Several months after it came out with its HotSpot @Home service, T-Mobile introduced two new Wi-Fi-equipped cell phones, the Nokia 6301 and the Samsung SGH-T339. Though the features between the two phones are largely similar, the SGH-T339's red flip design calls more attention to itself. Call quality was good, if a bit quiet, but we'd prefer the Nokia handset in the end. The T339 is $159.99 if you pay full price, but you can get it for $49.99 with service.
Though the Samsung SGH-T339 has a standard flip-phone design, its bright red color gives it a bit of character. It's a deeper shade than on the Samsung SGH-T229--more like brick red than candy apple--and it stands out from T-Mobile's other HotSpot @Home phones. At 3.6 inches tall by 1.8 inches wide by 0.8 inch thick and 3.3 ounces, the SGH-T339 is compact and portable. Though it's covered by plastic, the T339 has a comfortable and solid feel with a sturdy hinge.
The T339's 1-inch external display is a bit small, but it supports 65,000 colors (96x96-pixel resolution). Besides the date, time, battery life, and signal strength, it shows photo caller ID and works as a viewfinder for the camera lens, which is located just above. You can only change the contrast, and the backlighting time is much too short.
A microSD card slot and a camera shutter sit on the right spine, while a volume rocker and the headset jack/charger port sit on the left spine. Though we like the convenient location of the memory card slot, we're disappointed that you can't use both a wired headset and a charger at the same time. Also, the headset uses a proprietary connection.
The internal display measures 2 inches and supports 262,000 colors (176x220-pixel resolution). Like on the T229, the screen is rather washed out, particularly for graphics and photos. On the other hand, the T339's menus look a bit better than on its sibling. You can change the display's backlighting, time, and the dialing font size and color.
The T339 does an excellent job with its navigation array. Though the controls are flush, they're quite spacious and easy to use. The round four-way toggle can be set as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. You'll also find two soft keys, a clear key, and the Talk and End/power buttons. The keypad buttons also are flush but their large size and varying color pattern makes them easy to use. The numbers on the keys are big as well and they're lit by a bright backlighting. Our only complaint was that alphanumeric keys are a bit slippery but it's not a big deal.
The T339 has a 1,000-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes (the SIM card holds an additional 250 names). You can save callers to groups and pair them with a photo and one of 15 (64-chord) polyphonic ringtones. The T339 also supports T-Mobile's myFaves service. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a task list, a notepad, a calculator, a stopwatch, a timer, a unit converter, a world clock, and a tip calculator. Beyond the basics, you'll find Bluetooth, a speakerphone, a voice memo recorder, PC syncing, and instant messaging.
Like on the 6301, Wi-Fi calls on the T339 are exceedingly easy to make. After turning on the feature, you just need to scan the available networks and make your choice. You can buy a special wireless router from T-Mobile or you can use an existing network. We connected successfully with the Wi-Fi network we use at home.