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.

February 7, 2014 | 01:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do I use my music for a ringtone.

February 7, 2014 | 10:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

trying to figure out how to add another email account to my husbands phone and don't know if I need to use pop3 imap or exchange?

February 7, 2014 | 08:19 PM - Posted by kfetz (not verified)

I just purchased this and cannot use my old number (long story). How do I put a txt together for all contacts to send new number? Anyway to do so without having to type each contact name in? some way to select all??? thanks

February 9, 2014 | 02:15 PM - Posted by Justin (not verified)

I've had my SG-Centura, and at first it worked like a dream, but a month and a half later it just constantly changes the time on the phone at least twice a day, and I often have it completely freezing on me, almost 10-15 times a day and no matter how many hours I wait it doesn't recover, and when I remove the battery or force shutdown, it just continuously freezes as soon as it boots up. (Always does the single vibrate then a moment of pause then does consecutive vibrations. This is how I know the phone is frozen up and not just being slow...)

February 10, 2014 | 10:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have galaxy centura, but i just purchased a unlocked gsm galaxy note knock off that is supposed to be compatible for straight talk. I thought i could just remove the sim card from the centura and pop it into the new phone, but to my disappointment the centura doesn't have a sim card. What can I do now to get my new phone up and running? Please help

February 14, 2014 | 06:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Is there no SIM card I have looked for one and cant seem to find it anywhere?

February 16, 2014 | 11:01 PM - Posted by lastblast (not verified)

Folks, my final conclusion on this phone is it is a pile of crap. this is the first phone I have ever hated. I will be using this phone for target practice soon..... Do not buy.... It is not worth the headache. This phone is just meant to torture you.

February 20, 2014 | 05:14 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Cam you use this with speaker phone option? Does it have speaker phone

February 23, 2014 | 12:16 PM - Posted by Constance Ragsdale (not verified)

I lost my manual, how do I put a sim card in my Samsung Galaxy Centura Android-powered...

February 23, 2014 | 12:28 PM - Posted by Constance Ragsdale (not verified)

Can u add a video app 2 the Samsung Galaxy Centura Android-powered S738C.... Loving this phone.... so far still learning it...

February 24, 2014 | 11:38 AM - Posted by sweetpea (not verified)

I have a Samsung SCH-S739C_and when I have someone video chat me it says it is not video compatible. don't make no sense. Also, when I send a text message and attach a picture, it allows me to send me one attachment per message. Is there a download app from google play that I need to download? I want to use my video.

March 3, 2014 | 09:40 AM - Posted by Tara (not verified)

I want to know how to get rid of email and facebook notifications on my phone. I don't want any sound notifications, just one for any new text or voice mail. Is this possible? I still want to recieve emails and facebook notifications, but I just don't want an audible notification. Thanks!

March 5, 2014 | 05:53 PM - Posted by Tbaker4007 (not verified)

New to this Centura tracfone....how do you get the text message to display on your screen as a notification like on the iPhone? We figured out how to get it on the notification bar at the top, but we would like a more obvious display. Is it possible?? :)

March 8, 2014 | 06:48 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do you add and check air time from the phone?

March 13, 2014 | 11:45 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do I delete voicemail notifications on my SCH-S720C MODEL PHONE?

March 15, 2014 | 08:50 PM - Posted by Jack Spratt (not verified)

I bought the exact phone and plan two days ago. What a relief! I'd been using a cheap Chinese android phone with T-Mobile. T-Mobile is a good carrier but I signed a two year contract 2.5 yrs ago and had passable coverage where I lived. Once I moved to a new location the coverage was horrible. This plan is Straight Talk using Verizon and it's a thing of beauty. Many times with T-Mobile it would take days to send a text with picture. Today I texted a 12 mb video clip in seconds!!
I've watched the youtube clip of google demonstrating google voice activation. It's brilliant but it doesn't work like that on this phone. Is it the phone? Is it my settings? Is it the OS? Any ideas would be appreciated as I really like using the voice activation. One of the problems I have is that once you start it you seem to have only 3 or 4 seconds and it cuts you off. Also, the demo from google shows him being able to add onto a message after the initial message is made. Can't do that on my phone.
Any ideas?

March 15, 2014 | 08:56 PM - Posted by Jack Spratt (not verified)

OOKLA Speedtest:
76 ms ping
3.00 Mbps Download
.95 Mbps Upload.

