February 5, 2013

Samsung S390G Review - Tracfone

Review of the Samsung S390G Prepaid Cell Phone from Tracfone

The Samsung 390G is a qwerty keyboard prepaid mobile phone from Tracfone with WiFi, 2MP Camera and Triple Minutes for Life.

This phone easily competes with Tracfone's other top-of-the-line phones, such as the LG 530G, providing a number of great features.

However, with Tracfone's release of new Android Smartphones, which you can see more about on our cell phone reviews page, the Samsung is now a little outpaced by these new smartphones.

This review of the Samsung S390G will cover the key features for the phone, our likes and dislikes about it, and finally the overall rating as well as a buying guide for getting a good deal.

To get a better idea of how this phone stacks up, take a look at the list of features below.

Samsung S390G Features and Specs

  • Triple Minutes for Life
  • Full Qwerty Keyboard
  • Mobile Web
  • WiFi Capability
  • 2 Mega Pixel Camera and Video Recorder
  • MP3 Player (Compatible with up to a 32GB microSD)
  • Hands Free Speaker
  • Voice Command
  • 2,000 Entry Phonebook
  • Bluetooth Wireless Technology
  • Battery and Wall Charger
  • And many other common features such as Voicemail, Caller ID, Airtime Balance display, Auto Redial, and no activation or hidden fees
The battery life for the S390G is also a key feature, lasting 12.5 days on standby. With average use, the battery will last 4 to 7 days, which is outstanding for nearly any cell phone and especially good when compared to most smartphones which need charging every 12 to 48 hours! 

Now, time to look at some of the Likes and Dislikes for this phone from Samsung.

Likes and Dislikes for the Samsung S390G from Tracfone

samsung s390g prepaid tracfone cell phone
The S390g from Tracfone
It is easy to start with the likes for this phone, because it has plenty of them:

Triple Minutes for Life is now pretty much standard on all of Tracfone's newer cell phone offerings but it is still a wonderful feature. For those who might not know, Triple Minutes for Life means that if you add a 60 minute card, you will get 180 total minutes.

The MP3 player with compatibility for a 32 GB MicroSD card means that you can put, and play, enough music to last you quite a while. Older phones from Tracfone could only handle 8 or 16 GB cards (which is still plenty of space), so this is a nice improvement. 

The best way to get music onto the Samsung S390G is to either connect the phone to your computer with a cable (which can be purchased from amazon) or take the MicroSD card out of the phone, and put it into the slot on your computer. Then, simply convert any songs you want to MP3 format, and transfer to the card. This phone uses a standard 3.5mm headphone jack for easy listening.

It is important to note that this phone does not come with a MicroSD card, so that must be purchased separately.

Several other great features for the S390G worth mentioning in this review are the 2MP Camera, Voice Command, and the Qwerty keyboard. While the cemera is nothing to write home about, it is quite adequate for taking pictures when no other cameras are around. Voice Command allows the user to make calls to contacts by saying "call (contacts name)". And the Qwerty keyboard is easy to use and get accustomed to.

Finally, one of our biggest likes for the S390G is the WiFi Capability. While it is not perfect and sometimes gives users more grief than it might be worth, it is amazing to be able to surf the web on a prepaid phone from Tracfone.

To be clear, when using WiFi (not Mobile Web) on the Samsung S390G, it is free and will not deduct minutes from you!While using the WiFi on the phone you can watch YouTube videos, check email, and surf the web all for free. 

The WiFi can be a little challenging to figure out, but like most electronic devices, there are plenty of guides online and if all else fails, give it to a teenager to figure it out.

Now, there a few Dislikes for this phone.

One of the most common dislikes for the S390G is that the WiFi is a little hard to use and set up. But, as mentioned above, it is very possible and makes for free web surfing from your Tracfone.

Another dislike for the phone is that some users have had problems with error messages showing up, or even the phone mistakenly dialing 911. If this or other serious problems are showing up on your phone, simply contact Tracfone and have them send you a replacement.

