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Samsung SGH-A227 (AT&T) review: Samsung SGH-A227 (AT&T)

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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.

5.6

Samsung SGH-A227 (AT&T)

The Good

The Samsung SGH-A227 has a simple, easy-to-use design and functional features.

The Bad

The Samsung SGH-A227's call quality was a bit scratchy. Also, its navigation array was cramped.

The Bottom Line

Though its call quality could be improved, the Samsung SGH-A227 is a respectable phone for occasional callers.


Design

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 SGH-A227's display is purely functional.

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 SGH-A227's volume rocker sits on its left spine.

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.


Features

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.


Performance

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.

5.6

Samsung SGH-A227 (AT&T)

Score Breakdown

Design 6Features 5Performance 6