Samsung's SGH-R225m may be somewhat stylish and--dare we say--cute, but it's not the best model the company has ever produced. However, it will undoubtedly find a happy home in the hands of those who want a basic, uncomplicated, and fairly inexpensive phone. Unlike its sibling, the N300, the R225m doesn't have a flip-style keypad cover, but the two models look very similar. That said, the R225m is smaller (4.3 by 1.8 by 0.9 inches) and slimmer (3.4 ounces). We like the blue finish and silver trim around the R225m's screen--which displays up to four lines of text in a reasonably large font--as well as its rubberized and well-spaced, blue-backlit buttons. All in all, you'll find that this phone is comfortable to talk on and to use.
The mobile sports the same easy-to-navigate menu system as many Samsung models. To get to the R225m's features, you can use the four buttons above the Send/End/Clear controls. There's even a dedicated key for accessing the phone book--a nice touch. Considering how many times we found ourselves turning down the volume in midconversation, we would've appreciated a volume-control switch on the side of the phone.
The top of the R225m has a five-color LED light that flashes intermittently when a call comes in. Unfortunately, that light also flashes when the phone is charging; you might want to put the Samsung in a drawer if it's juicing up in your room at night.
The R225m doesn't have a lot of high-end features, but the ones it does have are implemented well. All the standards are here, including caller ID; conference calling; a lock for the keypad; menus in English, French, and Spanish; an alarm; a world clock; text messaging; screensavers; picture messaging; 25 ring tones (with two slots available for downloads); and a vibrate mode.
If you have an AOL account, you can use AIM with the R225m, but it tends to drain the battery. We also wish that some canned notes were included; using the keypad for messaging was tedious.
Service and reception were a mixed bag in out tests throughout Lake Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay Area. Overall audio quality was good, and callers said they heard us loud and clear. In fact, this is one of the loudest phones we've tested to date. But we had some reception issues with this GSM 900/1900 (international roaming) mobile. For example, if we were on the line while the phone automatically roamed to a new network, the call was dropped. On the flip side, we managed to get service on the T-Mobile network in areas where another Samsung mobile couldn't pick up a Verizon signal.
Battery life was less than stellar. We managed to get about 2.5 hours of talk time, which is passable, but it's still much less than the rated 250 minutes. We were similarly disappointed in the R225m's standby time. We got only 2.5 days, about 3 days shy of the rated 120 hours.