Our last dislike about this phone is that it is a relatively basic phone when compared to smartphones. If you might be thinking this is a smartphone and switching from a major contract carrier, you  might be a little disappointed with the limitations of this phone. However, if you are using an older Tracfone, this phone is a really great value for the money, and priced significantly below many other cell phone options on the market.

Overview of the Samsung S390G from Tracfone

samsung s390g prepaid cell phoneThis phone is a really good option when considering buying a Tracfone prepaid mobile phone. Determining whether to get this phone or not depends on what you are looking for in a phone. If you want WiFi, but don't want a touchscreen phone, this is one of the best options. (the LG840G is a touchscreen phone with WiFi from Tracfone and also a great option)

Our minor dislikes about this phone are easily overshadowed by the WiFi Capabilities, Triple Minutes for Life, and great battery life of the S 390G. 

The Samsung S390G typically retails in most stores for around $50. But great deals can be found on Amazon for sometimes as low as $30. View the Samsung S390G on Amazon to see more buying options.

Learn how to save even more money with our Review of Tracfone's Family Value Plan.


Anonymous said...

WiFi has hard to set up? All I did was search for a WiFi signal, which it found my own, then entered the wireless router address I found from the router portal itself online. Not too shabby to me..,.

Anonymous said...

Just upgraded with refurb from tracfone for 19.99. Get free 60 minutes so basicaly it is free.

Anonymous said...

TracFone will not confirm this phone has a problem. Just Google S390G 911 problem. There are hundreds of people reporting 911 calls when the keyboard is locked and with no human intervention. FCC should step in and require a recall. Our sheriff called to find out who called and what was the problem. They have enough to do without this type of issue.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. And from what I've read, Samsung won't say anything about it either, and just refers people to TF. The LG candy bar style phone I had before didn't seem to have this issue, though. And my sister had a reconditioned Samsung that had problems with shutting itself off etc. I might be approaching future purchases with apprehension.

Anonymous said...

I guess that'd depend on your router setup. Some people run WPA security with longish pre-shared keys (so their connection is less likely to be hijacked), and other settings that might cause some trouble.

Anonymous said...

phone does not ring or vibrate when recieving a text message

Anonymous said...

phone doesen't ring or vibrate when receiving a text message

Peter Vanosdall said...

that is a very good deal!

Peter Vanosdall said...

very interesting, perhaps you can change that in the settings? Or there might be a silent key that you can activate/deactivate which may be causing this?

Peter Vanosdall said...

Yes, that is a very odd problem with the phone. It does seem like a number of people have this issue. At the same time, a lot of people have not had this problem, so it seems to have only been a certain percentage of the phones?

Dr Z (aka: Anthony L Peña) said...

It appears that a lot of folks are putting up with the pocket dialing 911 problem. No one is fixing it. One guy loves this phone so much that he has a fix that involves a case, cardboard, and a rubber band. I wanted to love this phone and bought it in spite of the 911 reviews. Bad, bad, bad phone. Money down the drawn....

Anonymous said...

If tracfone allowed its phone to update to latest firmware revision this problem would have been solved. tracfone needs to get with the times.

Anonymous said...

double check and makes sure its the model right before the 380 g.... it had a serious problem with no text message notification and was never fixed even by Samsung...

Anonymous said...

I like my S390G and have had few problems (911 once or twice) but I have a BIG problem now.
After saving some contacts without problems, I am now finding that contacts I have saved will not come up when I search for them under contacts. When I try to save them again, I get a message saying the contact already exists! If I have a recent outgoing or incoming call with them, I can find their name on the call, but I don't save call records. I cannot figure out where these contacts are on my phone and so can't look them up. Help anyone?

Anonymous said...

Got this phone out of necessity because the battery went out on the razor phone. So far, I'm very happy with it. Was considering smart phone, but this phone meets my needs.

