T509 phone
Ben D'avanza  /  T-Mobile
This handset is so thin that it's easy to forget that it's in your pocket.
By Columnist
updated 5/12/2006 4:46:07 PM ET 2006-05-12T20:46:07

This cell phone is thin! How thin you ask? About 1/3-inch thin!

Earlier this week, Samsung and T-Mobile threw a big bash to introduce their T509 phone here in New York. Many beautiful people attended. They let me inside, too.

In addition to the guy spinning tunes, and the ice sculpture of the phone there were platters of goodies on the tables — platters containing Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies and giant Slim Jim beef jerky sticks. The ladies dressed in all black who were serving the snacks were skinny, trim and fit. Did I mention that the phone is very thin?

Samsung’s SGH-T509 is a tri-band (850, 1800, 1900 MHz) GSM/GPRS/EDGE handset.  It works here in North America and in other countries with GSM service around the world.

Officially it measures 4.6 by 1.83 by 0.38 inches (9.8mm for those keeping track) and weighs 2.72 ounces. They claim it’s the thinnest phone on sale in the United States. What I found is that when I slip it into my pocket it’s very easy to forget it’s there. That’s a good thing.

This phone isn't the most technically sophisticated model on the block, but for its price and size, I think you'll be happy. It sports a spiffy 176 by 220 pixel (1.2 by 1.5 inch) color display capable of reproducing 65,000 colors.  I decided not to count to see if they’re all there; I’ll take their word for it.

Features include up to 7 MB of user available internal memory, a VGA camera with 4X digital zoom for stills and video, Bluetooth, speakerphone, photo caller-ID, voice notes, all kinds of text and instant messaging (SMS, MMS, AOL, Yahoo, MSN, etc.),  a hi-fi ringer and lots more.

Notice, the T509 doesn’t do all sorts of fancy emailing or fancy super-high-speed connectivity. And, for that matter, you can’t easily watch things like sporting events from Central Asian countries. 

On the other hand, you can make and receive phone calls and send short messages with ease.  Everyone I called with the T509 heard what I was saying and I was able to hear them as well. I’ve found that these days it’s not always so easy for feature-laden cellular phone/browser/e-mailer devices to perform like ... cell phones.

I'd also like to congratulate Samsung for making a cell phone keypad that is easy to lock.  As many owners of "candy bar"-shaped cell phones know, if you don’t lock your keypad your phone might dial someone you don’t particularly want to speak with — say, someone who lives in some far-off location. Usually, that means an unwanted international call. I’ve experienced that problem more than once.

Most phones require you to press a combination of buttons to lock the keypad.  But with the Samsung handset all you do is hold down the * (asterisk) button for two seconds and your keypad is locked. Thanks for helping make what should be an easy task — easy.

Battery life is worth mentioning as well. I haven’t re-charged it since I received my test phone nearly three days ago and I still have lots of juice left in the battery. That’s a very good sign.

Overall, I like this phone a lot. It’s basic, yes, but that's exactly what most people really need in a cellular handset anyway.

Best of all is the price. As an introductory offer, T-Mobile is offering the T509 for only $49.99 when you sign up for the appropriate monthly plan. I think that’s a very fair price for a stylish new handset. And did I mention it's thin?

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