Samsung Trace SGH-t519 Review

Samsung Trace SGH-t519

“Samsung is back in the game with the T519. It features a great 1.3MP camera, a sleek design, and great battery life.”
  • Stylish design; excellent GUI; 1.3MP camera; lightweight
  • Mediocre MP3 player; small joystick; delicate; lacks a flash for the camera
MSRP $0.01

Summary

Motorola’s RAZR started the slim cell phone fad and now other manufactures are grabbing hold of this trend. Instead of packing in features, companies are competing against one another to see who can crank out the smallest cell phone possible. Samsung tried before with the T509 (a small, candy bar-style phone that was no- frills and had many flaws). This time, however, Samsung is back in the game with the T519, a.k.a. Trace. The Trace features a great 1.3MP camera, a sleek design, and great battery life. Want to find out how the other features stack up and whether it’s worth the buy, though? Read on to find out.

Features and Design

Most people who have seen the T509 for T-Mobile will look at this phone and say, “That sort of looks like the T509…on steroids.” This phone has serious attitude. A polished metal finish covers the entire phone, and the corners are bent in to make it look like something other than a rectangle with an LCD screen. The keypad has very small, sleek buttons that compliment the rest of the phone nicely. The joystick is a bit hard to get used to at first due to its size, but is fine after a few days of continued use.

People big on shooting pictures with their cell will surely appreciate the T519. The 1.3MP camera looks wonderful on the 220 x 176-pixel, 262k-color LCD display when you’re getting ready to take a shot. No flash is included, however, so you’ll need to have decent lighting when the sun goes down or in dark areas. You can also do video capture for quick concert clips, or whatever floats your boat. Don’t expect to be the next big thing in Hollywood, though, as space runs out quickly, even with the microSD slot provided for additional storage.

Samsung has finally updated the UI on this phone, and plans some future GUI updates soon. The previous interface was nice, but always had a bit of a kid-like feel to it. This new design incorporates new colors, better menu selection, and useful navigation while still keeping the ease of use the old version possessed.

Fans of text messaging and IM will have a ball on the Trace. The keypad is very responsive and Samsung’s dictionary comes with all your favorite words included (for the most part). You can sign online with AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, ICQ, or MSN Messenger and chat with your friends. It works well, looks good, and is easy to use. Samsung did a nice job adding to their IM client this time around.

The Trace also features Bluetooth 2.0, a music player for playing your MP3’s, and EDGE connectivity to ensure your data is transferred as fast as possible over T-Mobile’s network. Did we mention that this phone is LIGHT, by the way? Once you put it in your jeans pocket, you’ll totally forget you even have a cell phone on you. If you’re sick of carrying around bulky devices like the Blackberry 8700 or Sidekick 3 and put weight ahead of features you might get with the aforementioned phones, then the Samsung Trace is a good alternative.

 Samsung T509
Samsung T509

Setup and Use

Pop the SIM card inside, throw in a battery, and you’re game. The date and time will be automatically updated and your phone will be ready to use. Talking on the Samsung Trace feels great and sounds great. Calls come through clear and aren’t full of static. I have yet to experience a dropped call with the Trace, which shows how both Samsung and T-Mobile are improving in their own ways. Three years ago, you wouldn’t have even mentioned T-Mobile when it came to reliable phone calls. Today, they can easily hold their own as a reliable telecom company that has a great selection of phones to choose from.

Those of you who are giddy about the inclusion of a music player should simmer down. It’s the same player found on the T809 and other Samsung phones, using the same interface. Sure, you can throw a few tunes on there and rock out, but it’s by no means a music phone — cool for the occasional song that gets stuck in your head, but nothing more. If you want an all-in-one phone that does music and phone calls right, go check out Sony-Ericsson’s line of Walkman phones or the Samsung A950 for Verizon.

Using the camera on the T519 is easy, allows you to choose from multiple resolutions, and actually has a zoom feature that works. Normally, if you need to zoom on a cell phone camera your picture has a good chance of coming out blurry and fuzzy, but the Trace does a pretty decent job of zooming in and capturing a photo. You can then e-mail your photo to friends, transfer it to your PC via Bluetooth, or send it to your T-Mobile photo album. You’ll have no problem showing your photos off to everyone.

The Trace also features some great applications. Everything you could want in an organizer is available for you to take advantage of. Calendar, alarm clock, calculator — they’re all there, and there’s even a useful voice recorder for taking down notes on the go. A business-minded professional who doesn’t need his Blackberry but needs a solid, sleek phone that is still useful will find the T519 to be the perfect match.

 Samsung Trace
Samsung Trace

Performance

First off, let’s compare the Trace to its predecessor, the T509. The T509 is a slim, candy bar phone that had the old Samsung UI, a terrible camera, and an overall design that wasn’t bad, but wasn’t impressive either. Enter the Trace: a new name, metal finish, enhanced UI, and upgraded camera make this phone what the T509 should have been in the first place. The only similarity between the 2 phones that remains is the exceptional battery life. You won’t have to worry about bringing your charger for a day trip.

Other thin phones like the Motorola SLVR focus more on features like a music player. Both phones can play MP3s, but the SLVR does a better job and has the power of iTunes behind it. Samsung probably should either start doing the MP3 player right or should do away with it entirely. MicroSD can be useful for other things like video and images, you know.

What about the strength of this phone, you ask? It’s strong, but I’m in no mood to drop test it. The phone feels sturdy and looks like it could handle a fall, but still remains very delicate. Therefore, I must recommend keeping the Trace in a pocket or bag when not using it.

Conclusion

Forget the other thin phones on the market right now. If you’re content with a good looking, easy to use phone, then you’ll fall in love easily with the Samsung Trace. The great organizational tools, the improved UI, 1.3MP camera, and slick design make it a solid phone that is great for any occasion. You won’t even be able to feel it in your bag or pocket! Plus, you can pick it up for $99 right now from T-Mobile (after rebates of course), which won’t break the bank at all.

Pros

• Stylish Design
• Excellent New UI
• Lightweight
• 1.3MP Camera

Cons

• MP3 Player Nothing Special
• Small Joystick
• Delicate
• No Flash For Camera

Editors' Recommendations