to improve load times and navigability. I found this particularly handy for checking Facebook. I was already logged in, and it took less than 15 seconds to load my current news feed so I could see what my friends were up to.

The second most-asked question was whether YouTube or other streaming video sites work with the Finesse r810c. Unfortunately, the answer seems to be “no.” I tried to access YouTube both by typing in “youtube.com” as well as “m.youtube.com” for the mobile site. In each cases, I ended up viewing the YouTube mobile site, where I could see thumbnail clips of popular videos as well as a search box to find the videos of my choice. When I clicked on a video, it looked as though the phone was going to play it, as the internal video player launched. However, just a few seconds later I received the error message “Unsupported.” From what I’ve seen, other owners of the Straight Talk r810c had a similar problem, and no one has been able to get YouTube to work.

I also tried online video site blip.tv. In this case I was a little more optimistic, as the site offers a drop-down box with the option of viewing the video in the “Mobile Phone Third Generation Platform (3gp)” format. I thought this might work, as 3gp is the same format used by the phone’s camcorder. Unfortunately, blip.tv did not play on my Finesse either, even in the 3gp format.

So it seems there is no way to view streaming video over the internet on the Samsung Finesse. I did find one VERY minor consolation, however. I use a Firefox browser extension, called download helper, on my computer that allows me to download YouTube videos for later offline viewing. This extension also supports file conversion, allowing you to select the file type it will be saved as. I used download helper to get a YouTube video in 3gp format, which I then transferred to my phone using bluetooth. I was then able to watch it there. Of course, this is a lot of work to watch a short video, and is no substitute for streaming directly to the phone. As I said, it’s a small consolation and the lack of flash video on the r810c is a disappointment, if not a surprise.

The third question I’ve heard a lot is how it works with web-based email applications. I thought it worked very well for Gmail, loading extremely fast (less than 30 seconds). I was also able to use Google Calendar, thought it wasn’t quite as fast as I would like. Still, if you’re entering most of your appointments while at a computer, and need mobile access only to view your calendar and occasionally add/edit appointments, the Finesse should be fine.

On Yahoo! mail, there are two versions – the newer version displays more like an outlook desktop application, while the older version looks more like a web page. If you’re a Yahoo user, you know what I mean. Anyway, the Finesse cannot display the newer version, but the old version looks just fine.

[EDIT 1/6/10: The Finesse browser works fine for reading emails on Yahoo emails "classic" version, but I ran into problems with composing messages. Specifically, when I tried to enter text in the body of the email message, the browser would not recognize that portion of the page as a text entry field. I solved this problem by using Yahoo's mobile version, located at m.yahoo.com.]

Similarly, Hotmail worked great as well. I believe that Hotmail also allows users to choose between a ‘new’ and ‘old’ version of the site, but I only use the more static page-like layout, and that worked well on the Finesse.

One thing that I will say about the web mail services is that it can be slow to find contacts. When using a computer, you’ll usually just have to type the first few letters of a contact’s name or address and then select the correct entry from an auto-fill list. On the Samsung r810c browser, as with most mobile browsers, I suspect, you’ll have to look through your address book to select someone. This will add a few steps if you’re composing a new message from scratch. Reading messages and replying to those messages is easier than starting from scratch, of course.

Here are a couple of other thoughts about the browsing experience on the Straight Talk version of the Samsung Finesse:

  • The browser is always in “landscape” display mode, regardless of how the phone is positioned. The main volume keys, on the left side of the phone, control the zoom function when in browser mode. It’s nice to have these easily accessible external keys, and makes for a smoother browsing experience vs. if the zoom control were a touch-screen function.
  • Another thing that I noticed is, when clicking on a web link in the browser, there is no vibrate feedback. This can be a little confusing when all the controls within the phone’s operating system do provide such feedback.
  • One complaint I had is that the browser doesn’t fit text to the screen width on most sites. So if you’re reading a lengthy article, it can get to be very annoying to read half a line of text, then scroll to the right, then back to the left to read the next line, and so on down the page.
  • The browser does a nice job of displaying pictures.
  • I enjoyed using the web browser to follow a football game on NFL.com’s mobile site. While traveling, I followed the play-by-play of a game that wasn’t on the TV or Radio in my area

That’s all I’ve got for now. Again, I apologize for not getting this out sooner. I’ll try to do a video soon so you can get a better feel for how the browser works. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please ask.

