The Samsung Code (SCH-i220) is MetroPCS's first Windows Mobile 6.1 smartphone, which seems like a step backward seeing as Windows Mobile 6.5 devices are available. However, that shouldn't detract the customers from getting the messaging-centric device. The Code offers a sleek design, easy-to-use keyboard, and decent performance and call quality. Plus, it costs $100 less than the carrier's only other smartphone, the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8330, making it a nice and affordable alternative. The Samsung Code is available now for $299.99 with a $50 prepaid monthly plan, which includes unlimited voice, text, and data.
Having seen several QWERTY slate devices over the past few months, we expected it to be a much of the same as we've seen; however, we were pleasantly surprised by the Samsung Code's design. While it's nothing incredibly fancy, the Code has an eye-catching dark metallic gray chassis and slim profile. The handset measures just 4.6 inches tall by 2.3 inches wide by 0.5 thick and weighs 3.6 ounces, so it fits into a pants pocket without adding too much bulk and it feels comfortable in the hand.
The Code features a 2.4-inch QVGA (320x240 pixels) non-touch display. While on the smaller side, text and images look clear and bright on the screen, though it tends to wash out in bright sunlight. You can customize the Home screen with various background images, home screen layouts, themes, and so forth. We found the Samsung WizPro home screen layout to be particularly useful as it provides a toolbar along the bottom where you can scroll through some of the more commonly used applications, including your Calendar, favorite contacts, and multimedia.
To help you navigate through the menus, there is a directional keypad below the display that also doubles as a jog wheel. It works well both as a D-pad and scroll wheel and features a center select button. You also get two soft keys, Talk and End/power buttons, a Home shortcut, and a back button to make one-handed operation of the phone easy.
Also easy to use is the Code's QWERTY keyboard. The keys are raised above the surface and don't feel too soft or stiff when pressed, so that made for a comfortable typing experience. With large buttons, we had little problem composing text messages and even cranked out longer e-mails with minimal mistakes. We can't foresee too many users having problems with the keyboard.
In addition to the aforementioned navigation controls, there's a volume rocker on the left side and a user-programmable shortcut key on the right, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro-USB port. As usual, the camera and self-portrait mirror are located on back with the microSD slot behind the battery door.
The Samsung Code comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a software CD, and reference material. For more add-ons, check our cell phone accessories, ring tones, and help page.
Powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard Edition, the Samsung Code doesn't offer some of new enhancements of Windows Mobile 6.5, such as an improved Internet Explorer Mobile browser and revamped Home screen layout. However, Microsoft has opened up its Windows Marketplace for Mobile to Windows Mobile 6.1 phones, so you should be able to access the store to download more apps to the Samsung Code. In addition, MetroPCS throws in a link to its own app store on the phone.