Forget the flip phone or the candy bar mobile--slider designs are in, and the Samsung SGH-E635 proves you don't have to empty your wallet to get one. This T-Mobile phone integrates the slider motif into a slick-looking but functional handset. You don't get a lot of fancy features, but the SGH-E635 comes with stellar battery life, a decent VGA camera, and a stylish form factor, which make it an enticing choice for the budget-minded consumer. The phone retails for an affordable $199, but T-Mobile offers it for $149 with a one-year agreement. There's no other way to put it: the Samsung SGH-E635 is simply adorable. The black-and-silver casing looks appropriate for both social and business settings, and the slider has an eye-catching design. With the slide cover closed, the phone measures 3.3 by 1.7 by 0.9 inches and weighs a mere 3 ounces; it seems almost too little to be true. Of course, the form factor sacrifices some usability. For instance, the 65,000-color display is plenty bright, but it's small at 1.5 inches diagonally. It's fine for navigating through the simple menus, but avid gamers may want to give it a pass.
The Samsung SGH-E635's navigation controls provide plenty of one-touch access to key features when in standby mode. You can access the camera, for example, either through the dedicated button on the right spine or by pressing up on the five-way toggle button just below the display. The toggle also provides instant access to contacts, messaging, and the voice recorder, but you can't assign your own shortcuts. Also, as on most T-Mobile phones, the button inside the toggle works as an OK button within the menus but opens the carrier's T-zones Internet service only in standby mode. Other controls consist of two soft keys, the traditional talk and power/end buttons, a cancel key, and a side volume rocker. Those with large hands will find all these keys rather tiny, so you should take a test-drive before buying. The dial-pad keys are too compact and flat for easy touch dialing, though the white backlighting makes them easy to see in the dark.
By default, the Samsung SGH-E635 ends calls when you close the slider, but you can change the setting if you wish. All told, while we love the way the phone looks, it does feel a bit flimsy, especially when holding it to your ear during conversations.The feature set on the Samsung SGH-E635 is fairly basic. You can store up to 1,000 contacts on the phone itself and 250 names on the SIM card. Contacts stored on the phone support fields for multiple number entries: mobile, fax, and the like. You can organize them into groups or pair them with photos and any of 26 polyphonic ring tones. Other features include a vibrate mode, instant messaging (AIM, Yahoo, and ICQ), a calculator, an alarm clock, text and multimedia messaging, and an organizer. You also get a speakerphone, but you have to wait until after you've made a call to turn it on.