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33 Responses to “ Straight Talk r810c Browser Review ”

  1. Curious
    January 4, 2010 at 10:52 pm

    Thanks for all the info. It’s really helpful!

  2. Kate
    January 5, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    Is there a way to install another mobile browser on this phone, other than the native one? I’m wondering if Opera Mini might not solve the text-wrapping issues…

  3. Al
    January 5, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    Thanks for the update on the browser. I have had the same experiences with mine. The most frustrating is the need to scroll to read text on a website. This gets old on a touch screen. I have found that reducing the sensitivity of the touch screen (an option in the menus) makes things a little better because it does reduces false “clicks” or selections as you scroll.

    Those who seek information on streaming video or youtube need to listen to you Pbushx2. IT DOES NOT WORK. If you want a phone that handles on line video this is not it. This is of little consequence to some people and is very important to others. I notice that MetroPC included some video on microSD cards that it included with its Finesse models. There does seem to be some hope that a user could load a video to a microSD card but likely copy protection would prohibit anything that many would want to watch in their airplane seat.

    Just a possibly helpful note to current Straight Talk users: If they promise to send you something (in my case a new battery) you can call them back with your “case number” in 48 hours to get a tracking number that will tell you that it has been shipped and when it is scheduled to arrive. It looks like they mostly use FedEx. Otherwise you may just wait for it and wait for it and then find that they didn’t ship it due to an “incorrect parameter” listed by the last person you talked to. Pretty frustrating.

    Despite my frustrations, I do feel that this phone is a good choice for a somewhat full-featured phone at a low price per month for reasonable use times. I don’t want to discourage people but rather just be aware of your own needs and what you will be happy with. If you read this blog you will have a pretty good idea of what you are getting in to. You have to jump in at some point. Who knows – the Android may be the next reasonably priced wave that we jump on. But this one might just do for now.

  4. pbushx2
    January 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I’ve tried a few different methods of installing Opera Mini, including via the memory card and by downloading from the web directly to the phone, but neither seemed to work. I’ll keep working on it, but I’m not optimistic.

  5. Serena
    January 8, 2010 at 11:45 am

    I want to know if this is really worth getting because right now i have the boost mobile which is a monthly 50 dollars for unlimited ….i also want to know if it does have a facebook app and how god is the web browsing and then texting….It is so expensive .. please do let me know or do you knwo of any other smart phones with any prepaid deals that have the same plans of unlimited that are worth getting

  6. Serena
    January 8, 2010 at 11:46 am

    and also where do you purchase the sd cards from ??

  7. an_old_geek
    January 10, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    As far as youtube goes, this URL MAY work for this phone (http://www.youtube.com/xl). I do not own the r810c YET and I am hoping that someone will try this and report back if this works. this works for playing youtube videos on a wii (using Opera as a browser) and hopefully will work for the r810c.

  8. pbushx2
    January 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Serena – honestly, I’m not sure I would recommend this outright – I’d say first read the full review on this site, then decide. If you’re not at least 75% sure you want this phone after reading my review, I’d say stay away. One option I might suggest is to go with a less expensive phone from Straight Talk, then use the leftover money to get an iPod Touch instead. Then you’ll be carrying two devices, but the Touch can do so many things it’s amazing. And you can use it to access the internet/email/youtube wherever you have wifi.

  9. pbushx2
    January 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I got mine on Amazon.

  10. pbushx2
    January 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    I tried that link and, unfortunately, it also failed to load videos on the phone.

  11. Al
    January 11, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    This section may not be the right place for this – move it if you need to. Today I become a former 810 Finesse owner. I have been trying to get a battery from Straight Talk since December 21, 2009. I have been promised that the battery will arrive in 3-5 days several times. Yesterday I asked to talk to a supervisor – I find that they cannot ship just a battery and that all of the prior promises were BS. You have to send in the entire phone, they see if it is truly defective (even though it is just the battery) and then send a new one if they agree. In the mean time you are without your phone and will lose your phone number. The other alternative for me was to simply return it under the 30 day money back. I switched to an LG 220 (bought at Walmart) and they ported my number and time over to that phone. Not a real fancy phone, but surprisingly good so far. I will likely upgrade some day but was not real pleased with the ascending ringtone anyway (I have a mild hearing loss).