March 22, 2014 | 01:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As an owner 4 six months my 2nd android with Net10. The speed got slower as # of apps. It's clock was ify lost five hours dk y. Signal wood stop tho there were bars it Frose. Factory reset did help one day then happens again. So what does upgrade the 4.2 do?

March 23, 2014 | 08:24 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do I delete an address that I put in to navigate to from my Samsung Galaxy Centura?

March 25, 2014 | 02:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't know how to type in my password while the phone is on the dialpad. Also, I don't know how to turn off the auto typing app. Pleas help me.

March 27, 2014 | 02:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Someone showyd me on my phone à way to check Everything thats been done on my phone in the last couple hours

March 27, 2014 | 02:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Someone showyd me on my phone à way to check Everything thats been done on my phone in the last couple hours

March 29, 2014 | 09:07 AM - Posted by Terri (not verified)

How do I change the flash setting on this phone? It takes very dark pictures. I can't seem to find how to change. Thank you so much!

March 31, 2014 | 03:11 PM - Posted by Lynniepoo (not verified)

I have had a voice problem with this phone from the very beginning. The receiver on the other end says that the sound is muffled and they cannot understand what I am saying. Has anyone else had this issue?

April 2, 2014 | 08:34 PM - Posted by Diane (not verified)

How do you clear the cache on the Samsung SCH-S738C? Went to Tracfone.com and found nothing on it. When I searched "clear cache" it brought up Voice Dialing??

April 15, 2014 | 06:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey I did something to my phone while I was changing the number and I cant call out and they said they cant help me until I give them my new number and cant find it on my phone.

April 15, 2014 | 06:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Hey I did something to my phone while I was changing the number and I cant call out and they said they cant help me until I give them my new number and cant find it on my phone.

April 17, 2014 | 11:26 AM - Posted by bho hater (not verified)

If receive a message or photo that has been sent to several other phones at the same time it won't let me download contents. Any suggestions

April 17, 2014 | 11:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I just bought this phone and I only have about 30mb of ram available and my phone keeps freezing up. I have looked at the amount of ram my running apps is using and they don't total any where near the amount of ram being used. How can I free up my ram and what could be causing it to run so high and freeze my phone up?

April 18, 2014 | 03:20 PM - Posted by Shelby Cummings (not verified)

Guys i need to figure out how to flash a custom rom on this device. i have it rooted and i will gladly download anything i need for me to chamge the look...because i hate it, so some one email me to help me please. thanks guys

April 21, 2014 | 03:30 PM - Posted by jimbo (not verified)

i have an echo...i can hear my words being repeated sometimes...how can i stop this?

April 26, 2014 | 12:57 AM - Posted by Al in El Paso (not verified)

Like many who have this phone, mine changes the time for no reason, it also freezes when I try to turn on the wifi. I would not recommend this phone to anyone.

April 26, 2014 | 11:30 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do you change the default home screen?

April 27, 2014 | 09:48 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Just curious if you are able to receive picture messages on this phone? I bought this phone for my wife and for some reason she can't receive picture messages.

April 29, 2014 | 04:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have the same problem.please help me:(
I dont want to do a factory reset because I don't knuow if my files are backed up..my(ex)boyfriend stole my one and changed my gmail info..i thank you kindly for your services if you had and advice on my dilemma...

May 2, 2014 | 04:12 AM - Posted by TechJunk (not verified)

HI YOgi here form TechJunk

May 2, 2014 | 04:14 AM - Posted by TechJunk (not verified)

You can root it easily with Framaroot

May 12, 2014 | 08:21 AM - Posted by Lorij (not verified)

I have problems receiving group texts. Some come through some come up blank or show a "DOWNLOAD NOW" and it won't download. Any suggestions?

May 17, 2014 | 01:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

have big problem using this galaxy thing as a phone ,dial number to anyone phone connects ,then goes black, can't hang up ,to off ,or take battery out ,help.

May 18, 2014 | 11:18 PM - Posted by Anonymouscorning (not verified)

Can't get my .sd card to work. I got an eight g to

May 28, 2014 | 07:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Are the letters big when you turn it sideways to text? Not knowing is the only thing stopping me from buying this phone

June 10, 2014 | 04:30 PM - Posted by Connie (not verified)

Yes they are bigger...so much easier to use that way. I think you'll like it.

