Just Delivered: Samsung Galaxy Centura Android Smartphone (SCH-S738C)

Subject: Mobile | July 5, 2013 - 08:00 AM |
Tagged: smartphone, sch-s738c, Samsung, just delivered, galaxy centura, android 4.0.4

Just Delivered is a new section of PC Perspective where we share some of the goodies that pass through our labs that may or may not see a review, but are pretty cool none the less.

Find the Galaxy Centura on Amazon!

I recently decided to move away from AT&T and try out a Straight Talk plan on the recommendation of friends. Moving to Straight Talk also meant getting a new phone though, because when I went to Straight Talk last month AT&T compatible SIM cards were still not available.

Long story short, I ended up getting the Samsung Galaxy Centura smart phone and Straight Talk's $45/month no-contract offering, which is around half of what I was paying AT&T! The phone itself cost $100.

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The Samsung Galaxy Centura is smartphone that operates on Verizon's network and runs Android 4.0.4. Not the latest and greatest Android, but Samsung has not "blessed" the phone with its TouchWiz UI and a nice step up from the Samsung Infuse 4G's Android 2.3 OS that Samsung never bothered updating further (heh).

The Samsung Galaxy Centura is model number SCH-S738C (GP). It measures 4.44" (H) x 2.4" (W) x 0.45" (D) and weighs 4.4 ounces. The front of the phone features a 3.5" 262K TFT touchscreen with a resolution of 320 x 480. A small speaker grill and Tracfone logo sit at the top, while a Samsung logo and three capacitive buttons sit below the screen. The buttons are menu, home, and back. The front of the phone is black and surrounded by a glossy blue bezel that also matches the battery door.

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The back of the phone has another Samsung logo, a speaker grill, and a 3MP camera capable of shooting 3MP stills and 640 x 480 video. The back of the phone comes off and doubles as the battery door. Samsung has put several clips along the edges to hold it in place, and may actually be a bit too secure as it can be hard to get the door off.

A standard 3.5mm headphone jack is located at the top of the phone, a power button is located on teh right side, and two volume buttons are located on the left edge. The bottom edge includes a micro-USB connector.

Internally, the Galaxy Centura features a Qualcomm MSM7625A SoC with a single core Snapdragon S1 processor (45nm, Cortex-A5) clocked at 800 Mhz, an Adreno 200 GPU, and a CDMA cellular radio. Additionally, the SoC is paired with 512MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage (expandable by a microSD card under the battery door), and a decent 3.7V, 5.55 Wh, 1500 mAh battery. Other internal hardware includes an accelerometer, GPS, Bluetooth radio, and Wi-Fi radio. I am not as familiar with CDMA as GSM, but the Centura operates on Verizon's equivalent to AT&T's 3G network for data and vocie (though not at the same time). It is currently connected to Verizon's EVDO Rev. A:8 network. As far as network data speed, the fastest results I have been able to get, as measured by speedtest.net, are 1,276 kbps down and 487 kbps up.

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While it had no problems running Android games at decent frame rates, 3DMark mobile pushed it to its limits. It scored 536 in the Ice Storm benchmark and 281 in the Ice Storm Extreme benchmark, for example. Unfortunately, this 3DMark app was not available when I had the Infuse 4G so I am not able to offer up comparison results.

Now that the specifications and pricing is out of the way, I can talk a bit about first impressions. I have been using the smartphone for a couple of weeks now, and it is a fairly solid device, especially considering the price of the hardware (and the monthly plan is cheap too). It is noticeably slower at some tasks than my old Samsung Infuse, but that is to be expected with slower-clocked hardware. With that said, performance was actually much better than I expected it to be. The phone is able to run apps and games without issue, though when multi-tasking the game frame-rate starts to dip. Switching between applications (especially with a game running) is not as snappy as with my Infuse, but not terribly slow either. I'm not sure if it's the newer version of Android or not, but the software side of things seems to work well on this hardware.

