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Samsung SGH-T349 is no BlackBerry

Though the Samsung SGH-T349 has a partial QWERTY keyboard similar to the SureType keyboard on the RIM BlackBerry Pearl, it's definitely no smartphone.

The Samsung SGH-T349 is the latest messaging phone from T-Mobile, and you'll be forgiven if you thought this looked more like the RIM BlackBerry Pearl thanks to its partial QWERTY keyboard, also known as a 20-key keyboard. Each key has two letters, similar to the SureType keyboard on the BlackBerry Pearl. Our own Bonnie Cha has voiced her disdain for the keyboard, and while I agree that it's not as easy as using a full QWERTY, I still found it easy to use--easier than a regular number keypad anyway. This is because of the T349's XT9 predictive text capability that auto completes words.

Aside from its messaging features, the SGH-T349 is a simple phone. It has multimedia features like a 1.3-megapixel camera, a camcorder, and a music and video player, but they're about as basic as it gets. Other features include stereo Bluetooth, e-mail, and a mobile Web browser. It only offers tri-band GSM, which is not as globe-friendly as quad-band models. Still, for only $15 with a two-year contract, the SGH-T349 isn't bad--as long as you can tolerate the partial QWERTY keyboard.

Read the Samsung SGH-T349 review