It's been a while since we've seen a new, exciting cell phone for T-Mobile, so when Samsung announced its new SGH-T729 we took notice. Also called the Blast (yet another crazy Samsung nickname), the SGH-T729 offers a thin slider design, Bluetooth, a megapixel camera, and a QWERTY keyboard modeled on the SureType technology found on some BlackBerry smart phones. On the whole, the Blast is a solid effort for a messaging phone. We liked the design and the simple interface, but T-Mobile's lack of a 3G network is beginning to put it behind its rival carriers. The Blast is $99 with service.
Though Samsung phone designs have become a bit predictable during the past few months, we were pleased to see that the Blast strikes some new style ground. Yes, it's thin (4.16 by 2.04 by 0.5 inches), but the Blast has other things going for it besides its profile. Despite being rather tall, it weighs just 2.8 ounces and its black-and-red color scheme is undeniably eye-catching. We also liked the design of the navigation controls below the vivid display. Because it's a slider phone the Blast won't cradle your head (like a flip phone), but it feels comfortable in the hand and it slides easily into a pocket.
As previously mentioned, the SGH-T729 has an attractive display that measures two inches and supports 262,000 colors. Like many Samsung displays, it shows colors and graphics well and was an ideal viewfinder for the camera. You can change the brightness and the backlighting time but not the font size. The menu interface is devoid of flashy graphics, so it's easy to use with quick access to your favorite features. We also approved of the tactile navigation array. Though you get quite a few controls--a four-way toggle with an OK button, two soft keys, a Web browser shortcut, the talk and end/power keys, a clear button, and a programmable shortcut control--the array is spacious and each key has its own definition.