Anonymous said...

Using "mobile web" for 2 minutes causes a 40 minute deduction from the tracfone balance. TF wasted a lot of time trying to fix the problem and finally told me there was no way to know how many minutes would be deducted while using the browser. TF takes no responsibility for the issue. Despite the info on their website that says 0.5 minutes deducted for each minute of web browsing they hung up on me rather than discuss or resolve the issue. Not happy.

Anonymous said...

Does this phone transfer cell phone book to on-star phone book?

Anonymous said...

19.99 plus 60 min card.

Anonymous said...


We had a family plan, but I went on a contract with my son, so I asked if I could transfer my minutes to his phone & they said It was fine to do. He now has over 2000 minutes. We are adding our granddaughter to the account. Will I be able to transfer his minutes to her phone as he never uses more than 8 to 10 minutes a month.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this phone. The ONLY feature that it doesn't have is the ability to create and/or modify documents. That is the only other feature I want. Is this a smartphone OR just a cell phone? I owned Treos and a Samsung T919. All the Treos were excellent but suffered from poor battery life. The best one seemed to have 1 hour standby time and 5 minutes of talk time.

Anonymous said...

I have constant 911 calls dialed with keyboard locked and in my purse! So many times I've picked up my phone with 911 on the other end asking what is my emergency. Also, it constantly activates the browser which eats away my minutes just as the 911 calls do. HATE this phone!

Peter Vanosdall said...

Anonymous - It sounds like you have a defective phone! You should get Tracfone to replace it immediately!

Anonymous said...

Is there any way to shut off or disable the browser It is eating my minutes by itself!!

Anonymous said...

No you cannot move minutes from one phone number to another phone number, despite them being on one account.

sanchken said...

I picked up this phone in Southern Indiana. The Store's name was ___General. It was on sale for $9.99 and i bought a $25.00 card and it all came out to $37. and some change. When i got home and loaded my card on their website. I noticed I got 1000 minutes, instead of the 750 minutes that it stated on the card. Thank you Net10/TracFone!

Anonymous said...

If you get a defective phone with LG you're in TROUBLE!...their one year warranty is nearly useless. Can you just ship your defective phone off to LG so they can play with it, fix it or replace it? How many weeks can you be without your phone? I can't be a DAY without my phone, it is my ONLY phone and I work with it. LG says they're in the phone business but demand you hand over your phone with NO provision for replacement, temporary or otherwise...NOTHING in this world is unbelievable any more but...some warranty service you got LG! USEless.

Anonymous said...

My Daughter and I both had the same problem with this phone. I finally got fed up w/the local Sheriff's office having to call me constantly when this happened. Bought a different brand of phone. Mine actually would dial "112", which is a national emergency number. Very annoying.

Ted Greenwood said...

I've owned my 390G for a year and a half the only problem is you can't pocket carry it, it will turn on with contact and then the browser button will activate with contact. I bought a case on Amazon and removed the pocket clip, there is 1/32th of a inch clearance when the front part of the case is installed and it keeps the phone from turning on itself on from contact, solved my problem

Anonymous said...

I have this phone and no joke, it's happened probably a dozen times to me. What a waste of emergency resources and time! It's not a one off defective problem if most of us have it. It's a product design flaw....and a huge one at that.

Anonymous said...

I've used this phone for two years and it is a great alternative to an iphone contract. The 3G and Wifi works great once you install the free Opera browser. Opera uses less than a tenth of the minutes that the Tracfone browser does, A little sponge rubber pad glued above the send key ended my pocket dialing issues ( which I get with my iPhone too!) Voice command works great with the Bluetooth connection in my Nissan!

THe only real complaint I have is that I have not been able to connect it to the Cable WiFi that Optimum and TWC cable provide to me on my Apple devices. There might be a solution, but it is NOT recognized as a Samsung Smarthone when I attempt to connect.

Still - a great low cost phone.

