The Rant is not one of those high profile type devices that attracts stares. It's just not that flashy (at least not in black, the red and purple versions are another story completely). But it does work well overall, and has a very usable full QWERTY keyboard. For most people that's going to be m... More
The Rant is not one of those high profile type devices that attracts stares. It's just not that flashy (at least not in black, the red and purple versions are another story completely). But it does work well overall, and has a very usable full QWERTY keyboard. For most people that's going to be more than enough. As such, we give the Samsung M540 Rant a solid "Recommended" rating.
Rant supports Sprint's TV and Music Store, so there's plenty of portable entertainment available at 3G Speeds. With stereo Bluetooth and music in the background, the phone could be a student's dream come true. But the music controls aren't as quick and ready as they could be. Still, I'm surprised by the multimedia functions on this low-cost, text-centric candybar.
The first phase of any phone shopper's quest is to decide what they need a phone to do, what they really want their phone to do, and what features would simply be nice little extras.
Rant doesn't pretend to be anything it's not. It has a lot of features common to phones in its price range; no mind-blowing specs or jaw-dropping photos here. Rant's strength lies in meticulous attention to one particular area of functionality; it specializes in quick communications. You won't be watching hi-def vids, but when it comes to text-ability, this thing is bursting at the seams.
In other reviews, I've referred to my ultra-hardy control phone - it's also a Samsung. They make some durable gear. I've tried to kill it many times... and it will not die. I respect that. If this is the first time those words have run through your mind, you need to see better movies. If you've heard it but can't place it, shoot me a message.
Rant comes in red and black flavors. I've got the black one, which has a thin blue seam that frames the screen and separates the navigation buttons from the phone's key pad. There are a lot of buttons on this thing, which may be why Samsung opted for software control of the music player. More on that later.
It's got the twelve-keys you'd expect; digits, pound and asterisk. Above that there are the send and end keys; a menu/ok button, which is surrounded by a directional pad; a back button; a call history/voice command button; and two other multifunction buttons that relate to options displayed at the bottom of the screen. So there's all of the face controls.
On the left side you have a volume rocker, and two soft keys that only work when the keyboard is out. I found a 2.5mm headphone jack, but there aren't any buds in the box. Looks like that stereo Bluetooth feature will be getting some use. If phones are not included, a 3.5mm jack makes more sense. Maybe they are included, but missing from this reviewers' package. No headphone mention in the “what's included” list on the box.
The right side only has one button – for the camera. There's also a miniUSB socket for charging and data transfers. The corner hosts a lanyard clip-point.
The back of the phone is home to a speaker, and one that packs a good punch, for its size. There’s also a 2.0 MP cam with a framing mirror, and it takes video and night shots. This is apparently a software enhancement; there is no flash.
Here's where it gets interesting. Slide the face to the right, and you find a full QWERTY keyboard that's well laid-out and beautifully back-lit. Bringing it out causes the screen to go into landscape mode, and those two soft keys I spoke of before spring to life.
The software will be familiar to current Sprint customers. One-Click, the carousel, and the newer bubble widgets are included. It's a good-looking screen for this level of phone, and the software is pretty friendly and intuitive.
Overall, it's a good-looking device; an optimized and modernized take on the old candybar form factor. It's tasty and slick, and among the best in its field for typing. In this price range, you're not going to find many phones offering more features. And definitely very few that are so highly-specialized. This focus makes for a fun user experience.
Once the call goes through, there can be some trouble if there's noise on the Rant end of the line. The mic isn't as sensitive as higher-end phones, and you really need to speak up to overcome the sounds around you. It isn't bad in quiet or moderately noisy places, but standing on the corner of a busy intersection, I found myself yelling. Otherwise, the phone blocked out everything; the person on the other end heard silence.
Other than that issue, the voice quality is pretty good. Where the rant really shines is in text communications. The keyboard is excellent. The keys are firm but rubbery, so my thumbs aren't sore or raw, even though I must have just typed 1500 words over the last few days. That's a lot on a phone, and really... I'm not fatigued at all. The keyboard looks good as well, and is very easy to see in light and dark environs. I wish I could say the same for my G1.
When you slide out the keyboard, the screen goes landscape, and asks you what kind of message you want to create: Text Message, Picture mail, VoiceSMS, Email, or IM. It couldn't be more quick and simple. This thing is what message fanatics dream about. Those two soft keys on the left side of the phone's face have corresponding options displayed on the screen. Their functions change, depending on what you are doing, and come in very handy.
In terms of all of the text communication functions, I have zero complaints. Zero. Rant plays its part very well. Audio cues are used tastefully throughout. I love the tapping sound it makes during typing. It's kind of thick, but honestly, what do you want from a phone? There's a lot packed into this little bar.
