Music phones are almost a must-have category for any wireless carrier these days, as more people are taking to listening to music on their phones. These handsets don't have to be smartphones or anything too advanced, as long as they focus on delivering a decent music listening experience. The Samsung Trill is one such device, and it's for regional carrier U.S. Cellular. If it looks terribly familiar, it's because it's almost a duplicate of the Samsung Trance from Verizon Wireless, save for a few differences. The Samsung Trill is available for only $19.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
Like the Samsung Trance, the Trill has an elegant curvaceous design that is slightly reminiscent of a violin or a guitar. It measures 4 inches long by 1.97 inches wide by 0.55 inch thick, and is only 3.53 ounces. It has a glossy front finish that is very reflective, which makes it quite fingerprint prone. While the Trance was all in black, the Trill is a dark blue.
The Trill has a 2.1-inch screen with support for 262,000 TFT colors and 176x229-pixel resolution. The result is a really great-looking display, with images that pop with color. That said, the Trill's menu interface doesn't have quite the elegance of the one on the Trance. The icons and the wallpaper on the Trill look fairly pedestrian and quite similar to the ones on other U.S. Cellular phones, while the Trance's icons looked positively luminescent. Also, you can't adjust the menu layout on the Trill. This is just a small complaint, of course, but it can be annoying for some.
Underneath the display is where the Trill really differentiates itself from the Trance. Instead of touch-sensitive keys, the Trill has physical navigation controls. There's a square toggle in the middle with a center OK key, and then two raised long buttons on either side that actually house three functions each. The left button has the soft key at the top, a messaging menu shortcut in the middle, and the music player shortcut at the bottom. The right button has another soft key on top, the contacts list in the middle, and the Clear key at the bottom. We certainly prefer the physical controls over the touch-sensitive ones, but we would've preferred dedicated buttons for each of the above functions.
The rest of the phone's design is pretty identical to the Trance. The slider keypad looks the same, with the Send, camera key, and the End/Power keys on the top row. The keypad is a little flat to the surface, but there are row and column dividers that help provide some texture for easier dialing and texting.
The volume rocker is on the left spine, as well as a hold key and a microSD card slot. On the right are the 3.5mm headset jack, a speakerphone key, and the charger jack. When you slide open the phone, you'll see the camera lens plus a self-portrait mirror on the back.
The Samsung Trill has almost the same features as on the Trance. It has a 1,000-entry phone book and basic features like a vibrate mode, a one-touch speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, an alarm clock, a calendar, a stop watch, a world clock, and a notepad. There's also voice command support, a wireless Web browser called Easyedge, and USB mass storage mode. However, you won't be able to get mobile e-mail on here. Still, you do get location-based turn-by-turn directions, thanks to U.S. Cellular's own navigation app. We're also glad to see stereo Bluetooth here.