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printed August 28, 2014
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Review: Samsung T259

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The Samsung T259 is about as basic as they come. If we were to dial time back to about 2005, it would have been all the rage: smooth textures, clean design, small form factor, and good construction. The plastics of the T259 feel good, and it is easy to grasp the phone in one hand. The fit and finish are top notch, and nothing about the T259 feels chintzy or cheap. Its rounded edges make it a pocket-friendly device.

The T259 is a flip phone that thankfully avoids some of the pitfalls of this form factor. For one, the hinge is very well designed and sturdy. It has just the right amount of spring assistance to help flip it open. When held open, it isn't awkwardly long, nor is it unbalanced. Using it didn't fatigue my hand in any way.

They keypad and controls may be vanilla in terms of appearance, but less flair usually means more function when it comes to buttons on cell phones. All of the controls on the keypad are large enough for even the biggest thumbs to use with no trouble. The d-pad has distinct edges without being uncomfortable, and the satisfying "click" let's you know when it has been pressed. Flanking the d-pad are soft keys, a user-assignable shortcut key and messaging key. All four of these buttons, while somewhat flat, have solid feedback.

Below the d-pad control cluster, the T259 has Send/End keys, and the biggest Clear/Back button I've ever seen. As with the d-pad controls, these are lacking in shape, but have good travel. The number keys are nice and roomy, with plenty of surface area to work with. They have only slightly more shape to them than the other controls, but, again, they have excellent travel and feedback. It may not be the most visually appealing keypad design, but in this instance usability wins out.

The volume toggle is placed on the left side of the T259, and is easily reachable when the phone is both open and closed. There is a hatch covering the microSD card port below it. The hatch is easy to remove. Samsung has put a microUSB port on the right shoulder of the T259. Sadly, this port also doubles as the headphone jack, which will require an adapter to use. There's no standard round headset jack on the T259.

One of my few complaints about the hardware is the dedicated camera key. It's on the right side. It is a little on the small side, and the travel and feedback isn't as good as on the other buttons. My complaint is the positioning. It's literally only useful in one scenario -- taking self portraits. Otherwise, the d-pad is much easier to use for taking pictures. Why place it in such an awkward spot?

The battery cover snaps off easily enough, but unless you need to pull out the battery or SIM card, there's no real reason to remove it.

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