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The physical smartphone is plastic, but it feels well built. Admittedly, I have dropped my new phone quite a few more times than I would have liked (heh), but it has held up really well. It has not yet gone plastic to concrete yet though. Dropping it on tile and carpet has not caused any issues, however. When holding the phone and using the touchscreen, there is no creaking of the battery door and it seems to stand up to pressure without problems. With that said, I do have one complaint about the physical hardware, and that is that when holding the phone in the landscape position, the end of the back cover next to the speaker grill gives too much and makes a creaking noise when pressed in (say, when playing a racing game). That is the only area that exhibits that issue, however. It is likely due to the fact that Samsung carved out a bit internally for the microSD card and speaker underneath the back cover on the phone itself whereas the rest of the phone's back cover fits snugly to the back of the phone.

Overall, I'm happy with the phone, it gets excellent signal where I live now and is a good Android (albeit 4.0.4) experience for only $100 for the hardware. If you are off contract right now and thinking about switching to one of the many MVNOs (and live in an area with good Verizon coverage), I'd recommend trying out the Samsung Galaxy Centura from what I've experienced thus far. It is not the latest or fastest hardware by far, but it has great price/performance.

August 6, 2013 | 04:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Contacts are listed under the menu listed as "people" on my screen it is beside the play store (factory settings) phone log is under the call screen look at the top menus .... Swipe screen to the left :)

September 17, 2013 | 09:59 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I had this issue until someone told me to change the Calendar out of australian time to Central (where I live). No more crazy times switches every few hours. (keeping fingers crossed!)

August 12, 2013 | 10:06 PM - Posted by Colin (not verified)

This phone has an SD card slot but appears to be unable to move apps to it. I've had a similar problem with a Samsung Galaxy tablet. this makes no sense but I've tried a lot of different ideas and had two different IT guys look at the situation and still no solution, except that the phone just won't do it.

August 13, 2013 | 04:24 PM - Posted by Dave (not verified)

Anybody know how to sync Facebook contacts? I can't find the option anywhere on the phone or app. Didn't have that problem with my LG.

August 15, 2013 | 10:36 PM - Posted by karen (not verified)

I have had this phone for a couple days now and find that I am not receiving all calls and texts...I talk to people saying "I tried to call or text you" and I got NOTHING. Can I call the company and have them fix this or did I just get a BUM phone?

August 16, 2013 | 12:13 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Well, initially this was a good phone. Worked well, had some great apps and features, but now I'm starting to dislike it on a massive scale.

Now it continuously claims that I have no memory left on the internal drive when I try to send a text to someone. However, in the phone's system, under status and storage and all of the categories, I see nothing that could be interfering with my texting. My phone storage says that I have a bit over a hundred Mb free, and I even have a 16 Gb SD card too!

Does anybody have any idea why I cannot text and why this problem with the 'memory' capacity is happening? I already tried contacting StraightTalk directly, but they were no help at all.

I'd rather not have to contact them again, because I know if I do, I'll probably end up in an argument with the rep. about their service and support.

Seriously, I need help. I'm not looking forward to having to buy another phone and have wasted my money on this one.

August 17, 2013 | 11:44 PM - Posted by Lastblast (not verified)

From my experience on other phones your phone storage of 100 megs seems a little low. And from past experince I had some of my biggest issues with no phone memory. That being said is there anyway you can free up its memory by moving apps and saving text on your memory card?
I have the same phone as you but have not run into this problem yet, but that is how I would approach it when it happens to me. Free up your phone memory, start moving and deleting things.
Worse case a factory reset would free it up, but make sure you have what you need backed up.

August 16, 2013 | 06:37 PM - Posted by Lnida (not verified)

the outer volume is not working I cant here it ring I have check volume it is not on silent it just vibrates had anyone had this problem and how did you fix it

January 18, 2014 | 01:25 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am having the same problem now. Did you ever figure out what the problem is??? If so, how did you fix it?

August 19, 2013 | 04:34 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

To anyone else who has the Samsung Centura, does it have a flash? I have taken pictures with my Centura but I cannot find a flash function on the phone. Does one exist and if so where do I find it?