Anonymous said...

I can't receive texts, I can text but not receive texts, do any any one have advice on how to receive a text just bought this S390G last week, thanks.

Anonymous said...

It is not a defect, it is a poorly set up safety feature. When the phone is locked, if a lot of keys are pressed at once it will ask you if you want to make an emergency call. If the key to reply yes if pressed, it will dial 911 for you.

Anonymous said...

Happened to me also. It also called other people, mutes, goes on line and uses minutes. When I backspace on a text and hold backspace too long the whole message disappears, poof---GONE. I could go on and on. Worst phone I ever had! I lost it. Thank God.

Joyce A. Scott said...

Bought a new Samsung S390G because my other S390G phone's screen cracked. Am wondering how to transfer my contacts from the old phone to the new. I enabled Blue Tooth and can make the phone "discoverable." But can't find this specific information anywhere. Ideas? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I've never continued using the 'mobile web' for longer than it took to realize it was charging me minutes. In spite what it says in the article, and what I was told by a TracFone sales rep, the phone charges for EVERYTHING (including 'mobile web') even when it's connected to my Wi-Fi. I was actually told that Wi-Fi calling was free (which was obviously a lie). I only tried putting one email address into it because it kept sucking old messages off the server (rather than just getting a 'push' of the new emails). Every single one of them costs a fraction of a minute.

The firmware is absolutely horrible. Even the smallest print is too large to have more than a sentence onscreen. In short, this is the most pathetic excuse for a 'smart' phone I've ever owned (and is among the worst I've ever seen). It wants to be a Blackberry so badly...but it's not even as good as their most basic model from five years ago. HORRIBLE PHONE.

Anonymous said...

I had the phone and i loved it.

I love how the Mp3 player and Bluetooth are enabled on this phone
and that Tracfone didn't lock it down and that i can actually browse
the net using the browser.

The phone is durable and doe's have a memory card slot
so its great for a teenager or preteen if you dont
want to get them a full blown smartphone.

And yes... You can top-up from the phone...


Anonymous said...

The phone only supports Open and WEP networks
because i believe it only has 802.11b , So no 5GHZ WIFI or WPA support :(

Anonymous said...

I bought this phone for $39 in October of 2012 and am still using it 3 years later. I bought a second battery for it that I keep charged and ready if I should ever need it, but the first one still holds a charge.

I always buy 450 minute cards (that triple) and grab a promo code off the website for a few extra minutes. I have over 900 available service days accrued in the bank. So if I turn this off now, I can turn it back on in May 2018 and use the 600 left minutes on it.

I never installed any apps. The mobile web was not very good -- too slow to be of any use. The wifi does work but I never need it. I use it as a phone and an alarm clock. The sd card worked but not 100% great. I found that if I didn't delete text messages they would overflow to the card, but I couldn't figure out how to make them go there in the first place.

The phone holds a charge for a very long time. Yes it did call 911 a few too many times. But that is preventable.

The pluses of this phone are that it still works after 3 years. Very reliable. Still have years of service days left. I was able to get through some months for $30, but with heavy call usage it would cost up to $80. Still a good value to pay for what you use and keep what's left over at the end of the month.

The negatives are that it's not very smart or swift. The mobile web might work in an emergency if you have time to wait for it. Navigating websites was nearly impossible (for me.) Screen too small to see anything. And mobile websites are designed for touch screen, not he nav button on this phone.

All in all it was a good purchase, and I will continue to use it until I succumb to increasing phone envy; for those fast and fancy (AND EXPENSIVE!) phones everyone seems to have now.

In conclusion, compared to those super deluxe phones, I have saved an awful lot of money, while still having a good reliable phone, that still has lots of life left in it.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who you been dealing with but I have transferred everything from one Tracfone to another and they were 2 different numbers. Just did it two days ago. Days, minutes, text and data all from an LG 800 to a LG Sunset and they were different numbers.