Samsung has definitely made a name for itself in recent months with its thin phones, and the slider style is no exception. The Samsung Nimbus from Alltel and the Samsung SGH-D807 from Cingular are just two recent examples of Samsung's stake in the slim slider market. The Samsung SGH-T629 is the latest slim slider from the Korean powerhouse, and this time its carrier is T-Mobile. We like it for its feature set as well as its style, and would recommend it for those who want skinny phones with decent multimedia offerings. It retails for $249.99, but you can get it for $149.99 with a new two-year contract.
Of course, the primary attraction of the Samsung SGH-T629 is its thinness. Measuring 3.9 by 2.01 by 0.55 inches and weighing in at 3.2 ounces, the T629 is certainly one of the skinniest phones to come our way. The phone itself is covered in a silver-gray hue, and though it's a little blocky around the edges, the device felt lightweight and comfortable, both in the hand and when held against the ear. A charger/headset jack and a volume rocker reside on the left side, while the right spine is home to a Micro SD card slot and a dedicated camera button. Flip the phone around, and you'll see the camera lens and self-portrait mirror at the top. You can take photos with the phone closed.
Sliding the phone open is a tad more difficult than with other slider models we've tested, however. Instead of pushing the phone up from the bottom lip, you'll have to slide it up by pushing the front of the phone. There is a slight plastic ledge jutting out from underneath the display that helps you do this, but we still ended up smudging the display with fingerprints when sliding the phone upward. You can adjust the phone's slider settings so that it answers the call immediately when you slide it upward, and you can also set it to stop any operation if you slide it downward.
The 2.2-inch display is absolutely stunning. It supports 262,144 colors, and it looks vibrant and bright, with colors that pop from the screen. The Samsung menu interface is pleasing to the eye, and we enjoy the animated icons and colorful graphics. You can also view the submenu of each main item as you're scrolling down the list, which makes for handy navigation. The backlight timer can be adjusted, as well as the screen's brightness. As with most Samsung phones, the dialing text can be configured with different backgrounds, font sizes, and font colors.
Underneath the display is the navigation keypad, while the dialpad is revealed when the phone is slid open. The navigation controls consist of two soft keys, a four-way toggle with a middle OK key, a call key, a cancel key, and an end/power key. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts for the camera, the voice memo recorder, the contacts list, and text messaging. We found the keypad extremely slippery, and the keys on the dialpad are set nearly flush with the surface of the phone. This made it tricky to dial by feel and navigate the phone easily.
The Samsung SGH-T629 has quite an impressive feature set for such a skinny device. Each entry in the address book can hold as many as five numbers, one e-mail address, and a memo; you can also assign a picture ID, one of 16 polyphonic ring tones, and a caller group for caller ID purposes. The SGH-T629 also supports MP3 ring tones, which you can upload yourself or download from T-Mobile. Other basic features include text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, instant messaging (AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo), Bluetooth, voice dialing, voice recording, an alarm, a calendar, tasks, a calculator, world time, a unit converter, a timer, a Micro SD card slot, and a wireless Web browser via T-Zones, T-Mobile's mobile Web portal. The SGH-T629 is also a quadband world phone that supports the T-Mobile's EDGE network, which allows for faster downloads.