Samsung churns out another simple cell phone with the new SGH-T209 for T-Mobile. Modeled after the Samsung SGH-X495, it retains the same basic features and overall design but ditches the white color scheme in favor of two differently hued versions: silver and candy-apple red. Like the SGH-X495, the SGH-T209 offers a sleek if relatively staid design and a low-range feature set that includes a speakerphone and instant messaging. Although it's a tad expensive if you pay the full price of $119, service rebates will lower it to a more reasonable $19.
The Samsung SGH-T209 has exactly the same dimensions as its predecessor (5.5 by 1.9 by 1.0 inches), but it weighs slightly more, at 3.3 ounces. The SGH-T209 also inherits the same body design; it's relatively sleek with rounded edges and no external antenna, but the overall look is rather dull. The candy-apple-red version, however, is definitely appealing. The SGH-T209 takes its external display cues from the SGH-X495's. The postage-stamp-size screen is monochrome, but it shows useful information, such as the date, the time, battery life, signal strength, and caller ID (where available). However, we don't like the fact that you can't change the backlighting time on the screen. When the backlighting goes off, the time can be difficult to read, and you must open the phone to make the screen active again. Beneath the display is a small grille for the speakerphone, which marks another difference; the SGH-X495 also has a speakerphone, but it's inside the handset.
Inside the Samsung SGH-T209 is a 1.75-inch, 128x160-pixel screen that shows 65,000 colors. It's no different from most Samsung displays in that it's bright and vibrant, but it can be too bright at times, and it's difficult to see in direct sunlight. Still, it does a serviceable job and works well for scrolling through the menus. You can adjust the brightness, the contrast, the backlighting time, and the font color. Below the display are the standard Samsung navigation keys, which consist of a five-way toggle, two soft keys, the Talk and End/power buttons, and a Clear key. The keys are easy to use, and the toggle acts as a shortcut to the messaging menu, instant messaging, the voice recorder, and the phone book. The pill-shaped keypad buttons are also typical of handsets of this caliber. They're decently sized, and they're lit by a bright backlight, but they're flush with the surface of the phone. The only external features are a volume rocker and a headset jack on the left spine.