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Samsung SGH-T629 (T-Mobile) review: Samsung SGH-T629 (T-Mobile)



Samsung SGH-T629 (T-Mobile)

The Good

The Samsung SGH-T629 has a slim profile and a large screen. Features of the quadband phone include a Micro SD card slot, a 1.3-megapixel camera, a music player, and Bluetooth support.

The Bad

The Samsung SGH-T629 has very slippery keys, and the keypad is difficult to dial by feel. We also experienced spotty call quality.

The Bottom Line

The Samsung SGH-T629 is a great-looking, slim phone with a solid feature set, despite a few design flaws.
Samsung has definitely made a name for itself in recent months with its thin phones, and the slider style is no exception. The Samsung Nimbus from Alltel and the Samsung SGH-D807 from Cingular are just two recent examples of Samsung's stake in the slim slider market. The Samsung SGH-T629 is the latest slim slider from the Korean powerhouse, and this time its carrier is T-Mobile. We like it for its feature set as well as its style, and would recommend it for those who want skinny phones with decent multimedia offerings. It retails for $249.99, but you can get it for $149.99 with a new two-year contract.
Samsung SGH-T629
The Samsung SGH-T629 is a slim slider phone.

Of course, the primary attraction of the Samsung SGH-T629 is its thinness. Measuring 3.9 by 2.01 by 0.55 inches and weighing in at 3.2 ounces, the T629 is certainly one of the skinniest phones to come our way. The phone itself is covered in a silver-gray hue, and though it's a little blocky around the edges, the device felt lightweight and comfortable, both in the hand and when held against the ear. A charger/headset jack and a volume rocker reside on the left side, while the right spine is home to a Micro SD card slot and a dedicated camera button. Flip the phone around, and you'll see the camera lens and self-portrait mirror at the top. You can take photos with the phone closed.

Sliding the phone open is a tad more difficult than with other slider models we've tested, however. Instead of pushing the phone up from the bottom lip, you'll have to slide it up by pushing the front of the phone. There is a slight plastic ledge jutting out from underneath the display that helps you do this, but we still ended up smudging the display with fingerprints when sliding the phone upward. You can adjust the phone's slider settings so that it answers the call immediately when you slide it upward, and you can also set it to stop any operation if you slide it downward.

The 2.2-inch display is absolutely stunning. It supports 262,144 colors, and it looks vibrant and bright, with colors that pop from the screen. The Samsung menu interface is pleasing to the eye, and we enjoy the animated icons and colorful graphics. You can also view the submenu of each main item as you're scrolling down the list, which makes for handy navigation. The backlight timer can be adjusted, as well as the screen's brightness. As with most Samsung phones, the dialing text can be configured with different backgrounds, font sizes, and font colors.

Underneath the display is the navigation keypad, while the dialpad is revealed when the phone is slid open. The navigation controls consist of two soft keys, a four-way toggle with a middle OK key, a call key, a cancel key, and an end/power key. The toggle also doubles as shortcuts for the camera, the voice memo recorder, the contacts list, and text messaging. We found the keypad extremely slippery, and the keys on the dialpad are set nearly flush with the surface of the phone. This made it tricky to dial by feel and navigate the phone easily.

The Samsung SGH-T629 has quite an impressive feature set for such a skinny device. Each entry in the address book can hold as many as five numbers, one e-mail address, and a memo; you can also assign a picture ID, one of 16 polyphonic ring tones, and a caller group for caller ID purposes. The SGH-T629 also supports MP3 ring tones, which you can upload yourself or download from T-Mobile. Other basic features include text and multimedia messaging, a speakerphone, a vibrate mode, instant messaging (AIM, ICQ, MSN, and Yahoo), Bluetooth, voice dialing, voice recording, an alarm, a calendar, tasks, a calculator, world time, a unit converter, a timer, a Micro SD card slot, and a wireless Web browser via T-Zones, T-Mobile's mobile Web portal. The SGH-T629 is also a quadband world phone that supports the T-Mobile's EDGE network, which allows for faster downloads.

Samsung SGH-T629
The Samsung SGH-T629 has a 1.3-megapixel camera.

We're quite pleased with the phone's 1.3-megapixel camera. It doesn't come with a flash, but it does have a 10X digital zoom and a brightness setting. Other camera settings include five size resolutions (1,200x1,024; 1,152x863; 800x600; 640x480; 320x240), the viewfinder size (full screen or actual screen), shooting mode (single shot, multishot, or mosaic), effects, fun frames, a self-timer, default photo name, and sound options for the shutter, the zoom, and brightness. All camera sounds can be shut off if you choose. The camera took great photos, and we were pleased with the results, especially from a 1.3-megapixel camera phone. You can also record video in two sizes, 128x96 or 176x144, but they didn't turn out as well as the photos and ended up shaky and blurry. The phone comes with 21MB of built-in memory, but you can always upgrade to more storage with the help of a Micro SD card.

Samsung SGH-T629
The Samsung SGH-T629 took decent photos.

The SGH-T629 also comes with a built-in MP3 player. There aren't any external music controls, so you'll have to scroll to the Fun & Apps menu in order to access it, plus you'll have to use the navigation keypad to control the playback. Uploading music from a computer is fairly straightforward and is a simple matter of drag-and-drop. The MP3 player also has repeat mode, a shuffle mode, an equalizer, a visualization tool, a backlight mode (Always On or Normal), and a dedicated volume control for the player.

Personalization options are pretty standard for the Samsung SGH-T629. You can customize the wallpaper, the background colors, and the greeting message, and you can choose to have the calendar appear on the main display or not. You can also assign different tones for incoming messages, alerts, the keypad, and the slider, as well as when the phone powers on and off. The phone supports Java games and comes preloaded with Bobby Carrot, Airship Racing, Arch Angel, Freekick, and Midnight Pool. If you're not satisfied with any of the options, you can download more graphics, sounds, and games from T-Mobile's T-zones Web portal.

We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; EDGE) Samsung SGH-T629 world phone in San Francisco using T-Mobile's service. Callers said they couldn't hear us too well most of the time, and we found that service was poor in certain areas. However, in areas with better reception, call quality was much improved, with clear call quality on our end and vice versa. Speakerphone quality was surprisingly good, thanks to the full-duplex speaker. Music heard from the MP3 player was crisp and clear, though it obviously sounded a lot better with a headset on. We had no problem pairing the Samsung SGH-T629 with the Nokia BH-800 Bluetooth headset.

The Samsung SGH-T629 has a rated talk time of 5 hours and a tested talk time of 4 hours and 56 minutes. It has a rated standby time of 8 days. According to FCC radiation tests, the SGH-T629 has a digital SAR rating of 0.814 watt per kilogram.


Samsung SGH-T629 (T-Mobile)

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 8