    So my experience with the Finesse ends on a bad note. I have a case, micro-SD card, data cable, return shipping as the cost of my experience. Buyer beware.

  12. Andre
    January 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Al – Were you able to get a full refund minus the airtime/shipping?

  13. Andre
    January 11, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Also Al how long did the refund/return process take for you? because i also purchased the finesse and was thinking about returning it but it seems like the process may be a huge ordeal.

  14. Marc
    January 12, 2010 at 1:00 am

    Well I’m still waiting on my W2 so I can do my taxes, so I can buy my wife and I one of these phones but while waiting trying to get as much info on this phone I came accross this site, I ofcource unable to try and of these things but maybe some of you might like to try…

    http://www.cellsea.com/phones/related/SamsungFinesse_R810/wallpaper.htm

    They have games and apps and other stuff might be worth to check out…also I know one of you posted about using opera browser I plan on downloading one but seen there was many version what is the best one to get or atlease one that works..

    Thanks

  15. Serena
    January 12, 2010 at 9:05 am

    so marc you can actually download them to the phone ? and do they work ?

  16. Serena
    January 12, 2010 at 9:07 am

    also could you please tell me about the other straight talk phones like the 4510rc i think it is where the keyboard kindda comes out …and can i transfer my phone number from boost to straight talk ……i know that question is away from topic but if anyone knows please let me know …..thanks

  17. pbushx2
    January 12, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Serena
    You should be able to transfer your number from boost to Straight Talk, but I’ve never done that so I don’t know how long it would take (probably a few days). Here’s some more info on the r451c: r451c.com
    You might also want to look into the LG 290c – a very nice phone as well, although it lacks a qwerty keyboard and mp3 player. Here’s more info on that model.

  18. Al
    January 13, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Andre –

    My situation may not be typical, but they didn’t give me any trouble with the return. I think as long as you are within the 30 days from purchase (or is it the date of putting it into service?)they will take it back. The cost to send it back with insurance was about $14 UPS from Michigan (you send it back to an address in Indiana). If you are not pleased with the phone it is a relatively small hassle for a $300+ refund. I probably would have kept the phone except they wanted me to mail it back to them before they replaced it leaving me without a phone, and I was told that I would lose my number.

    I liked many things about the Finesse phone, but for basic services I am also pretty satisfied with the LG220 that I bought (though this is certainly an apples to oranges comparison). The voice sound quality of the 220 is actually better than the Finesse in my estimation – the calls are crystal clear even on speaker. There is no WOW! factor to the LG220 but that is not an issue for us old farts. The 220 will do for a while (and is only $40) until something else comes along from Straight Talk – though I suspect that the Verizon network will keep the Straight Talk phone features pretty locked down to limit competition with their phones.

    I will likely stay with Straight Talk for the foreseeable future. I am not a big phone talker and 1000 minutes is plenty for me. On my old prepaid plan (Alltel @ $.15 minute) $35 got me 233 minutes. Not sure what the tracfone with double minutes would work out to.

    Best wishes to you all as I depart the discussion and thanks go to PBushx2 for all of the insights and wisdom.

  19. Marc
    January 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I have a question, I wanted to know about the msn, yahoo and aim chat….I seen on one website that the finess has all 3, my question is, is this true and are they any good??

    I would love to see a video on it and see what it looks like..I’m more interested in the msn since that is really the only one I use on my laptop..

    Thanks..

  20. Serena
    January 17, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    hi there again i wanted to know that you do the straight talk prepaid deals but would you possibly do the boost ones ….i have heard that boost is coming out with a blackberry and has a cdma service i was wondering how good are you on the blackberries?

  21. Todd
    March 1, 2010 at 2:55 am

    Serena, from my understanding, the BlackBerry on Boost will be the Curve model, and yes, It will operate on the CDMA/Sprint side (Not the slow IDEN/Nextel, text message troubled side of Boost) and Sprint has went with all 50 states now on CDMA instead of the original 13 or so.