Rant is lacking a bit in the multimedia department. It gets Sprint TV and Music Store access, but there aren't any dedicated music control buttons. This is a tad disappointing, and I think the same customer who wants to be in constant communication with friends (this is not a business device) is likely to want quick control over their music.
Music plays in the background, but you actually have to navigate back to the music store app to pause songs or skip tracks. If you are at the home screen with nothing open, it takes six button-presses to get to the panel where music can be controlled. This negates the purpose of playing music in the background. If a user is in the middle of an IM and wants to pause a song, it takes like, ten clicks.
The soft keys on the edge of the face are useless when the keyboard is tucked away, and there are plenty of other useless keys available when the keyboard is out. It would have been possible to assign music controls to some of them. I've searched the manual and Internet, and have come up empty-handed. If I'm missing something here, please contact the site so we can update this review.
The speaker is on the back and I wish they could have found a place for it on the front. Still, it sounds pretty darn loud when you hold the phone, cupping your fingers behind it. Doing this boosted volume considerably, and caused Will Farrell's SNL bit on his home-made wine crack me up last night.
I've read complaints about Sprint TV looking blocky, but I've had decent a experience. Not perfect, but decent. The phone is $50 after rebate and contract. C'mon! Problems on other devices are a different story.
It's not a web phone, and shouldn't be judged as such. Internet is basic and won't be used extensively. Navigating the phone's software is intuitive, and it's easy to customize. The new standard Sprint carousel is used, and you can set up One-Click and desktop bubbles to get some web content fast and without hassle. The designers did a great job of integrating some basic web content into a messaging phone.
Overall, it's one of the best messaging devices I've ever used. The phone could be just a bit more media friendly. Dedicated music buttons and a standard headphone jack would make this more of a dual-purpose phone. As it is, it's a very well-designed messaging hand-held. Besides, Samsung and Sprint needed to leave some space in their line-up for the Highnote!
A lot of phones are trying to be everything to everyone at the moment, and it's refreshing to see Samsung approach both the Highnote and Rant with such singular vision. That's not to say that either of these phones are lacking critical functions - just that Rant does exactly what it should: facilitate communications. And it does this very well.
I do wonder why Samsung would offer background music without easy controls, but for the price, I consider the multimedia functions a bonus. As it is, the Rant is an excellent deal for the compulsive texter. It does more than just that, with email, VoiceSMS, PictureMail, and IMs. It will keep you in touch wherever you are, and probably cause disruptive problems in work and/or school. This phone induces lots of social interaction.
KEYBOARD: I bought this phone instead of a BlackBerry and HTC product, simply because the keyboard was the nicest one I had ever tried. It has spaces between the keys for fewer mess ups, easily pressed and comfortable for quick texting. Fantastic. I realised I was buying a cheaper product, so there had to be some drawbacks. CAMERA: Zooms in only on low quality picture setting. Does well in daylight. No Flash. Makes a sound when taking picture EVEN WITH SOUND SET TO "MUTE". VIDEO CAMERA: Setting takes a few menu options to find. Can Zoom in and out before filming only. Pretty basic function. Pretty limited sound recording range. TEXTING: Fast and easy to use keyboard. The best I have ever used. Flaws in the programming, sends as picture message if msg is more than 100 or so characters in length. Can glitch after you have selected recipient, and prompt you to select a second recipient. INBOX/OUTBOX: Does not save messages as threads, but as seperate messages one must access one at a time. With Inbox, one may scroll through the messages with ease, whether opened or looking at a list. 100 messages stored max. In Outbox, one must open every single message on it's own, scrolling only in list menu. 100 messages stored max. Date & time are not displayed with message. In "Saved" and "Drafts" folder, can only store 20 messages each. SOUNDS: Makes sounds seperately from muted volume settings: When sending texts, makes beep, When receiving texts, makes beep IF ANY OTHER APPLICATION IS OPEN INCLUDING ANOTHER TEXT. When browsing the internet, makes beeps after pages load. Camera/Videocamera, while taking pictures, adjusting lighting and zoom, makes sounds. Impossible to take pictures quietly. MEMORY SETTINGS: Even though the Memory for Messaging is 4.0MB, The maximum messages saved is 100 in and 100 out. One NEVER EVER uses more than 2MB for messaging. Inefficient usage of memory capabilities. PHONE CALLS: Fine. Better reception than Blackberry and HTC phones. Longer battery usage too. I'm very happy with this. CALENDAR: Glitches when it comes to erasing items, will often erase item just above or below it instead of the item actually selected. Inefficient use of memory kicks in here, with a maximum of 50 events being saved at once. 32 characters maximum per event description.. finicky date and time setting. FRONT NUMERICAL KEYS: Tiny .. too tiny. I hardly use it, kind of a waste of space. WEB BROWSING: Does not play videos. Often displays yahoo searches with 1 sentence per page. Tiny pictures. Often requires extra security to be "Ok"'d 3 or 4 times before loading a simple google search page. Generally capable for text and picture pages. SUMMARY: I love the keyboard so much that I bought the cheaper phone, which had larger limitations in other areas.Less
