Review: Samsung T809
The t809 is by far the most attractive phone to come out of Samsung in recent memory. It's slim black shape feels small yet solid and reassuring. It is barely thicker than the RAZR, which gives the phone the same ability to drop right into a pocket.
The volume rocker switch on the left side is the only button on the phone's edges. The minimal edge buttons leave maximum real estate, making the phone easy to grip. The power plug and microSD (TransFlash) card access are covered by simple plastic flaps.
The t809 build quality doesn't age well. While the use of very high quality plastics and tight seals allow for a great initial impression, during our testing the phone quickly showed signs of wear, both in the finish of the plastics, as well as the slide mechanism. At the bottom of the display, below the Samsung branding, there's a small ridge used for pushing the display up to reveal the keypad. Pressing on this ridge when the phone is closed creates a visible and audible flex. None of this effects the t809's functionality, but when comparing a one month old t809 to a RAZR of the same age, the RAZR will feel like a higher quality handset.
The exterior keypad provides for easy usage of most functions without having to open the phone. The four-way D-pad is concave and includes a ring of light to help illuminate it. The cancel button below the D-pad has a nice ridge, which makes it easy to use despite its small size. The soft buttons have fixed partitions to separate them from the send and end buttons. These left and right columns of buttons are made from a more rough plastic than the smooth and shiny d-pad and cancel buttons.
The numeric keys underneath the display are amply sized for large thumbs. They also feature the same plastics and partitions as the exterior keys. The large numbers and clear lettering make for easy dialing and texting. Also, voicemail, shift, and silent icons occupy their standard locations which eliminates any sort of frustrating keypad learning curve.
Overall the keys are brilliantly designed and constructed. On the outside they stay compact and allow the display to fill the face of the phone. Inside they do a surprising job of accommodating large hands considering their small overall footprint. The difference in polished and unpolished plastics in both keypad areas makes no-look operation very easy.