The Good Light form factor; integrated camera with swiveling lens; vibrant color screen; infrared port; solid call quality.
The Bad Flimsy construction; slippery keys; short battery life.
The Bottom Line Though we discovered a few welcome surprises with the Samsung SGH-P107, this basic handset's battery life and overall design left us disappointed.
Samsung SGH-P107 (Cingular)
Compared to Sprint or Verizon, Cingular and Samsung haven't been the best of friends. But ties between the two have strengthened recently with the rollout not only of the Samsung SGH-P107 but also of the and the SGH-E317. Designed in the usual Samsung silver, the P107 incorporates solid call quality with a rotating camera lens, an infrared port, and a vibrant color screen. On the downside, however, the handset suffered from short battery life and somewhat flimsy design. That said, though, as a basic phone for casual users, it should do the trick. And at $149 without a service plan, the price is right. If there's one area where the Samsung SGH-P107 stands out, it would be in its light weight. Measuring 3.5 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches and weighing just 3.3 ounces, the handset was hardly noticeable in our hand, and it slipped into our pockets with ease. However, small and light isn't always a good thing when it comes at the cost of overall construction quality. While the hinge mechanism was solid enough, the material covering the handset felt like cheap plastic, and we were concerned about the effects of dropping the mobile on a hard surface.
On the front of the P107, you'll find a postage-stamp-size monochrome screen that shows the date, the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). Immediately above it, a small LED flashes intermittently when the handset is on. You get a choice of seven colors, or you can turn it off altogether. A definite plus was the 180-degree-rotating camera lens that sits on the phone's hinge. Usually found on higher-end handsets, the lens allows you to take self-portraits as well as traditional pictures. The rest of the phone's features were minimal. A volume rocker, a headset jack, and an infrared port sit on the left spine, but we were disappointed by the lack of an exterior camera key.
Opening the handset reveals the vibrant 65,000-color screen. Though it's not too visible in direct sunlight, the 2-inch-diagonal display is great for viewing photos and the colorful, animated menus. We also like that you can change the font size. Just below the screen, you'll find the huge navigation keys, which are great for browsing through the user-friendly menus. The four-way toggle has shortcuts to the camera and to three user-defined functions--you move the toggle sideways to back in and out of submenus. But not everything about the handset's controls is to our liking. Made of the same plastic as the phone's face, the keys were slippery to the touch, and we lamented the lack of a dedicated OK button. The left soft key serves this purpose instead, and the valuable space inside the toggle is unwisely devoted to a Web browser shortcut. Also, while the phone book is activated by the right soft key, it can't be accessed from the main menu. The keypad buttons were large enough, but they were slippery and not very tactile.
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