The Samsung Slyde was great for around 6~8 months but then it starts to go weird. I've had problems like the screen not rotating when i slide the phone,White screen during start up,and it restarting itself periodically. Overall i would recommend this phone for prepaid users but not for Month to Month users. Pros: Good battery~better than my current phone Great keyboard~ Personally its better than the rumor 2 Loud speaker~It's really loud Durable~ Dropped it a few times on concrete and it didn't break. Cons: Poor screen~ the resolution is very bad YouTube is almost UN-viewable Glitches~Often happening once or twice a day Size~ It's very thick, A case doesn't help it eitherLess
I dropped my Samsung Slyde once, from a super short distance, like from my bed to the floor. The LCD screen on this phone is both crap and VERY delicate. It's been a downward fall for this phone and myself. Before it was when you touch the screen it went brighter, then it turned white, and now it's permanently white but when you touch it SOMETIMES it goes back to normal. The entire phone is just crap. My numbers and words sometimes go backwards. (?!) And sometimes when I touch the screen it goes all zig-zaggy and weird. Do not get this phone, please! I'm going to get a Blackberry in March.Less
The screen always freezes, and it shuts itself off all the time. Everyone I know who has it hate it. The camera doesn't have zoom, but the video option does. I find the number buttons on the front much to small. The only thing I like is the QWERTY keyboard.Less
I have had this phone for two and a half years and i LOVE it. Great to text with, mine seems unbreakable.I accidentally dropped in over a ledge and it fell 2 stories and didn't even turn off. It has a great camera and it has a nice appearance. The ONLY thing I don't like is that it doesn't put pictures or music in any order but you do get used to it. I LOVE this phone and would recommend it.Less
Okay, I've had this phone since June of 2009. The first couple of months, it was great. East to text with, simple to use, perfect for my. But that only lasted for about 6 months. It's not a touch phone, so dropping it a few times shouldn't completely screw it up! It randomly turns off, freezes every couple minutes, webpages take FOREVER to load, texts often don't get sent, and Add On features with Pay and Talk don't work. I wasted 50 bucks in a month on this phone. DO NOT GET IT!!!!!Less
My sister and I each got one of these phones about a year and a half ago. At first, it was great, but it started to have a lot of problems. First of all, my sister's phone was stuck on vibrate for a couple of weeks and she couldn't switch it back. Secondly, the screen seems to get damaged pretty quickly. I have been very careful with my phone, and the screen has at least three very noticable flaws. This phone also fails to send text messages sometimes, pocket dials, and doesn't sort pictures in chronological order. In addition to that, adding/listening to music is confusing, you can't put your pictures on the computer unless you purchase a memory card, setting an alarm means turning up the volume, so if you get a call it'll wake you up since there is no separate option, and it freezes from time to time. Another really big problem with this phone is that when you're watching videos, the screen just goes black after a little while and sometimes it's impossible to get it back to normal without turning it off and back on. However, I do love texting on this keyboard, the camera is pretty good in my opinion, and I like its appearance. This might be a good short-term phone, but if you plan to have it for over a year, I wouldn't recommend buying it; too many problems will arise.Less
Love this phone. Every phone I've had, I grew to hate it, except for this one. I didn't have any problems with it whatsoever. :]Less
I got this phone because I like texting and it looked like a good choice. It seemed like a good phone for a while but as days past it gets worse and worse. The screen freezes a lot. Also, It has to many issues! I sometimes send somebody a text and it stops and asks "Would you like to send this now?" I click yes and it says some stupid message to a number I've never heard of. Also it butt dials people ALL THE TIME. When I say all, I mean ALL the time. Personally, spend your money on a better phone.Less
When the phone was on silent, it would often beep at random. For example, when done charging it will let you know with 3 loud beeps even when on silent. Because I charged my phone at night this would wake me up in the early hours of every morning. It would only save a select few of my outbox messages and "fail to read" most of my inbox messages. There were no preset pictures, no good ringtones. No auto-erase option for scheduled events on the calendar. The entire top row on the keyboard showed up different letters when searching for contacts. Very inconvenient and malfunctioning phone. I would not recommend it to anyone.Less