capsule review

Samsung SGH-T809

At a Glance
  • Samsung SGH-T809

    PCWorld Rating

Samsung SGH-T809
Photograph: Chris Manners

Good looks and slick multimedia features--including a capable music player and an expansion card slot--make the T809 a decent gadget. Unfortunately it isn't particularly comfortable for a standard cell phone, and it suffers from erratic call quality.

The T809 has an appealing design but not everything about it works well. On the plus side, it possesses the slimness of Motorola's Razr; but in place of a clamshell design, its cover slides up to reveal the numeric keypad inside. The keys were slippery enough make them uncomfortable for text messaging. The keypad is recessed, which makes dialing numbers or entering letters unduly awkward.

When the cover is closed, you can start and end calls and access messages and contacts through a handy combination of on-screen hotkeys and control buttons. But because the phone is flat, it's uncomfortable to hold against your ear for more than 10 minutes. The accompanying speakerphone works loudly and clearly.

The T809 clocked a creditable talk-time battery life of 8 hours, 14 minutes. And despite its skinny profile, it managed to include a MicroSD (formerly known as TransFlash) slot for additional storage--a feature missing from other slim handsets.

You can use the memory card to transfer tunes to the phone. The music player was fun to use, and the speaker volume was adequately loud; but the sound quality was too tinny.

The T809's 1.3-megapixel camera provides some neat controls, including enabling you to change the ISO level up to 400 (which should help in low-light settings) and to apply fun effects like blur. But it took murky, lackluster, and sometimes slightly gritty snapshots.

The T809 has a few great specs, including good camera controls, a memory card slot, and a slim design. But I wish that it had better calling qualities so I could justify its $250 price tag (as of April 7, 2006, with a two-year T-Mobile contract).

Grace Aquino

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    The slider-style cousin of the MM-A900 is equally attractive and adequately equipped with a 1.3-megapixel camera.

    Pros

    • Capable music player
    • Expansion card slot

    Cons

    • Uncomfortable to use as a phone
    • Call quality is erratic
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