Samsung Highlight Review: Solid Multimedia Phone

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Samsung Highlight for introduction

The Samsung Highlight (SGH-T749), launched for T-Mobile, is a 3G-enabled pocket-friendly phone. The Highlight is a basic version of the Omnia - a full-touchscreen compact phone without dialpad or physical keyboard, but it has all the features of messaging as well as multimedia. The basic handset has been made to be user-friendly and sturdy. Available in two colors, the touchscreen-only phone has got a microSD slot under the battery cover.

Offering faster Web-browsing over the 3G network of T-Mobile, the Samsung Highlight also features a 3MP camera including video capture, music player and a microSD slot for up to 16GB of removable memory. Besides that, the phone boasts a basic bar form factor and an internal antenna to help decrease the breakage possibilities. The battery lasts for a long time, the camera snaps high-detail images, and a music player is built in. Moreover, the phone also sports fast search results via Yahoo OneSearch, Web access through a personalized home page, access to live news feeds through the widget of web2go, and access to T-Mobile downloads along with the most recent games, ringtones, applications and wallpapers.

Design (3 out of 5)

Samsung Highlight for design

At first glance, T-Mobile’s Samsung SGH-T749 Highlight looks just like any other touchscreen phone. The cost-effective feature phone tips the scales at 105g (3.7oz), and measures 109mm x 53mm x 13mm (4.3in x 2.1in x 0.5in). The Highlight, combined with its curvy design, feels amazingly cool in hand, and can easily slip into a pocket. The well-built phone comes in a ‘Fire’ color scheme, along with red and bright orange hues, or ‘Ice’, alongside teal and highly subdued dark shades.

The device also brags of a modest WQVGA touchscreen display at 3-inches with 240 x 400 pixels resolution. The easy to read display is very bright and occupies most of the front of the phone. There are three buttons below the display. The buttons are back, send, and power/end from left to right. There is also a ’lock’ key at the phone’s top right edge. This lock key can be used to swiftly unlock or lock the display to stop accidental key presses.

Just below the right edge, there is the proprietary data/audio/power port, enclosed by a fixed door to keep out the debris. Just below this port, there is also a dedicated camera button, while the Highlight’s left edge has no buttons.

Additionally, the phone has a 3MP camera at the top of its back, and the speakerphone grill lies just next to it. The phone reveals the generous 1200mAh battery after the removal of its entire back cover. The microSD card slot and SIM card slot are positioned underneath the battery.

For design, It earns 3.5 out of 5.

Features (3 out of 5)

Samsung Highlight for features

The phonebook of the Samsung Highlight can store up to 2,000-contacts, including space in each entry for 4 e-mail addresses, 4 phone numbers, 3 IM handles (instant messaging) like Windows Live, AIM, and Yahoo, a birthday, a URL, a nickname, an anniversary and a street address. Plus, the built-in SIM card is also capable of holding an extra 250 names. Other than that, the phone also allows users to organize callers into groups, and assign them with an image and one of 17 (72-chord) polyphonic ringtones.

The additional nitty-gritty of the Samsung Highlight includes: multimedia and text messaging, a vibrate mode, a calendar, a memo pad, a calculator, an alarm clock, a task list, a world clock, a stopwatch, a timer, a speakerphone, a unit and currency converter. Moreover, the phone also offers more advanced options such as USB mass storage, speaker-independent voice commands and dialing, PC syncing, an RSS reader, a file manager, Web-capable POP3 e-mail, support for GPS with Telenav Navigator, full Bluetooth including a stereo profile, a voice memo recorder, and instant messaging. Being a T-Mobile phone, it also offers MyFavs one-touch often contacts application. The handset also boasts of a fast-reacting accelerometer.

Design wise, the Samsung Highlight earns 3.5 out of 5.

User Interface (3 out of 5)

Samsung Highlight for user interface

The Samsung Highlight employs the TouchWiz user interface of Samsung. The phone uses it to fully customize the standby screen. Sadly, it is a clunky interface for all purposes. The left edge of the display has a widgets-filled scrollable bar. The widgets can either be clicked on or dragged over to the standby screen. This is where the confusion starts. Some of the icons expand into useful widgets after dropping to the standby screen, whereas others just go as icons. There isn’t any way to understand the behavior of these icons; you’ll have to guess and check. Moreover, both the widgets are slightly too big in size, and the small display of 3-inches becomes too busy with only 4 widgets.

The background wallpaper can be changed very easily, and some nice wallpapers have been included by default. The phone also allows users to select from three varied fonts to be utilized all over the handset. The main menu is delivered as a 3x4 grid of icons, including the 4 shortcuts row.

Users can easily customize the touchscreen to toggle the audio confirmations off or on, and tinker with the level of vibration experienced while touching an onscreen button. The Highlight offers a number of ringtones, as well. The phone, for data input, makes use of its incorporated accelerometer to find out the orientation, and offers a QWERTY keyboard and a standard numeric keypad.

The Samsung Highlight gets 3 out of 5 for its user interface.

Performance (4 out of 5)

Samsung Highlight for performance

The Samsung Highlight does decently well so far as its performance goes. No static was heard during conversations. The volume is a bit low but caller’s voices at both ends can be heard clearly. The low volume does create the problems of wind and loud background noise, but they are acceptable.

Speakerphone calls are good, but not great. Although the speakerphone just takes one click to get activated after having made a call, a quiet hiss is heard during regular voice calls here. Automated systems do cause a problem, but it can be easily overcome by speaking louder than normal.

The Lithium Ion 1200 mAh battery allows users to chat away for 6hrs, while its standby time goes for 2 weeks or more. Overall, the Samsung Highlight offers a really good battery life.

For its performance, the phone is rated 4 out of 5.

Verdict (4 out of 5)

The T-Mobile Samsung Highlight offers an amazing multi-media experience in a small form factor. The 3-inch WQVGA touchscreen display with 240 x 400 pixel resolution is responsive, and renders a fun user experience, although the TouchWiz UI is a bit annoying, it is overcome by the confusing widgets and oversized icons. The contacts app is powerful, while the internet browser is pretty good, too. The 1200mAh battery allows for extended use, while the 3G network of T-Mobile allows for snappy data connection. Considering all these factors, the Samsung Highlight deserves 4 out of 5 and is one of the best budget-friendly touchscreen phones available.