Samsung SGH-A227 (AT&T)
In the land of basic cell phones, variety is pretty slim. That's why AT&T's Samsung SGH-A227 fits so well in the genre. Sporting a minimalist flip design with simple calling and messaging features, the SGH-A227 does exactly what a cell phone should do. Though its controls are rather cramped and call quality had its flaws, it is a solid choice for beginner cell phone users who just need to communicate. When compared with AT&T's other basic phones, it's not quite as dependable as the earlier Samsung SGH-A117, but it's a much better choice than the company's SGH-A127. Oddly, at the time of this writing the SGH-A227 is listed only on AT&T's business and professional Web site, but you can get it for $9.99 with service.
The SGH-A227 is as unassuming as a cell phone could be. Clad in basic black with a traditional flip-phone shape, the handset resembles scores of Samsung phones before it. On the exterior, you'll find a postage stamp (96x96 pixels) monochrome display that shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID. You can change the clock style and the contrast, add a slogan, or set one of six preset images as wallpaper. At 5.5 inches long by 1.76 inches wide by 0.79 inch thick and weighing 3.4 ounces, the SGH-A227 is compact and lightweight, but it lacks a solid and durable feeling in the hand. A thin volume rocker rests on the left spine, while the right spine holds the charger port/headed jack.
The internal display measures 1.75 inches (160x128 pixels) and supports 65,000 colors. Though its resolution is far from eye-popping, the display is practical for a phone of this caliber, and we liked it better than the screen on the Samsung SGH-T229. Graphics aren't terribly sharp, but the icons in the easy-to-use menus show up well. You can change the dialing font's size and color, the backlighting time, and the brightness.
The navigation and keypad buttons are intuitive, though the arrangement is rather cramped and the plastic buttons feel a tad cheap. The main toggle doubles as a shortcut to four user-defined shortcuts, while the right soft key opens a secondary shortcut menu. The central OK button opens the Web browser when the phone is in standby mode; to access the main menu you must press the left soft key. Below you'll find the Talk and End/power controls and a back/clear button. The numbers on the keypad aren't big, but they're lit by a bright backlighting.
The SGH-A227 has room for 500 contacts with space in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes (the SIM card holds an additional 250 contacts). You can save contacts to groups and pair them with one of 10 (64-chord) polyphonic ringtones. Other features include a vibrate mode, an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, a currency and unit converter, a timer, a stopwatch, a world clock, and a tip calculator. You'll also find an audio recorder, instant messaging, and browser-based POP3 e-mail.
You can personalize the SGH-A227 with a variety of background colors and wallpaper. The handset comes with demo versions of two games--Tetris and Platinum Sudoku. You also get trial versions of My-cast 5 Weather and a mobile banking application.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/90/1800/1900) SamsungSGH-A227 in San Francisco using AT&T service. Call quality was serviceable, though short of excellent. Voices sounded natural and we had enough volume, but the audio had a bit of static at times. The sound also cut-out occasionally, but it wasn't a significant problem. On their end, callers could tell we were using a cell phone but they didn't have any major complaints. As we said before, this is a phone for occasional callers. Speakerphone calls were about the same, though the call quality is diminished slightly.
The SGH-A227 has a rated battery life of four hours talk time and up to 15.8 days standby time. The Samsung SGH-A227 has a tested talk time of 10 hours and 54 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the SGH-A227 has a digital SAR rating of 1.13 watts per kilogram.