There's not a lot you should expect from T-Mobile's new Samsung SGH-T109. As a basic phone with minimal features, it doesn't offer much beyond the ability to make calls and send messages. Of course, that's not a bad thing--not everybody needs a handset with flashy offerings--but the SGH-T109 is about as simple as you can get. Call quality does the job, and the green hue is undeniably unique, but its keypad design didn't quite cut it. The SGH-T109 is an affordable $69.99 if you pay full price, but you can get it for free with service.
As is often the case with Samsung, we've seen the SGH-T109's look a few times before. The modest flip-phone design takes many cues from handsets like the Samsung SCH-U340. Indeed, you'll see the same clean lines and overall shape. The T109 does make its own mark with its army-green hue, but students of radical design will be disappointed. Like many phones of its class, the plastic skin doesn't feel rock-solid, but the hinge is sturdy. At 3.5 inches by 1.77 inches by 0.78 inch and 3.1 ounces, the T109 is compact and portable.
The external display is monochrome and no bigger than a postage stamp. It shows the date, time, battery, life, signal strength, and numeric caller ID. It doesn't support photo caller ID but that's a non-issue on a phone without a camera. You can adjust the contrast only but the time remains visible even when the short backlighting is off. On the left spine you'll find the volume rocker and on the right spine there is the headset jack/charger port. Please note that it is a combined jack that uses the same Samsung proprietary connection for both.
The T109's main display measures 1.75 inches and supports 65,000 colors (160x128 pixels). On most any other phone we'd complain about such a low resolution--graphics look pretty fuzzy--but on a basic handset like the T109 we don't mind. The icon-based menu interface is exceedingly intuitive, and the tiny bit of animation doesn't slow the phone down. You can change the contract, the backlight time, the menu text style and color, and the dialing text size and color.
The navigation array consists of a circular toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, a clear control and the Talk and End/power buttons. Though all of the controls are flush, they're arranged spaciously, and they're covered in a faux rubbery material that makes them somewhat tactile. The toggle is silver and it doubles as a shortcut to the call log, the messaging menu, the voice recorder, and the phone book.