Web browsing comes in the form of a branded Web2Go WAP browser. Unsurprisingly, surfing is slow over 2.5G speeds, and the tiny screen and cramped, branded layout make surfing cumbersome. We wouldn't exactly take this browser for a joyride.
On the multimedia side, there's a simple music player that will work with songs you transfer over, though there's no T-Mobile music store. You can create up to 10 playlists on the T249 and can use the shuffle option. Again, the shared Micro-USB headset jack and charging port means you'll need to outfit the phone with a separate adapter if you're going to play tunes through your headphones.
A 1.3-megapixel camera does single, mosaic, and multishot modes in five resolutions (1,280x960; 1,024x768; 800x600; 640x480; 320x240). There are three timer modes, five lighting presets, and five color effects. You'll find three shutter sounds and various other settings. Photos are a bit blurry and unfocused, which is about what you'd expect for a 1.3-megapixel camera. They get the job done.
The camcorder records video in three resolutions (176x144; 160x120; 128x96.) You can optimize video for multimedia messages; they'll last about 30 seconds, give or take. All other video settings are identical to the camera options. Video playback is choppy on the T369, which is expected for a 1.3-megapixel recorder. There's 100MB internal memory on board and, again, an option for 16GB expandable memory--you'll need to buy your own.
The T249 comes with three Java games preloaded--two are demos. You can buy more online from the T-Mobile store, along with ringtones and other apps. As with other cell phones, you can further customize the T249 with wallpaper, a theme, and a greeting message when the phone boots up.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Samsung T249 in San Francisco using T-Mobile's network. Call quality was everything you could hope for. Voices came through loud and clear, with strong tones and no crackles or other sounds of muffling, echo, or distortion. Our callers agreed and added that it sounded as though we were speaking from a wired phone. Speakerphone was also very good, with strong volume and clarity for the feature. We didn't detect any hissing, blips, or other fuzziness.
Samsung T249 call quality sample
2.5G EDGE data speeds on the T249 contributed to a more plodding Web experience than we're used to on 3G and 4G handsets, but in all fairness the phone was never intended for heavy-duty surfing. You'll get to your site eventually.