For guys, this may not be your cup of tea - unless you’re after something for a special girl friend (lucky her!), or just wanting to show off your feminine side! The T500 is a model targeted specifically towards women who wants something more than just the average mobile phone.
And for those ladies out there, read on to find out what the T500 has to offer you!
Based on a similar theme as the A400/A212i models, Samsung has created their second generation “Queen” phone packing in the latest technologies to appear in the GSM mobile arena. The Samsung SGH-T500 will be a darling for many ladies - especially when you consider the inclusion of cubic zirconia stones and unique finishing used in the overall design of this handset.
Some of these “ladies only” features include an internal mirror screen and “life” applications that can help you get through your day with even more serenity. Complementing features, like 40-tone polyphonic ringtones and a 65,535-colour LCD screen, are the finishing touches which makes the T500 complete.
There’s nothing quite like the T500 when you look at what’s available out there. When you go down to your local mobile phone dealer, one of the ways you can differentiate one mobile phone from another is to consider its overall looks plus seeing what kind of features it has appealing to your needs. However, the T500 will probably win your heart straight away without much need of hard-selling.
Once you set eyes on this phone, the first thing you’ll notice is the set of cubic zirconia stones surrounding the outer LCD screen, just sitting there to be marvelled at. Once you turn on the T500, you will be even more amazed at how Samsung has integrated the service light feature into this phone - with the light source coming from right under and through the cubic zirconia stones. This service light is also activated when its user enables the external LCD’s backlighting by pressing either volume buttons (on the left hand side of the handset).
Another admirable thing about the T500 is its finishing. The glossy, rose red paintwork is the other element that makes this phone stand out of the crowd. Previously, on the A400/A212i models, the use of a slightly different red also warranted much attention - being the first phone on the market having such a design genre. There are several other colours that the T500 comes in (Pearl White, Sapphire Blue, Topaz Gold) - but the Ruby Red colour is the only one that will be officially available in the Australian market.
On the inside of the clamshell, the smooth fine lines are retained in the design of the keypad and earpiece area, while a reflective material is used for the surrounding borders on both clamshell faces to complement the T500’s unique mirror screen (more about this in the next sub-section). Although the keypad feels very flat and close to the casing, the slight curving on each of the 12 numeric keys - with the help of rounded-off edges on the casing just above of these keys - assists on improving their usability.
Having a more elongated footprint than the A400/A212i models, the T500 should be quite a pleasant phone to hold and use - again, thanks to the glossy finishing on the external casing. But to keep the phone all nice and shiny, you may need to give it a wipe every now and then to have the phone retain its shine :)
User Interface & display
The T500 adopts a similar user interface as the current T100 clamshell model, with both phones sharing a very similar menu system and base set of functionalities. For example, the left/right buttons on the 4-way navigation key are used to move across different sub-menus while the up/down buttons will result in highlighting the required sub-menu item of your choice. Samsung does not use the same menu navigation techniques throughout their different models (for example, the S100 and T200/208 are not as similar).
It seems that Samsung has improved their UFB (Ultra Fine and Bright) LCD screens since the release of the T208 half a year ago. The 65K-colour UFB LCD produces very similar image clarity/sharpness and brightness when compared to a TFT LCD, which is the best so far. Although it may not be as perfect as TFT in this department, one huge advantage of UFB is that it consumes 50% less power than a TFT while the backlighting is off.
As for the mirror display, which is a unique feature offered on the T500, it is a great feature to have when you rather not dig for your compact just for its mirror. To activate the mirror mode, open the T500’s clamshell and press the clear/“C” button (located just below the screen between the two soft keys). Once the LCD has been deactivated, you will be able to clearly see your reflection in the screen - and when you’re done, simply press any button to reactivate the screen.
But having a mirror-like base for the LCD means that you will have problems using it under direct lighting, where the display will reflect the light into your eyes instead. Therefore, it is not a good idea to use the phone’s display whilst under direct sunlight, as the reflection may damage your eyes.
Making and receiving calls
Alike most other Samsung phone models, the T500 comes with a wearable ear microphone and offers two methods of making/receiving calls only - via the phone’s earpiece or through the ear microphone. Voice clarity using either method is as good, while I found the T500’s clamshell to be sized rather well to rest comfortably on a typical female face - better than that of the A400/A212i.
In addition to simply allowing a call to be answered and ended, the button on the ear microphone allows access to the “call log” feature, which lists all recent calls that were made/received/missed, and actually being able to call these with minimal fuss. To bring up the call log, simply hold down onto the ear microphone button until you hear a beep. If the clamshell is closed, one individual log entry is displayed per screen which is scrollable via the side volume buttons - while up to 5 entries are displayed on the main colour screen and also scrollable in a similar fashion. Once you have located the number you want to call, hold down on the ear microphone button again until a beep is heard and the call will be made.
The 40-tone polyphonic ringtones are fantastic! When you compare it with the 16-tone ones on previous Samsung models (like the T100 and N620), the clarity of the instruments being played have been very much improved. One concern that has been addressed is the lacking volume of polyphonic tones, where the T500 has no trouble with whatsoever.
There are 15 built-in polyphonic tones on the T500, all being 40-tone, and you can upload additional tones to the phone by purchasing the download kit accessory (includes CD-ROM with upload software and additional ringtones, and data cable).
The T500 comes with the standard T9 predictive text input system, in addition to the traditional tap methods for the letters of the alphabets, numeric digits and special characters. Similar to the T100, the message composition screen provides good text sizing and clarity (black lettering on white background), while the left and right soft keys are used for confirming the message for delivery and the ability to change input modes respectively.
One slight problem with the predictive text input on the T500 is that it does not allow the addition of new words into its dictionary (more on this in the “Problems/issues” section of the review).
Alike most other Samsung mobile phones, the T500 has been put together very well, and possibly one of the best made phones in terms of quality - where you won’t find a single creaking sound or loose item anywhere! From the opening/closing mechanism of the clamshell hinge right down to the rubber that protects the phone’s base connector from the elements, you simply cannot find anything that you can label it “flimsy” or “dodgy”.
The T500 comes standard with two batteries, and you should not need a third one under normal circumstances. Battery performance of the 800mAh batteries was excellent considering that it needs to power two LCD screens plus phone functions. On average use, I was able to obtain approximately 3 hours talk time and 3-4 days standby. These numbers will also heavily depend on how much the colour display and polyphonic tones are used.