Consumer Cellular introduces touchscreen Samsung A697

Will a touchscreen phone sell on a carrier that is mainly geared towards folks of an older generation? Consumer Cellular is going to find out. They’ve announced the release of the Samsung A697, a handset with a 3-inch touchscreen. Other than a 2 megapixel camera there’s not much else to boast, though it seems Consumer Cellular is focusing on the user interface. At least the price is right: $60, plus $35 activation fee. If customers open a new line or open a new line on an existing account, they’re eligible to receive double their plan’s minutes for the first three months. That promotion runs through the end of the month. You can get that, and the A697 on Consumer Cellular’s website.]]>


  1. Dexter on December 3, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Consumer Cellular isn’t a prepaid service.
    Why is it on prepaid reviews?

  2. Darryl Vaughn on December 3, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I think Consumer Cellular might be trying to broaden it’s customer base. I think it should. Cause really, I don’t see too many elderly people lining up to by a touch screen phone.

  3. Steph on December 6, 2010 at 3:55 am

    I tend to agree with Darryl wrt elderly and touch screens. My aunt battles with Parkinsons, and the touch screen combined with her shaking would probably find her in all the wrong menus!
    I know what does work well for her is Tracfone’s Samsung T155 (it’s their Senior Value phone). The buttons are pretty standard, but the navigation menu is really simple Yes/no type answers to get you where you want to be, so no fine button pushing needed. Being a flip phone also means no pushing of buttons by mistake. The text is large and easy to read and as far as I know, it’s hearing aid compatible. There are obviously all your other standard features, including 911 emergency assist (which is great for those who are still healthy enough to venture out on their own), but for her purposes, the easy basic finger use of the phone was the no. 1 factor.
    As for Consumer Cellular offering the phone at $60 + activation fee, what of the elderly who are on a tight budget? Tracfone’s SVC costs $15, no activation fee and monthly cost of her minutes is under $10. What’s more, CC gives double minutes for 3 months, but for just $20, she got a double minutes for life card, which really ups the value over the duration of her phones life.
    Great that CC are offering alternate options, but make sure you check out the needs of the individual and what’s best suited to them!

  4. Paula on December 14, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    Consumer Cellular also has free phones, cheap phones, and $25 senior friendly phones. They are also great about telling you when you are approaching your minute limit. I had them throughout college and I am so happy that they now have more trendy phones.

  5. Betty on March 27, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    It is about time they ungrade…I asked them months ago to get something…They said that they gear more for the older people….well I am older…and I want a up to date phone…I love the company and 3 cheers for them for getting this phone..Now you need to get unlimited..If I would have known you had it I would have bought it sooner, I will be updating my phone today..Thanks

  6. Bill on April 4, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Apparently some people tend to forget that not all older people are ill or technologically challenged. I applaud Consumer Cellular for offering the Samsung A697 with talk, text, and web service at a reasonable price.

  7. Dave in Atlanta on April 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    The Consumer Cellular SAMSUNG SGH-A697:
    Recently I switched from Boost Mobile, where I was using a Blackberry 8330, to Consumer Cellular, where I purchased the Samsung A697. Having now spent several hours using the phone and checking its features, I have to give it a grade of C+ at best. (If I had service through AT&T directly and thus could take advantage of all features of the phone, I’d probably give it a B-.)
    Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages:
    o The phone has a nice “form factor.” It fits very nicely in the hand.
    o The battery seems to hold its charge well, though I cannot say for sure how long because I haven’t used the phone until the battery died before recharging it.
    o The phone does the BASIC things you would expect from a cellphone: (1) Making and receiving calls and (2) sending and receiving text messages.
    o The camera seems to take pretty good pictures.
    o The YPmobile feature works, though S-L-O-W-L-Y. It’s like a very slow Mapquest for your phone. It cannot tell you where you are because there is no GPS functionality.
    o The Bluetooth feature works. At first I had some trouble pairing my Plantronics Explorer 395 headset with the phone, but that had nothing to do with the phone. After I consulted the Plantronics manual and figured out how to put the headset into pairing mode, I was able to pair the headset with the phone with no problems.
    o The display looks good (nice colors and resolution).
    o The touch screen does not work as well as, say, the touch screen on an iPhone. Some of the menus on screen are longer than one screen (page), so you have to scroll the page. The problem is that when I touch the screen to swipe (to scroll), the touch is taken as a menu selection. I often find myself going to another page when all I wanted was to scroll the current page.
    o Power, data, and audio all go through the same non-standard connector. This means that you cannot plug an ordinary headset (with a 2.5mm or 3.5mm plug) into the phone to listen to music.
    o The phone allows you to specify whether contacts are saved in the phone’s memory or on the SIM card. I chose to save contacts on the SIM card and then found that the contacts were not accessible! In other words, the contacts saved to the SIM card do not appear when you tap the Contacts icon on the main screen. So…the feature whereby contacts can be saved to the SIM card is USELESS. (A related function is available for transferring contacts from the phone’s memory to the SIM card and vice versa. That feature would be useful if you were importing or exporting contacts when changing phones.)
    o The Consumer Cellular Samsung A697 is on the AT&T voice network, but not on their data network. As a result, ALMOST NONE of the functions available on the phone actually work. Some of the features to which I’m referring include AT&T GPS, Games & Apps, AppCenter, and AT&T Music. I wish Consumer Cellular could have had all of the non-functional options removed from the A697 before selling it.
    o Mobile Email is not available. Yes, the menu option is available on the Messaging menu, but if you choose it nothing happens.
    o Mobile Web is difficult to use when it works, and sometimes it doesn’t even work. When it does work, it is extremely slow. I you care about mobile web access, don’t get this phone.
    o The number of built-in wallpapers is very limited, though you CAN use a photo you’ve taken.
    o According to Consumer Cellular, the phone will take a micro SD card up to only 16GB. (I had read elsewhere that up to 32GB was supported. So double check this if it matters to you.)
    o I moved the 1GB SD card containing music and picture files from my Blackberry 8330 to this Samsung A697. The Samsung phone does not recognize any of the files, not even their presence. I did expect the Samsung phone at a minimum to show the presence of the files, but it does not do so. It’s as if the files do not even exist.
    o The little rubber cover over the data/audio jack is annoying. I’ve used many phones that have the jacks exposed and never had a problem.
    Regarding Consumer Cellular: At this point I have not been with Consumer Cellular long enough to form a solid opinion. So far, though, I am impressed that what they offer is a month-to-month service that is POSTPAID, at a reasonable price, and they don’t seem to
    want to take advantage of customers by tricking them into using expensive extra minutes or kilobytes.
    Regarding the Samsung A697 phone: Don’t buy it even for $60 or so if your service is going to be Consumer Cellular. Most of the phone’s features won’t work. Pick a cheaper or free phone with which you can make calls and send text messages. Take the money you save and apply it on an MP3 player or digital camera. 🙂

  8. kathy on April 24, 2011 at 9:57 am

    thanks Dave. Can one go to yahoo and access/send e-mail?

  9. kb on June 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    Yahoo mail works about 20% of the time.

  10. kb on June 16, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    Correction: Actually, I have the other Samsung consumer cellular phone where Yahoo mail works 20% of the time. haven’t tried this one.

  11. bobert on October 5, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    if i get this phone with consumer cellular will it change the phones original functions?

  12. millo on March 15, 2013 at 10:14 am

    My mother bought this phone about 4 months ago and we HATE it! It sends texts while you are still composing,calls people when it is in your purse or pocket!The touch screen is slow(not bad for the price though)! We also have pictures taken while it is in your pocket and what-not!