Review by Michael Oryl on Tuesday July 30, 2002.
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Color displays are all the rage today, but so far the quality of the color hasn't really been outstanding. Most of the devices released so far have been using some form of a passive-matrix LCD display. This type of display was common in the Laptop Computer world some years ago because it offered relatively inexpensive color when compared to the various flavors of Active-Matrix displays. Passive matrix displays provide color, but it is often washed out and they often suffer from "ghosting" when there is a lot of motion on the display.
The Samsung dual-band GSM SGH-T100 leaves the passive-matrix world behind and sports a very bright and vivid active-matrix display, the very first to be used in a GSM phone. The display on the Samsung can be read easily in all circumstances. Bright sunlight or absolute pitch black, or from any viewing angle. It is by far the best display on a phone I have seen to date. And not only is it bright, clear, and colorful, but it is also quite large at 128x160 pixels. None of this is a surprise when you realize that Samsung is one of the world's premiere LCD display manufacturers.
One of the other recent trends that the SGH-T100 subscribes to is the use of polyphonic ring tones. This means that the sound system has multiple separate voices, each capable of creating a different sound at the same time. This allows the phone to create much better quality musical sounds. They really sound wonderful, and are much better than some other polyphonic mobiles currently on the market (such as the Nokia 3510, which I am currently reviewing).
The T100 has 42 included ringtones, with three more slots for downloaded ringtones, and 2 extra slots for user composed melodies. Some of the ringtones are very good and even make use of the vibration alarm in sync with the music, which is clever. The composer is very easy to use if you know anything about the musical scale since the editor looks just like a piece of sheet music.
Here is a sample WAV file recording of one of the many ringtones. Understand that the quality of this recording is limited by the recording sample rate and the quality of the microphone in my iPAQ:
Another aspect of the T100 that is not to be overlooked is its physical design. It is a clamshell device with a nub external antennae. But unlike most clamshell phones on the market today, the lines and curves of the T100 are all very soft and swoopy. Really a beautiful device, even when it is turned off. And like many of the new clamshell phones coming on the market, it has a very useful external display that shows the date and time and the name and number of inbound calls. It is also pretty large in and of itself at 96x64 pixels. It has a nice blue backlight (as is typical of Samsung phones) that makes it a breeze to see at night. The backlight can be turned on by holding down one of the external volume controls for a second. A really nice package, quite a bit better looking than that of its more technical brother, the SGH-S100.