Samsung has always done a decent job of producing cell phones that are, well, just cell phones. Typically small and silver, they make calls and do little else. T-Mobile sported such a model last year with the , but now the Samsung SGH-X475 flip phone continues the trend. Compact and uncomplicated, the X475 makes for a solid starter cell phone. It's also fairly priced at $119, or less with a service contract.
The X475's minimalist design won't make it stand out in a crowd. In fact, it almost resembles a flat stone that you could skip across the nearest pond. At 3.4 by 1.8 by 0.9 inches and 3 ounces, it's also pleasantly portable, and the lack of an external antenna makes for an easy fit in the smallest pockets. A drawback of the small stature is that the X475 feels the slightest bit flimsy, so if you're into extreme sports, you may want to give it a pass. That said, we like the phone's blue and silver color scheme, as well as the hinged covers for the battery charger and the headset ports. The postage stamp-size external display is monochrome, but it shows all the necessary information, including the date, the time, the signal strength, battery life, and caller ID (where available). The only other external features on the X475 are a volume rocker on the left spine and a round LED light below the screen that flashes when the phone is on. For the latter, you can pick from three colors, or you can turn it off completely.
Open the phone, and you're greeted by its 1.75-inch main display. Supporting 65,000 colors, it's sufficiently bright and vivid; yet as with most Samsung displays, it's hard to see in direct light. You can adjust the brightness and backlight time but not the font size. Below the screen are the navigation keys, which are a little different from those on most Samsung handsets. A four-way toggle is surrounded by two soft keys, the Talk and End buttons, and a Clear key. In the middle of the toggle is a button that serves a dual purpose. In standby mode, it acts as a shortcut to T-Mobile's t-zones Internet service, but when inside a menu, it functions as an OK button. It's not the best arrangement, but we've grown accustomed to it. The menus themselves are easy to understand, and the toggle can be set as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. The keypad buttons are decently sized, but they are set flush with the surface of the phone.
Featurewise, the X475 doesn't provide much beyond the usual offerings. The phone book holds a generous 1,000 contacts, with room in each entry for three phone numbers and an e-mail address. You can assign contacts to caller groups, but only groups can be paired with a text-messaging sound or one of 16 polyphonic ring tones. You can also assign groups a picture for caller ID, but keep in mind there's no camera.