CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Samsung SGH-E review: Samsung SGH-E

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
Compare These

The Good Compact eye-catching design; integrated camera with video recorder; solid battery life.

The Bad No speakerphone; no Bluetooth or infrared port; so-so sound quality.

The Bottom Line Though its call quality could be better, the ultralight E316 has some useful features and impressive battery life.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.6 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8

Review Sections

Review Summary

The Samsung SGH-E316 for AT&T Wireless isn't the first mobile to combine a VGA camera, video capability, and Web functions, but at a scant 3 ounces, it's one of the smallest full-featured phones out there. Available through AT&T Wireless, the handset resembles the Sprint VM-A680 (also by Samsung) in offering worthy features and a stylish design. Performance was mixed--audio quality wasn't great, although battery life was impressive--but overall, it's worth picking up. Its $319.99 price tag is high, but AT&T should offer it a discount with service. T-Mobile and Cingular offer similar versions, the SGH-E315 and SGH-E317, respectively.

Usually we're suckers for Samsung's signature styling, and the SGH-E316 is no exception. Clad in silver with smooth surfaces and curved lines, it has a simple and soothing design. Yet it also represents an improvement over Samsung's last AT&T Wireless camera phone, the SGH-V206, mostly because it's smaller. The 3.3-by-1.8-by 0.8-inch E316 weighs just 3 ounces, compared to the V206's 3.4 ounces. You can slip this mobile into your pocket and easily forget it's there.

Small stuff: The E316 is compact and lightweight.

Compared with the V206, the Samsung SGH-E316 has an improved external display. Supporting a vibrant 65,000 colors, it shows the date, the time, signal strength, battery life, and caller ID (where available). As a bonus, the E316 even lets you assign pictures to individual callers. Be warned that it goes completely black when the backlighting is off, but a simple touch of the left-side volume rocker turns it back on. Samsung gets higher marks for two slash-shaped LEDs set on either side of the screen. Without being too distracting or consuming too much power, they do a great job of showing the phone's status by blinking intermittently in standby mode and flashing continuously for a call or a text message. You can choose between seven colors or turn it off completely. Finishing the front of the mobile is the camera lens, which, unlike the SGH-V206's, doesn't rotate. It's also missing the flash found on the Sprint VM-A680.

The phone's internal screen is just as attractive. It measures 1 inch (diagonal) and displays 65,000 colors. It's vibrant and crisp enough for viewing pictures, watching video, and playing Web games; you can also use it for photo caller ID. Plus, it displays the number you dial in big, easy-to-read characters. Our only complaint: The screen looks washed-out in bright light.

The menu system makes good use of the display, with colorful animations indicating the various function options. A four-way toggle helps you move about the menu and gives you one-touch access to user-defined functions, while a centrally located mMode button serves a shortcut to AT&T's data and Web services. Alternatively, you can move through menus via the volume rocker. Still, we would have preferred an OK button in the toggle's center; instead, the left soft key serves this function. We did appreciate, however, that the pound key also changes the ringer mode, and a dedicated camera button is on the right side. The well-spaced keypad buttons are backlit and easy to see in the dark, but they are set flush with the phone and can be a little slippery. We hit the wrong keys by accident more than once.

Best Phones for 2019

All Best Phones

More Best Products

All Best Products

This week on CNET News

Discuss Samsung SGH-E