Samsung T809 & Nokia Eseries
As these things go, the Samsung T809 has been an unusually well-kept secret. But now the veil has been lifted, and it seems Samsung has taken off the gloves in its fight against Mototola's runaway-hit RAZR. The T809 matches the thin profile, sleek look, and solid feel of the RAZR, but jumps way ahead with more advanced features and the increasingly-popular slider form factor. Although the forthcoming RAZR 2 will catch up in some ways, it's hard to say if it will be enough to best the T809.
The vital stats on the T809 are impressive. 0.58 inches thin. MP3 music player. EDGE high-speed data. Bluetooth. Quad-band GSM. 70 MB of memory, plus a microSD (TransFlash) memory card slot. The T809 even supports mass storage mode, meaning you can simply plug it into your PC and drag-and-drop files to and from the memory card with no special software.
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And then there's the gorgeous QVGA display, supporting 262,000 colors:
The T809 feels great in hand. The build quality is top-notch, including the smooth-as-silk - yet rock-solid - spring-assisted sliding mechanism. Although the buttons don't have perfect ergonomics, they're perfectly usable. The rotating camera is tricky to rotate, but since you only need to do that for self-portraits, it should only be a problem for the truly narcissistic.
Like the RAZR, the T809 achieves its svelte figure by spreading out a bit in the other dimensions, so it's bit wider and taller than some other phones. But if sales of the RAZR are any indication, most people won't mind.
Unfortunately, we didn't have a RAZR on hand for comparison, but lo and behold there was a Motorola PEBL at the T-Mobile table. T-Mobile reps confirmed that T-Mobile will carry the PEBL soon.
The T809 camera took some very disappointing sample pictures when we tried it. The detail was there, but the color and contrast were seriously lacking. That doesn't mean much, though, since it was only a prototype and camera quality is often tweaked at late stages in phone development.
More impressive was the video functionality, which is capable of recording at high frame rates and high resolutions, including QVGA (320 x 240) and CIF (352 x 288). It worked as advertised when we tried it. There was heavy blurring with anything but the slowest motion, but again that could have just been a prototype issue.
T-Mobile expects to launch the T809 in time for the holidays. The T-Mobile price will be $249 with rebate.
One last note about the T809... we can't help but be reminded of the T-Mobile-branded E865 we spotted back in January at CES. Since the features are so similar, we would guess that someone at T-Mobile or Samsung said "let's do that, but make it RAZR-size". Surely the result of such a conversation would be the T809.