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If you're a Samsung phone fan, you'd be correct if you thought you'd seen the Samsung SGH-T429 for T-Mobile somewhere before. You have seen it somewhere before, two places to be exact. It inherits its design from the Samsung SGH-D900 and the SGH-T629. Like its predecessors, it offers a thin slider style and a large display. The feature set is somewhat comparable with Bluetooth, a speakerphone, and a voice memo recorder, but the camera resolution is just VGA. Call quality is decent, but on the whole the SGH-T429 is a rather unexciting handset. It's $49 with service. To find accessories for this phone, see our cell phone ringtones and accessories guide.
This isn't the first time Samsung has repurposed a favored thin design. Just look at Alltel's Samsung SCH-R510, which was the third incarnation of that particular design. But even though it's not very original, the SGH-T429 is not unattractive. The slender profile (3.9 by 1.94 by 0.56 inches) remains eye-catching and the metallic blue color is a nice change from the standard black or silver. It's also relatively lightweight and feels comfortable in the hand. The slider mechanism felt a tad loose, but it wasn't a distraction.
Front and center is the two-inch display. It's typical of most Samsung displays in that it shows graphics and colors well, even if it supports just 65,636 hues. The simple menus are clean and user-friendly and aren't burdened by too much Flash animation. You can change the brightness, the backlighting time, and the font size, style, and color.
The navigation controls also show a standard Samsung design. There's a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, Talk and End/power controls, and a dedicated Clear button. The toggle and OK control have some definition, but the other buttons are somewhat slick. You can change the toggle to act as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. The keypad buttons are hidden behind the sliding face, but they're raised above the surface of the phone. That's a good thing, as it makes it easier to dial by feel than on most slider handsets. The numbers on the keys are decently sized and they're lit by a bright backlighting.
The camera lens and self-portrait mirror are on the rear side of the sliding face, so you must have the phone in the open position to snap a picture. There's no flash, but that's not an issue on a VGA camera phone. A volume rocker sits on the left spine while a camera shutter and the headset/charger port rest on the right spine.
The SGH-T429 has a 500-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. You can organize callers into groups and pair them with a photo or one of 15 polyphonic ringtones. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a voice memo recorder, an alarm clock, a calendar, a task list, a notepad, a calculator, a world clock, a timer, a stopwatch, and a tip calculator. The handset also offers Bluetooth and instant messaging for AOL, ICQ, Windows Live, and Yahoo.
We tested the triband (GSM 850/900/1900) Samsung SGH-T729 in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. Though a triband phone like this will let you make calls in a lot of places, we still prefer a quadband world phone. In any case, the SGH-T429 offers decent call quality. We could hear our callers clearly with no static or interference from other electronic devices. The volume level was more than adequate and we didn't have trouble getting a signal. Our only complaint was that the phone picked up some wind noise. On their end, callers said they could hear us, though they said our voices sounded a bit robotic. Voice-automated systems could understand us. Speakerphone calls were fine, though they could be a bit louder, and Bluetooth calls were satisfactory.
The SGH-T429 has a rated battery life of six hours talk time and 14 days standby time. Our tests revealed a very impressive 8 hours of talk time.