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It's a pity that carriers spend so little time marketing basic cell phones that lack cameras. Undoubtedly, many consumers want a phone that only makes calls, but a carrier's emphasis on fancy and profitable handsets often leaves these simpler models behind. That was certainly the case with the Samsung SGH-X507 for Cingular Wireless. Though the phone has been out for a few months, it took us that long just to get our hands on a review model. But now that we have one, we can report it can't match the Nokia 6030. Call quality was unreliable and we didn't like the handset's plastic feel. At $79 with service ($129 if you pay full price) the SGH-X507 is a tad expensive for a basic phone, but you should be able to get it online for free.
It would be difficult for the SGH-X507 to have a simpler design. With clean lines and a minimalist style, it squarely fits the definition of a basic flip phone, though the silver-and-dark-blue color scheme manages to give it a bit of character. At 3.3 inches long by 1.75 inches wide by 0.75 inch thick, it's very compact despite a small external antenna, and at 2.9 ounces it's won't weigh you down in the least. On the other hand, we were unimpressed with the plastic feel of the phone's casing.
The 0.8-inch display is a tad small, but it manages to pack in all the information you need, including the time, date, signal strength, and battery life. The display is monochrome but that's not an issue, because the SGH-X507 doesn't have a camera. A volume rocker sits on the left spine just below a covered headset jack while the charger ports rest on the bottom of the phone.
The SGH-X507's internal display supports 65,000 colors and measures 1.75 inches. Though it's not particularly bright or vivid, it gets the job done and is fine for this caliber of phone. The simple menus are easy to use, and they feature animated icons. You can change the display's backlighting time, contrast and brightness, and the font color and style.
The navigation controls are standard Samsung. There's a rectangular four-way toggle that doubles as a shortcut to four user-defined functions. The control in the middle of the toggle functions as an OK button only when you're in a menu; otherwise it takes you directly to the Web browser. The SGH-X507 also has two soft keys, a Clear button, and the Talk and End/power buttons. The keypad buttons are easy to use, for the most part. They have a tactile rubberized feel and we like that they're raised above the surface of the phone. Our only caveat is that the backlit keys may be too small for some users.
The SGH-X507 has a generous 1,000-contact phone book with room in each entry for five phone numbers, an e-mail address, and notes. If you're really popular you can save an additional 250 names on the SIM card. For personalization you can save contacts to groups and pair them one of 10 polyphonic ringtones. You can assign contacts a photo as well, but they won't be of much use since the external display doesn't support photo caller ID.
Other features include a vibrate mode, wireless modem capability, a speakerphone, a voice recorder, an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, a unit converter, a timer, a stopwatch and a world clock. The SGH-X507 also supports text and multimedia messaging, and it can play videos received in a MMS. And for even more ways to communicate, the phone offers instant messaging and e-mail. The SGH-X507 comes with 3MB of internal memory.
You can customize the SGH-X507 with a variety of wallpapers, graphics, color skins, and alert tones. Or, you can write a personalized greeting. The phone comes with demo versions of Tetris, JewelQuest, Midnight Pool, and World Poker Tour.
We tested the quadband (GSM 850/900/1800/19000) SGH-X507 world phone in San Francisco using Cingular service. Unfortunately, call quality was unreliable. Though some conversations sounded fine, other calls were quite garbled and distorted. The latter didn't happen too often but it was enough to be bothersome given that there was no real pattern to the call quality. On their end, callers reported fewer problems. The phone picked up wind noise but callers could understand us. Speakerphone calls were average: not terrible, but not great either.
The SGH-X507 has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 8 hours standby time. In our tests, we managed to get a talk time of 4 hours and 56 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the SGH-X507 has a digital SAR rating of 1.27 watts per kilogram.