Samsung Matrix

May 20, 2003 2:03 AM PDT / Updated: May 20, 2003 2:03 AM PDT

As Trinity, Neo, and Morpheus battle another round in the Matrix to save Zion, you might notice that they've reloaded their gadget arsenals with a new communications device. The limited-edition Samsung SPH-n270 is an exact replica of the phone used in the movie but with extra features. While it sports a pop-up release mechanism similar to the Nokia 8110's--which you might remember drooling over during the last movie--the similarities between the two phones end there. For starters, this tri-mode model runs on the CDMA 800/1900 and AMPS 800 networks operated by Sprint PCS.

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Reunited: Neo and Trinity in one of the phone's themed screensavers.

At first glance, with its black-plastic casing and green, digital-style numbers that look like something out of Tron, the n270 looks and feels more like a toy than a phone. Perhaps that's the point of this collector's-edition mobile (the first one with serial number 00001 is being auctioned on eBay). The most entertaining aspect of this phone is its slide mechanism. Press the two side buttons, and you hear a special Matrix-like sound emanate from the speaker as the top slides up. Fortunately, you can always turn off the sound if you don't like it. This extends the n270 to its full height of 4.5 by 2.2 by 0.8 inches and exposes the phone's 128x160-pixel, 65,000-color, TFT color screen, which is on a par with that of the Samsung SPH-A500 and shows eight lines of text. The slick display makes it obvious that this item is a fully functional mobile and not a toy.

In keeping with the Matrix theme, a different scene from the movie is associated with each of the 10 screens in the main Menu mode. We defaulted to Matrix Reloaded, but two other styles--Animatrix and Camera--feature animated scenes and a camera and filmlike motif, respectively. (Note: There is no camera on this phone.)

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Getting reloaded: Pressing the two side buttons extends the phone's earpiece.

As for features, the n270 has its share but, as one might expect, not an overwhelming number of them. You get a task list, a world clock, a calculator, a calendar, and a 300-name phone book, from which you can dial numbers manually or use voice activation.

There are no higher-end features such as games or wireless Web browsing on this 1xRTT-voice-only mobile. However, it is e911 ready for when you find yourself in a Neo-like jam, and it lets you use two-way SMS. The 15 preloaded polyphonic and voice tones are clearly the niftiest feature. Our early favorite is Cypher asking the infamous question "Why, why didn't I take the blue pill?" You also get an old-style-phone ring tone--an already sought-after commodity on most mobiles.

Like most limited-edition products, the n270 will be available only online--in this case, from a special area on Samsung's Web site for a hefty $500. That's a high price to pay for a phone that looks and feels more like a toy than a reliable communications device. But then again, since money is a mere facet of our mechanical overlords' carefully constructed alternate reality, it might not matter to you.

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Samsung Matrix

Part Number: SAMMATR

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Technology CDMA2000 1X / AMPS
  • Service Provider not specified
  • Weight 4.7 oz
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