May 28, 2014 | 08:49 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

WD I have this same phones done factory reset now I can hear calls clearly but they can barley hear me how can I turn the Mic volume up or how can I find what app is causing the problem thanks

June 2, 2014 | 11:06 AM - Posted by MikeKend (not verified)

Just got new phone thru Straight Talk. Plugged it up to charge overnight (left it on) and around midnight it was at 90% and the next morning it was at 40%!!!! Is it supposed to be turned off to charge? Has anyone else had this problem?

June 10, 2014 | 04:27 PM - Posted by Connie (not verified)

I see people commenting on things that I don't have a problem with. I'm curious if anyone knows how to move my pictures from the phone to the SD card. Maybe I just need a new card. I did transfer this card from my old phone to the new one. Two different phones.

June 15, 2014 | 01:22 PM - Posted by Anonymou (not verified)

How do I download a message with NO SUBJECT on my my Samsung centrua

June 15, 2014 | 06:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

this is one bad mistake of a phone,
I am with straight talk for about 7 years I never had such a bad experience I would not recommend anyone to get this phone, I had the Proclaim, the Precedent and the S380C, which were pretty good for a pre-paid phone, but the centura sucks.
the video is very bad, the touch screen is not responding and signal is very bad-- I feel bad for my self and for anyone out there who falls in with this phone.

June 15, 2014 | 11:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How are you guys even getting the jellybean update for this phone?

June 17, 2014 | 10:22 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do I check the days/minutes balance on this phone?

June 21, 2014 | 07:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I had the Samsung centura the model beforethe new one and I could download music movies without an app.it just gave u the option when u would wbatch the movie but the Samsung centura won't do this.what can I do to fix this problem

June 25, 2014 | 08:28 AM - Posted by Kelly Outson (not verified)

How can I move my Samsung Centura video to my PC?

June 30, 2014 | 03:41 PM - Posted by Dave (not verified)

How do you empty out the email trash on the 738c without doing it one at a time.
Thank you

July 1, 2014 | 03:32 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

How do you change to the front camera?

July 2, 2014 | 12:35 AM - Posted by Russell (not verified)

What is the best Wifi mobile hotspot app for my phone so I can use my laptop

July 10, 2014 | 09:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

On googleplay store I first downdloaded the free version on foxifi. Once I realized it worked I bought the upgraded app for 7.99. One time payment. I can run my nook anywheres as long as I have service to my phone. Hope this helps

July 4, 2014 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Richard (not verified)

All of a sudden my phone has a white and red bar that comes up across the top of the screen covering the time bar. When I swipe my finger across the screen I get a red line that follows my finger. Whats going on.

July 5, 2014 | 03:06 PM - Posted by Rachel (not verified)

I am having major issues with my galaxy centura such as my clock keeps going back 6 hours even though I have set the time zone to where I live and pita driving me crzy what can I do? Ty

July 10, 2014 | 09:16 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I currently have net10 zte merit internal memory sucks can only download 4 apps and memory is full. I am currently looking to replace my phone with something that has a bigger internal memory. Has to be net10 service is decendent at camp in cooperstown ny to a point. I just found out last week they usually use verzion in the campground and surprised I'm able to get service. Any suggestions for a new phones

July 11, 2014 | 03:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Will my Samsung Galaxy Centura straight talk connect with Ford Sync?

July 17, 2014 | 03:06 AM - Posted by Vanessa (not verified)



July 20, 2014 | 10:55 AM - Posted by camellia47

I forgot my screen passcode because I haven't used the phone in a few months (it's a second phone). I know I used something totally random and now I can't unlock the phone. Any suggestions? I can't lose the info I have on it so I don't want a factory reset.

July 28, 2014 | 08:23 PM - Posted by venus (not verified)

Hi, I have the centura pretty happy with it but can anyone tell me how to tranfer everything to a new sd card i just installed?

July 29, 2014 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have had my Samsung Centura for less than two weeks and have got to say that I am less than impressed with it. I have been a TracFone customer for more than six years and this is the first time I have been disappointed by a phone. It worked great for the first week, then it just crapped out on me. It has not been operable for four days now and I tried everything under the sun, recommended on the FAQ section but the phone kept freezing-up once I tried using a second application. I have had to reboot the system every time - which given the difficulty of removing the back to get to the battery is no easy task.

In the end, I uninstalled all the apps I didn't use and cleaned-up the junk files and the darn phone still kept freezing-up on me. Finally, totally frustrated, I gave up and called the support line and after 30 minutes I was told by the technician that I had a defective unit and would be sent a replacement phone.

This being my first experience with a smart phone, I am it at all pleased and totally disappointed; not to mention frustrated and phoneless for 3-5 days.

