capsule review

Samsung t509

At a Glance
  • Samsung SGH-t509

    PCWorld Rating

Samsung's exceptionally tiny t509 handset makes quite a fashion statement with its sleek profile. I looked at a shipping version of this standard cell phone, and was impressed with the number of features packed into its slim frame.

To say the t509 is small doesn't do the unit justice. Measuring 4.6 inches long by 1.8 inches wide by 0.4 inches thick, and weighing just 2.7 ounces, it will easily ride in a pocket unnoticed. But its size comes with a trade-off: The exterior is plastic, and it feels less sturdy than a thin cell phone encased in metal.

And despite--or perhaps because of--its petite size, the t509 can be awkward to hold during long calls. Its slight frame is difficult to grasp, and its boxy shape can be uncomfortable against your ear. However, the voice quality and volume were good.

The unit's 1.9-inch-diagonal LCD takes up nearly half of the handset, and the space is well used: With a resolution of 176 by 220 pixels, the bright and vibrant display makes viewing both text messages and photos a pleasure. Occupying the remainder of the candy bar-style phone are the keypad and navigation controls. The number keys themselves are slightly raised, which makes the phone easy to dial.

The t509 includes a 0.3-megapixel-resolution camera that features a 4X digital zoom and is fine for capturing quick snapshots. You can also capture serviceable video clips.

The t509's other notable features include support for T-Mobile's speedy EDGE network; built-in support for AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger; integrated Bluetooth wireless; and very impressive talk-time battery life. In our battery tests the t509 lasted 9 hours, 55 minutes--significantly longer than the vendor-stated talk time of 3.5 hours.

The t509 costs $200 (as of 9/8/06) with a two-year contract from T-Mobile. For such a fashionable phone, that's a fair deal; and with rebates and online discounts, you may be able to find it for as low as $50.

Liane Cassavoy

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This sleek-looking phone packs plenty of features--including support for T-Mobile's speedy EDGE network--into its slim frame.

    Pros

    • Super slim design looks very sleek
    • Supports T-Mobile's fast EDGE network

    Cons

    • Boxy phone is uncomfortable to hold
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