Samsung Comeback SGH-T559 review: Samsung Comeback SGH-T559

Features
The Samsung Comeback has a 1,000-entry phone book, with room in each entry for four numbers, four e-mail addresses, three instant-messaging usernames (one each for AIM, Windows, and Yahoo), a birthday, an anniversary date, a street address, a Web URL, and notes. You can also add the entry to a caller group; assign it an image for photo ID, or one of 22 72-note polyphonic ringtones. Other basics include text and multimedia messaging, a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, a calendar, an alarm clock, a unit converter, a time, and a stopwatch.

Beyond the basics, you also get stereo Bluetooth, voice command, instant messaging (AIM, Windows Live, and Yahoo), GPS with TeleNav support, USB mass storage, and even an RSS reader. You can send Audio Postcards, which are essentially framed photos that come with an accompanying voice message. You can also send and receive e-mail from a variety of e-mail providers, like AIM Mail, AOL Mail, Yahoo Mail, Comcast, and Gmail. You can try receiving e-mail from an unlisted provider if you enter your e-mail address and password, but bear in mind that you don't have the option to enter in your own POP3 or IMAP server name, so this might not work.

Perhaps most surprising in the Comeback is the addition of a full HTML Web browser. We found it easy to enter in URLs, and we liked that we could use the volume rocker to move up and down pages. Still, to zoom in and out and resize a page, we needed to dig through the Options menu, which was a pain. Also, because of the Comeback's small screen size, we had to scroll a lot more than usual. Aside from those issues, though, we actually quite like the browser. Not only does it support JavaScript, it also has a form of Flash Lite that supports video playback. We were able to watch streaming video from YouTube, for example. We also managed to download a video clip from the CNET TV Web page and saved it to the Videos folder for later viewing.

As for multimedia, the Comeback has quite a comprehensive music player. It organizes tracks by artists and albums, and you can create and edit playlists on the fly. You can set the music to play in the background while you multitask, and toggle the sound effects on or off. Other music settings include the capability to set the music on repeat or shuffle mode, eight preset audio equalizer settings, a Surround sound mode, and you can even do the iPod thing by ranking a song with one-to-five stars (you do this by pressing the 1 button a few times). You can also set a particular MP3 to be used as a ringtone, an individual ringtone, an alarm tone, a message tone, or a calendar reminder. The music player supports MP3, AAC/AAC+, WMA, MPEG4, WAV, MIDI, and Real Audio formats. The Comeback comes with 75MB of internal storage, but you also have the option of up to 16GB of external storage in the form of a microSD card.


The Samsung Comeback has a 2.0-megapixel camera on the back.

Even though the Comeback has only a 2.0-megapixel camera with no flash LED, we were impressed with the array of settings and editing options available. You can take pictures in four resolutions (1,600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480, and 320x240 pixels), five white balance presets, five color effects, and three quality settings. Other settings include shooting modes: Panorama and Smile shot (the latter automatically takes a photo when it detects a smile), night mode, three photometry modes, a self-timer, two preview modes (a square indicator or a gridlike guideline), and three shutter tones. You can also arrange for the 1, 2, 3, and # keys to be camera shortcuts for different settings. After taking a photo, you can add a short voice recording to the image to add context if you wish.


The Samsung Comeback took decent pictures.

Photo quality is quite good. Colors look bright and vibrant and not at all washed out, though we would've liked the overall image to be a tad sharper. The Comeback also has a built-in camcorder that can record video clips in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144), in either normal or for MMS length, and with or without the audio recording. The camcorder has similar editing options with the still camera. Video quality is mediocre at best: video clips were shaky even when we tried hard to hold still, and there was quite a bit of pixelation and blurriness as well.

You can change the wallpaper on the Comeback as well as change the ringtones and alert tones. You can purchase and download more options using the Web browser. The Comeback also comes with a few games like demo versions of Need for Speed Undercover and Monopoly Here & Now--you'll need to buy the games to get the full versions.

Performance
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900; UMTS Band IV) in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. We found the call quality satisfactory for the most part. On our end, we heard our callers very clearly with plenty of volume. Their voices sounded good and natural, though we did encounter a bit of static at times.

On their end, callers said we sounded very good as well. They said our voices sounded quite natural, as if on a landline, but they did hear the occasional crackle and interference. Automated calling systems could recognize our voice prompts without an issue. Speakerphone quality was also surprisingly decent. There's plenty of volume, albeit a bit tinny. Callers did say we sounded just a tad more muffled, but nothing too distracting.

The audio playback quality on the Comeback is average. The speakers didn't do justice to the music's bass, and songs generally sounded quite harsh, though the different equalizer settings do help in abating that somewhat. We would recommend using a stereo headset for a better experience.

We were quite impressed with the 3G speeds on the Comeback. We loaded full HTML Web pages quickly--the full CNET page loaded in less than 20 seconds. When we tried streaming video from YouTube, we experienced very little buffering time. Also, it only took about 1 minute and 10 seconds to download a 5.1MB video. The only problem is that both the downloaded and streaming video looked very choppy and blocky, which is mostly an issue with the video encoding.

The Comeback has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time and 12.5 days standby time. According to FCC radiation tests, the Comeback has a digital SAR of 1.35 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Samsung Comeback SGH-T559 - Pearl White Plum (T-Mobile)

Part Number: SGH-T559PPATMB

MSRP: $69.99

Available direct from T-mobile courtesy of CNET for $129.99

Quick Specifications See All

  • Talk Time Up to 330 min
  • Technology WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM
  • Combined with With digital camera / digital player
  • Service Provider T-Mobile
  • Weight 4.6 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 2 megapixels
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