    However, the Blackberry plan will be 60 a month unlimited instead as RIM Reasearch In Motion – makers of the BlackBerry) want their cut for using their BB apps.

  22. Todd
    March 1, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Also, I have the Samsung rc451. Wap browsing kinda sucks but it sounds like the Finesse is pretty limited itself, especially considering the price-point of $348.00 (The BlackBerry Curve offered on Boost is only $249.00 for example and the Sanyo Incognito on Boost CDMA is $129.00 and not too shabby of a phone itself) I prefer the coverage of ST myself, just hope they get some more phone offerings in the not too distant future.

    I also hear Droid is coming to Boost, so ST would do well to kick it up a notch from Moto Razrs, a so-so qwerty phone and an almost there touch screen.

  23. Brandon
    March 25, 2010 at 12:20 am

    I just bought my finesse about a month ago and in doing a lot of online research I have found that this site is really well informed so let me say thanks first off. My biggest question was weather or not there was a way to stream videos seeing as how that is what i do most of the time on a computer. After many people saying yes or talking about the Metro PCS version I finally get my answer. I am sad that it cant do videos for a phone that cost over 300 dollars. My second question is is there a place you can go to get more widgets for the phone, so far i have not been able to find a site that supports st finesse, so does anybody know of a site that can do this or again is it impossible. If st gets more phones in the future I hope the phones are able to stream videos and/or add widgets or apps to the phone for i will upgrade. Overall i like st and would recommend it to friends however i would tell them to do their research to make sure they get the phone that works best for them. Thank you again for being to informative.

  24. SanDiegan
    March 31, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    I read in a review somewhere that ST limits the web sites you can browse to. It implied that they might be limited to selected news, sports, weather and email providers. That would be a deal-breaker for me — the whole reason I want a full HTML browser is so the whole web is available. I don’t just want someone’s idea of the top 100 sites. (I’m not talking about streaming video, btw — I understand that’s blocked and I’m OK with that.) Is this going to be a problem? Do Impulse owners on ST have issues with blocked web sites?
    Thx for the help.

  25. pbushx2
    April 30, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I didn’t experience any blocked sites in my extensive testing with the Finesse.

  26. j. white
    December 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    i have the straight talk sch-r355c. Thought about getting the finesse. when using the web is there an instant connection or does it take a few seconds to connect. the one thing i don’t like about the sch-r355c is it takes so long to connect. I compare it to dial up and broad band on computers. Does anyone have any info or advice? Thanks

  27. pbushx2
    December 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Hi J.,
    I have used both and I don’t think the Finesse is enough of an improvement to justify its cost. If you have decent AT&T coverage in your area, you might also look into the new Nokia E71, which I’m really liking so far. Here’s the review that I started for that phone:
    http://pbush14.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/straight-talk-nokia-e71-review/

  28. Jeff
    December 27, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    So anyone tried to load pandora on this phone yet?

  29. pbushx2
    January 9, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Many have tried, none have succeeded unfortunately. Try one of the new Nokias if you want to add apps or do more streaming:

    http://pbush14.wordpress.com/2010/10/22/straight-talks-new-nokia-e71-and-nokia-6790/

  30. Isabella
    January 20, 2011 at 5:01 am

    I see this phone is back on Straight Talk’s website-though not under the “Finesse” name (after talk that it was discontinued). Any idea if the re-introduced phone is an improved version? My husband is adamant that he wants to stick with Straight Talk, prefers the cdma network (due to extensive traveling) and is looking for a good phone to make full use of their unlimited plan. Any new feedback, please? thanks.

  31. shelly
    February 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    i have just 1 ? does the samsung r810 run on verizon tower i live in the country n thats the only tower i can get service on i want this phone really bad but i have 2 make sure it runs on verizon!

  32. pbushx2
    February 11, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    Yes, it’s on Verizon.

  33. pbushx2
    February 11, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Isabella
    I don’t think it’s improved at all, just a slightly different name. I wouldn’t recommend this phone. Is there any way that AT&T would work? I really like the new Nokia E71.

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