As text messaging continues to gain popularity, cell phone manufacturers are starting to design phones with built-in keyboards to cater to the texting fanatics. First, there was the , and most recently, LG released its . Now, Samsung is getting into the game. The Samsung SGH-D307 for Cingular Wireless ($199.99 with the mail-in rebate) stands out from the pack with a slimmer form factor and an innovative flip design that opens up to reveal a mini QWERTY keyboard and a gorgeous 262,000-color internal display. It also boasts Bluetooth, EDGE support, and voice-recognition technology. Yet, all is not rosy with the SGH-D307. While we appreciate the phone's trim profile, the navigation controls, which hamper usability, can be frustrating. That said, once you master the controls, you can't deny the ease of sending messages. Oh, and it's not a bad phone either. From the outside, the Samsung SGH-D307 isn't much of a looker. Its blocklike design and standard silver dress won't impress anyone, and the flip phone is slightly bulky at 3.7 by 1.9 by 0.8 inches and 4.3 ounces. Compared with the , however, it's downright small. The phone fits snugly in a jeans pocket, but the trade-off is that it feels solid in your hands and comfortable when held to the ear. Also, there's no stubby antenna to snag on clothing or pockets, which we appreciated.
There's a postage stamp-size screen on the front cover of the Samsung SGH-D307 that shows the date, the time, signal and battery strength, and caller ID (where available), but we were disappointed by the fact that it's monochrome. For a phone of this class, we would have expected at least a 4,096-color display. That said, the text--the date, the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID--is clear, and it's always readable even if the phone isn't in use. There isn't too much else to the exterior of the phone: On the left spine, there's a headset jack, as well as a volume rocker, which you can use to manipulate the easy-to-use menu, while a lone voice-recorder/speakerphone launch button sits on the right.
So everything about the Samsung SGH-D307's design has been standard so far, right? Well, it's time to move on to the twist. The mobile features an innovative dual-flip hinge so that you can open it like a traditional flip phone or to the side to view the display in landscape mode. And once you do open the phone, you're presented with more treats: a gorgeous 2-inch-diagonal, 262,000-color screen and a mini QWERTY keyboard. The display is bright and sharp, as well as great for playing games and viewing Web pages. It's too bad the SGH-D307 doesn't have a camera, since the display would be ideal for viewing photos.