Samsung Magnet SGH-A257 - orange (AT&T) review: Samsung Magnet SGH-A257 - orange (AT&T)

If the full QWERTY keyboard didn't give it away, the Samsung Magnet's main attraction is its messaging capabilities. The handset includes a Mobile Mail app that allows you to connect to various accounts, including Yahoo, AOL, Windows Live, Comcast, Earthlink, and other providers. We received a "Communication Error" the first time we tried to hook up our Yahoo account, but we entered our ID and password again and everything went smoothly, though it took a couple of minutes for the phone to retrieve our messages.

The in-box view is simple but it works. There are tabs for your Draft and Sent messages, though you have to go through a couple of menus to get to your other folders. The Magnet also comes preloaded with three instant messaging clients: AIM, Yahoo, and Windows Live.

The phone comes with a 500-contact address book and includes room for multiple numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. For caller ID purposes, you can assign a photo, a group ID, or a custom ringtone. Other phone features include Bluetooth, quad-band world roaming, three-way calling, a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a WAP browser, as well as organizational tools like a calendar, a task list, notepad, and currency converter.

The Samsung Magent's VGA camera took OK pictures.

The Samsung Magnet is equipped with a VGA camera with 4x digital zoom and a self-timer. You can choose from three sizes, and you also get white balance settings and effects. Picture quality is pretty much what you'd expect from a VGA camera. You could make out the objects in the image but it wasn't the clearest shot and colors were a bit washed out. Once done, you can send your photos via multimedia message, upload them to HP's Snapfish photo service, or set it as your background image. The Magnet offers 16MB of RAM.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; GPRS/EDGE) Samsung Magnet in San Francisco using AT&T service and call quality was excellent. The audio was quite crisp and clear with very little background noise. Our callers were equally impressed with the Magnet's sound quality, and one friend even said it's one of the better-sounding cell phones he's heard in a while.

Speakerphone quality was exceptional--almost better than a regular voice call--with plenty of volume and no hints of an echo or tinniness. We were also able to use an airline's voice-automated system with no problem, and we didn't experience any dropped calls during our testing period. We successfully paired the Magnet with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset.

The Samsung Magnet has an 800mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5 hours and up to 10 days of standby time. We were able to get a whopping 12 hours of continuous talk time from the Magnet in our battery drain tests. According to FCC radiation tests, the Magnet has a digital SAR rating of 0.637 watt per kilogram.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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