We're quite pleased with the phone's 1.3-megapixel camera. It doesn't come with a flash, but it does have a 10X digital zoom and a brightness setting. Other camera settings include five size resolutions (1,200x1,024; 1,152x863; 800x600; 640x480; 320x240), the viewfinder size (full screen or actual screen), shooting mode (single shot, multishot, or mosaic), effects, fun frames, a self-timer, default photo name, and sound options for the shutter, the zoom, and brightness. All camera sounds can be shut off if you choose. The camera took great photos, and we were pleased with the results, especially from a 1.3-megapixel camera phone. You can also record video in two sizes, 128x96 or 176x144, but they didn't turn out as well as the photos and ended up shaky and blurry. The phone comes with 21MB of built-in memory, but you can always upgrade to more storage with the help of a Micro SD card.
The SGH-T629 also comes with a built-in MP3 player. There aren't any external music controls, so you'll have to scroll to the Fun & Apps menu in order to access it, plus you'll have to use the navigation keypad to control the playback. Uploading music from a computer is fairly straightforward and is a simple matter of drag-and-drop. The MP3 player also has repeat mode, a shuffle mode, an equalizer, a visualization tool, a backlight mode (Always On or Normal), and a dedicated volume control for the player.
Personalization options are pretty standard for the Samsung SGH-T629. You can customize the wallpaper, the background colors, and the greeting message, and you can choose to have the calendar appear on the main display or not. You can also assign different tones for incoming messages, alerts, the keypad, and the slider, as well as when the phone powers on and off. The phone supports Java games and comes preloaded with Bobby Carrot, Airship Racing, Arch Angel, Freekick, and Midnight Pool. If you're not satisfied with any of the options, you can download more graphics, sounds, and games from T-Mobile's T-zones Web portal.
We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) Samsung SGH-T629 world phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. Callers said they couldn't hear us too well most of the time, and we found that service was poor in certain areas. However, in areas with better reception, call quality was much improved, with clear call quality on our end and vice versa. Speakerphone quality was surprisingly good, thanks to the full-duplex speaker. Music heard from the MP3 player was crisp and clear, though it obviously sounded a lot better with a headset on. We had no problem pairing the Samsung SGH-T629 with the Nokia BH-800 Bluetooth headset.
The Samsung SGH-T629 has a rated talk time of 5 hours and a tested talk time of 4 hours and 56 minutes. It has a rated standby time of 8 days. According to FCC radiation tests, the SGH-T629 has a digital SAR rating of 0.814 watt per kilogram.