The Samsung SGH-T119 had a low profile when it made its appearance at CES 2009. As a simple candy-bar phone for making calls, it couldn't quite compete with such T-Mobile siblings as the Motorola Renew W233 and the second version of the T-Mobile Shadow. But as basic it may be, it's worth considering if you just need a phone for making calls. Except for a couple of complaints, it offers a simple, easy-to-use design that should be accessible to cell phone newbies. What's more, the feature set is functional and the call quality is serviceable.
The SGH-T119 takes us back to the early days of cell phone design. Instead of a slider model with a razor-thin profile, the SGH-T119 is basically a black rectangle with straight lines and sharp corners. It's relatively compact (4.13 inches by 1.76 inches by 0.56 inch) and lightweight (2.74 ounces) so it's easy to take on the go. The plastic case feels a tad cheap--it should be fine for most users, but the danger-prone should look elsewhere.
The SGH-T119's display measures 1.6 inches and supports just 65,000 colors (128x128 pixels). As such, it won't show sharp graphics or photos, but it's about what you'd expect on a phone of this caliber. You can change the backlighting duration, the contrast and the font size, color, and style. The icon-based menu interface is intuitive.
The navigation array is relatively spacious and tactile. You'll find a square, four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, and the talk and End/power buttons. You can set the toggle as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. The only things missing are a clear/back key and a dedicated speakerphone button. The keypad buttons are tactile and roomy. We didn't have any major issues dialing or texting, though we couldn't help but notice that the keys are stiff.
The only other exterior feature is a combination charger port/headset jack on the left spine. Of course, that means you're limited to a proprietary jack, and you can use only one peripheral at a time. We were miffed by the lack of a spine-mounted volume rocker. You have to remove the phone from your face to adjust the sound with the volume rocker.