In the land of basic cell phones, variety is pretty slim. That's why AT&T's Samsung SGH-A227 fits so well in the genre. Sporting a minimalist flip design with simple calling and messaging features, the SGH-A227 does exactly what a cell phone should do. Though its controls are rather cramped and call quality had its flaws, it is a solid choice for beginner cell phone users who just need to communicate. When compared with AT&T's other basic phones, it's not quite as dependable as the earlier Samsung SGH-A117, but it's a much better choice than the company's SGH-A127. Oddly, at the time of this writing the SGH-A227 is listed only on AT&T's business and professional Web site, but you can get it for $9.99 with service.
The SGH-A227 is as unassuming as a cell phone could be. Clad in basic black with a traditional flip-phone shape, the handset resembles scores of Samsung phones before it. On the exterior, you'll find a postage stamp (96x96 pixels) monochrome display that shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID. You can change the clock style and the contrast, add a slogan, or set one of six preset images as wallpaper. At 5.5 inches long by 1.76 inches wide by 0.79 inch thick and weighing 3.4 ounces, the SGH-A227 is compact and lightweight, but it lacks a solid and durable feeling in the hand. A thin volume rocker rests on the left spine, while the right spine holds the charger port/headed jack.
The internal display measures 1.75 inches (160x128 pixels) and supports 65,000 colors. Though its resolution is far from eye-popping, the display is practical for a phone of this caliber, and we liked it better than the screen on the Samsung SGH-T229. Graphics aren't terribly sharp, but the icons in the easy-to-use menus show up well. You can change the dialing font's size and color, the backlighting time, and the brightness.