Updated April 29, 2004
Armed with a bright, colorful screen and a flashy but functional menu, the slim-and-trim Samsung SGH-x105 makes for a decent entry-level phone. Casual callers will enjoy the cool animated menus and multimedia messaging. Cell phone addicts, however, will miss advanced features such as a speakerphone and voice commands. The phone is being offered by carriers at a steep discount if you sign up for a new calling plan. The small, light x105 comes in a sturdy blue-and-silver case. Measuring 4.3 by 1.7 by 0.8 inches and weighing just three ounces, the phone fit easily in our pocket and was easy to hold while making calls. However, flip-phone aficionados might find it awkward holding the diminutive phone up to their ear.
Front and center is the x105's beautiful 65,000-color screen, which made navigating the phone's animated menus a pleasure. You can choose between bar- (in which you see three horizontal menu bars at a time) or page-style (which lets you scroll through menu items a page at a time) menus. A clever navigational aid is the "address" in the bottom-right corner of the screen, which tells you exactly where you are in the maze of menus.
The phone's smooth, silver keys look great, but they're a bit cramped; our thumb kept sliding onto the wrong keys. We got better with practice, however, and we appreciated the illuminated keyboard when we were hunting and pecking in the dark. The x105 sports a decent, if not awe-inspiring, set of features. You get text and multimedia messaging, a 1,000-number phone book, a WAP browser, AOL Instant Messenger, call forwarding/waiting/ID, six-way conference calling, a to-do list, a key lock, and a calculator. You can check your e-mail if you pony up for T-Mobile's T-zones Pro service.
If you're a mobile gamer, you can hone your skills with one of the four Java-enabled apps preloaded on the x105. More are available though T-Mobile T-zones, and they look great on the phone's 128x128-pixel screen.
You can customize the x105 by choosing among 12 different wallpapers and 25 polyphonic ring tones. (Again, T-zones users can download more wallpapers and ring tones.) Unfortunately, you can't set specific ring tones or images for your contacts, but there is a vibrating alert.
An extra that looks great at first blush is the x105's currency exchange calculator. However, you must enter the exchange rate manually, so you might as well just do the division yourself using the calculator. The calendar also is somewhat limited as it won't let you set starting and ending times for events (although you can program reminders), and you're stuck with a monthly rather than a daily or weekly view.
While you can record voice memos and send them to your friends via MMS, you can't dial numbers using voice commands. Also missing from the list of features is Bluetooth and infrared connectivity, as well as a speakerphone. Using T-Mobile, we tested the dual-band (GSM 900/1900) x105 in the New York metro area, and those we called reported they couldn't tell we were using a cell phone. That said, voices sounded a bit tinny and muffled on the listening end of the x105.
Battery life was a mixed bag. In our tests, we got 5 hours, 36 minutes of talk time, better than the 4 hours promised by Samsung. However, we got about 166 hours of standby time, or a little less than the seven days listed in Samsung's published specs.
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