Samsung's new SGH-T139 for T-Mobile is just what you'd expect it to be. As a VGA camera phone with a standard flip design, it offers basic features and little style. Yet, since that's really the whole point, we're not going to complain. Comfortable controls and decent call quality give the SGH-T139 a minimalist appeal, and you can't beat the price. Also called the Mayon, the handset is free with an Even More plan (that's with a contract) and $59.99 with an Even More Plus plan (without a contract).
The T139 is the very definition of a flip phone. The blue-gray handset has smooth lines and a compact shape (3.7 inches tall by 1.9 inches wide by 0.7 inch thick; 2.98 ounces) than lends itself to easy travel. Besides a diamond pattern on the rear cover there are no design elements to distract from the phone's obvious purpose of making calls. The handset's plastic skin doesn't give it a durable feel, so we suggest carrying the phone in a pocket or bag.
The external display is just 1 inch diagonal, and the resolution is low (96x96 pixels). It shows the date, time, battery life, signal strength and numeric caller ID, but it won't work as a self-portrait viewfinder for the camera, which sits just above. On the left spine you'll find the volume rocker and the right spine has a camera shutter/lock control and a combined headset jack/charger port. Unfortunately, the latter uses a proprietary Samsung connection.
The internal display is also a bit small for the phone's size (1.75 inches). It supports 65,000 colors, so it's not the most vibrant display either, but it's suitable on a basic phone like the T139. The menus are easy to use, and you can change display options like standby text style and color, the dialing font size and the backlight time.
The SGH-T139's keypad and controls are its best design features. Both have spacious layouts with raised button that have a comfortable, rubbery feel. The diamond-shaped four-way toggle is clad in silver, which sets it apart from the black controls. You'll also find a central OK button, two soft keys, the Talk and End/power button, and a Clear control. The backlit keypad buttons feature large numbers and letters. We could text and dial quickly without any problems.
The SGH-T139's phone book holds 300 contacts with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. You can add callers to groups and pair them with a photo and one of 10 40-chord polyphonic ringtones. Other essentials include text and multimedia messaging, an alarm clock, a calendar, a task list, a calculator, a tip calculator, a world clock, a timer, a stopwatch, and a unit and currency converter.
You don't get much else beyond the basics, but Samsung included the most useful options. There's a voice recorder, instant messaging, Bluetooth, and the capability to send audio postcards with photos and a voice recording. There's no integrated e-mail app, but you can always get online through the WAP 2.0 browser.