Samsung SGH-T369 - black (T-Mobile) review:

Samsung SGH-T369 - black (T-Mobile)

The T369 has a few more features than you'd expect. The 1,000-entry phone books fits multiple phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and other details like group calling, e-mail, a picture ID, and notes into each entry. You can also pair a contact with one of 13 default ringtones, or with various additional sounds or music from your personal collection.

A 1.3-megapixel camera is better than nothing, especially when you also get a camcorder mode for recording video.

Tools inside the T369 include a calendar, an alarm clock, a to-do list, a notepad, a calculator, a tip calculator, a world clock, a unit converter, a timer, and a stopwatch. Also on board are T-Mobile's Web2Go WAP browser, three Java games, and an online storefront for downloading more games, apps, ringtones, and wallpaper--though the app downloads are on the sparse side.

Fitted with a QWERTY keyboard, the T369 is a natural messaging phone, with support for text, audio, and photo messaging. In addition, you can easily set up Yahoo, AOL, and Windows Live Messenger chat networks. We'd like to see inclusion of other popular instant-messaging services like Google Talk and ICQ. We won't hold you in suspense--there's no e-mail onboard the T369. That isn't mandatory for a decent phone of this caliber, but it's always a bonus. The same goes for Wi-Fi, which is also absent. That's no demerit for the T369. There is, however, Bluetooth support.

The music player comes empty on the T369, but you can fill it up with songs from your phone or memory card. There's no T-Mobile music store, however. There are simple playback controls on a cramped interface, but you can play, stop, skip, and shuffle songs in MP3, WMA, MIDI, AAC, and WAV file types. There's room for 50 songs in a total of 10 playlists. Again, the Micro-USB headset jack is a drag since it requires you to get an adapter and share the port with the charger.

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.

Photos on the Samsung T369 are anything but brilliant, but the shooter gets the job done.

The camcorder records video in three resolutions (176x144; 160x120; 128x96.) You 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 50MB internal memory on board and, again, an option for 16GB expandable memory--you'll need to buy your own.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 800/900/1800/1900) Samsung T369 in San Francisco using T-Mobile's network. Call quality was decent. Calls were often slightly muffled, with volume but not clarity. We found ourselves increasing the volume in search of distinct sounds, and then decreasing the loudness. We sounded crisp to our friends, but with a slight echo. Speakerphone was perfectly adequate on both ends, though audio quality is always lost any time you place the phone down on its external speaker, which is usually in the back.

2.5G EDGE data speeds on the T369 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.

The T369 has a rated battery life of up to 5 hours of talk time, with up to 13 days of standby time. According to our tests, the talk time was 5 hours and 34 minutes. The FCC measures the T369's SAR at 0.52 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

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