Can business executives and regular consumers alike be enthusiastic about a phone? Samsung sure hopes so, coming up with a compact phone that packs a mean slate of applications. The Samsung SGH-N105 is all about more for less. More PIM applications (world time, clock, alarm, to do list, calendar, calculator, scheduler). More ring tones (47 in all). More games (11). Less weight (99.2 grams). Less size (104 x 41 x 18 mm). And less price (in the United States it retails for $79.99 with a VoiceStream service versus $149 for the LG 4NE1 through Sprint PCS, for example).
Ease of use: 5/6 stars
The SGH-N105 is easy to use. We had no problems with the sample we looked at, which was provided to us by US carrier VoiceStream (and tested in the Miami area). A major advantage is the one-button access to the wireless web, which should be a standard on all web-enabled phones. The flipcover was easy to open up (unlike some other flipcover phones we've tried).
Design/style: 5/6 stars
The color isn't all that exciting - beige. But the no-nonsense, sturdy design works since the phone is so small. It's smaller than the LG 4NE1, for example, and only slightly longer than the super-small SonyEricsson T66 (although the N105 does include an external antenna, which the T66 doesn't have). A big plus is that the keyboard includes buttons for immediate access to the mobile Internet. Another great advantage is the flipcover, which allows a user to answer or hang up a call when opening or closing (similar to the Nokia 7110, for example).
Vital statistics: 5/6 stars
Network: Dual-band 900/1900 MHz GSM
Weight: 99.2 g (3.5 ounces)
Dimensions: 104 x 41 x 18 mm. (4.1 x 1.6 x 0.7 inches)
Talk time: Up to 250 minutes
Standby time: Up to 120 hours
Mobile Internet access: Openwave browser
One-touch Internet access
Voice-activated dialing, command and memo
Stores up to 100 phone entries and up to 250 SIM card entries
World time, clock, alarm, to do list, calendar, calculator, scheduler
T9 text entry recognition
47 ring tones
Trilingual (English, Spanish and French)
Security (phone lock, PIN, SIM lock)
Mobile Internet browsing: 5/6 stars
The one-touch button brought us right in to VoiceStream's wireless web portal, iStream, which typically provided five lines of text. While the font was relatively large, limiting the actual amount of text per screenpage, it's still easy to read any item - thanks to the navigation button and the menu design, both of which work very well.
Mobile Internet-related features: 5/6 stars
VoiceStream's web portal offers various messaging options, including regular text messaging, e-mail (POP, Outlook) and AOL Instant Messaging. Especially the e-mail options are key to attracting business users. We successfully sent and received text messages to/from another phone using another carrier's service (basic in Europe, but still a novelty in the United States). The game selection was pretty good, with a broad selection of games - ranging from the basic Black Jack to Sniper.
Overall: 5/6 stars
Samsung has produced a winner. The combination of low price with heavy-duty applications and compact size will be difficult to beat. We suspect this will be a popular choice for company IT managers and gift-seekers alike.