August 22, 2013 | 12:57 AM - Posted by Ryanps7 (not verified)

Sorry to tell you this.
It does not have a flash at all.

August 22, 2013 | 12:49 AM - Posted by Ryanps7 (not verified)

.I hate that you can move apps to the .sd card .
Has anyone found a way to do it. I know the s4 had the same problem .

So Samsung gave it a new ROM in an update but I ind on the on the Centura
di did not eve the mode on their website. When I talk to customer service they could not even find the model in their system. Pretty sad considering its been out for a few months now

August 22, 2013 | 12:54 AM - Posted by Ryanps7 (not verified)

And to answer ? Right before from August 19th.. no it does not have a flash.

September 1, 2013 | 07:43 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do you replace the usb port where you plug the charger in

September 1, 2013 | 09:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just bought one of the StraightTalk Samsung Centura s738V. This is my first smart phone, but the kids have had them for a few years with different carriers. I am wondering if anyone has figured out why the time changes and backs up. Mine seems to go back 6 hours from my Central time zone back to GMT. It has done it 3 times in 24 hours. Last time I looked, the time zone was grayed out because I have it set to auto update, but it was showing Mountain time zone there. This is my first Verizon and maybe I am not really using their towers? I haven't been able to isolate when it does it, but I am using my home Wi-Fi and time and time zone are both on auto update. This phone is useless if you can't trust the time. I am ok with hacking and trying things since I am still under my 15 days to take it back and I didn't port my number to it.

Android ver. 4.0.4
Bandbase ver. S738CWYMC1
Kernel ver. 3.0.8-1207620
build number. IMM76D.S738CWYAMC1

Any thoughts?

September 17, 2013 | 10:02 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Was told it was in the Calendar--change it out of australian time.

September 6, 2013 | 10:34 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

i just purchase this phone last night and cannot make calls. Keep getting the Verizon message saying call has to be completed with credit card, etc. What to I need to do to correct this problem.

September 6, 2013 | 02:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Dial *22890 to activate your phone.

September 6, 2013 | 07:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have full scale of 3G on my Samsung Centura at home if go somewhere without service and come home, I have to restart my phone to get service again. Sometimes I am restarting several times a day. Is there any fix for this?

September 8, 2013 | 04:51 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Can you play temple run on it or subway surfers?

September 10, 2013 | 08:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I love this phone and the plan, though in the last week or two have had it jump back 6 hours at random and as I use my phone as my alarm clock it has let me down a couple times. Have you run into this and if so have you found a remedy??

September 13, 2013 | 07:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

can u play temple run

September 13, 2013 | 11:33 AM - Posted by Mickey (not verified)

I cannot get internet service in places i have had it before?? Help!! It says "No Internet connection" I can only get it when i am at home and have WiFi. This is My first App phone and only had this one a month so i am a rooky and complete dummy so any help on this would be greatly appreciate :)

January 12, 2014 | 10:10 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

im having the same issue

March 25, 2014 | 12:12 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am having the same problem. I cannot access Facebook if I'm not on wifi. I tried turning off the Wi-Fi. I bought this phone so I could access the internet. Tracfone needs to respond.

March 25, 2014 | 12:13 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am having the same problem. I cannot access Facebook if I'm not on wifi. I tried turning off the Wi-Fi. I bought this phone so I could access the internet. Tracfone needs to respond.

September 14, 2013 | 02:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

wat kind of games can u play on it

September 15, 2013 | 05:06 PM - Posted by bvmaltese (not verified)

Does anyone know of an App to combine contacts/peoples information such a phone number, address, email, etc...
I know I can do one at a time but I have hundreds of contacts that are now listed 3-5 times each. I have a Samsung sch-s738C Android 4.0.4.

September 16, 2013 | 11:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do I remove my personal email account from my phone?

September 19, 2013 | 10:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

this phone from straight talk has issues with memory. the sd card can only camera storage cannot use app 2 sd. update jelly bean 4.2 fixes issue

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