MaineLee, Portland, ME

July 31, 2014 | 11:43 AM - Posted by Amity (not verified)

I recently tried to sell this model phone to an online phone recycling service only to be told it was "too old" and "worthless"! It's still under warranty! I asked the company if "normal" people buy more than one Smartphone a year? I bought the phone for a family member last August or September, and told her she had to pay for the service, I couldn't afford to do so. Well, sadly, she couldn't keep up her payments and lost her phone number. After one month's use it sat in her drawer until we tried to return it but the store wouldn't take it back. It's a nice phone but people keep telling us it's "too old" to have any value; that really freaks me out.

August 12, 2014 | 04:20 PM - Posted by Renegade for life (not verified)

is this phone able to send random texts such as ;) or words when it's in my pocket without me knowing it.

August 21, 2014 | 08:41 AM - Posted by Helen (not verified)

What is a screenshot? My phone does it everytime I turn it off. Why would I ever want to do a screenshot?

August 21, 2014 | 08:47 AM - Posted by Helen (not verified)

can I get radio on my s738c?

August 27, 2014 | 08:36 AM - Posted by joanmichael

I like the features of this phone.I have downloaded some of the mobile apps like Bullets and Maggots for playing games.Get more apps at http://www.loungelizard.com

August 30, 2014 | 02:00 PM - Posted by Cary (not verified)

Purchased Samsung Centura 4G March 2014 on Sraightalk plan. All of a sudden 6 months later the phone stays in silent mode not even vibrates except on the power up. No amount of setting checks and changes work. Help!

August 31, 2014 | 07:57 PM - Posted by Anonymousbudster62 (not verified)

How many apps can u download? My lg 306 only has 160mb space for apps...Thanks

September 13, 2014 | 08:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

what does the check mark mean when it shows up after you send someone a text. that they opened the text or just received the text.

September 28, 2014 | 07:21 AM - Posted by DonR (not verified)

I am looking to delete blank unused Home Screens... Help

October 18, 2014 | 02:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I own a Samsung galaxy centura and it's an ok phone lags and freezes more now. Don't understand why. But my question is about the Micro SD card I mount it and I can't do anything with it no apps no contacts nothing.. Please anyone help me with this been trying for weeks now!!

November 20, 2014 | 05:34 PM - Posted by donna (not verified)

I have the same problem did you ever figure it out if so plz share

November 2, 2014 | 10:06 AM - Posted by BerkleyAnonymous (not verified)

I just purchased a Samsung galaxy centura and when you receive notifications such as text or voice mail the phone will not stop ringing until you answer. Is there any way to limit the rings? It was so annoying that I switched it to silent..All my other phones would beep a couple times.

November 13, 2014 | 08:16 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I have the same phone and I locked myself out of it because I was stupid enough to change the pattern password and forgot it. Now it's not letting me use my email and password. I've tried a couple different things, but they are not fixing them. I need help ASAP!!

November 20, 2014 | 05:32 PM - Posted by donna (not verified)

I have a Samsung centura and installed the sd card but how do I use it I only have 4 games on my phone and now have no internal memory someone plz help me

November 25, 2014 | 11:07 PM - Posted by Eddie G. (not verified)

I own a Samsung Galaxy Centura Android Smartphone (SCH-S738C)this phone recently started to turn itself on and off.I took the battery out for an hour and nothing worked.I let the battery drain itself, then I recharged the battery and now I'm back to square one. Can someone help me please?

December 2, 2014 | 02:34 AM - Posted by Androidbabbles (not verified)

Hi,i bought a Samsung Galaxy Centura Android Smartphone (SCH-S738C) phone.i like all features of this phone but i need more latest smartphone,so plz give me latest smartphones.

December 26, 2014 | 03:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Cannot get Zedge to work properly. When I open the program everything is there ringtones ect.... But when I go to Edit people and set ringtone then open zedge... no ringtones are there. HELP

December 30, 2014 | 05:31 PM - Posted by dexterdoo (not verified)

When I receive text msgs there is no TIME stamp. Can this be fixed?

January 7, 2015 | 01:57 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I am uncertain as to how to stop text messages from arriving opened already. Which forces me to be charged even if these text messages are coming from unknown sources. Maybe I have an old number but it is frustrating because I am being charged for every text message even if I don't look at it. Tracfone is no help at all on this subject. They have told me that the text messages arrive and count as open and that is it. I would like to block this or stop this from happening on certain unknown numbers.

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