Samsung SGH-T719 Review

We are scrutinizing Samsung SGH-T719 – a business oriented telephone integrating the BlackBerry Connect functionality, the Sure Type keyboard, known from BlackBerry, in a body with a clamshell design (never used in the original BlackBerry phones), and a menu similar to that of other Samsung models. T719 is an opportunity to use a comparatively small-size clamshell device with a lid and a built-in camera, but still able to offer the services and the keyboard of a BlackBerry.

As supplied by T-Mobile USA, the set of T719 consists of:
• Telephone
• Charger
• USB cable for computer connection
• Software CD (Samsung PC Studio)
• Monaural hands-free
• User manuals

Samsung T719 is the first phone to include a BlackBerry connect and a SureType keyboard in a body with clamshell form-factor instead of the classic candy bar block. It allows for retaining a comparatively normal size without having to diminish neither the keyboard nor the screen. When closed 719 is far smaller than most of its BlackBerry kin and is a bit shorter (but thicker) than the small Pearl, whose keyboard and screen are smaller, though.

Size in inches

Size in mm.

Weight in oz.

Weight in grams

Samsung T719

3.8" x 2.0" x 0.7"

96 x 52 x 18



RIM Pearl

4.2" x 2.0" x 0.6"

107 x 50 x 14.5



RIM 7130c

4.5" x 2.2" x 0.7"

115 x 56 x 18



RIM 8700

4.3" x 2.7" x 0.8"

110 x 69 x 19



HTC Tornado

4.2" x 1.8" x 0.7"

107.5 x 46 x 17.5



On the outside, the phone is entirely made of plastic with two shades of grey – light and dark. The coloring is the same inside where the darker background surrounds the lighter (white) buttons and there is an additional mirror frame, encircling the screen. The phone is not particularly attractive as far as its appearance is concerned but at least its structure is comparatively sturdy with only a small play of the lid when closed. Its dimensions make it possible to carry the device in a pocket but definitely it is not a small device and its presence there will be easily felt.

Being a clamshell phone it must be opened in order to be used but, unfortunately, there is no automatic opening mechanism – the one we like in all phones of this type. Opening takes place with the standard ease and the spring helps only after ‘half way up’. It would be better if it could start at an earlier phase, since it is very likely that the lid will come back in case you open it only a little. At closing the lid touches soft cushions in the lower part.

On the outside of the lid there is a small square screen with 96 x 96 pixels resolution. It is monochromatic, which we appreciate because of the fact that it can be seen well in almost every light environment – even the bright sun will not stop you to see the hour or the state of the phone. When it is dark, a short holding of the side buttons will backlight it. Then the color filter can be noticed – a static colored image to background the displayed information. Its contrast can be set using five levels.

The inner screen has a capacity of 65536 colors and 176 x 220 pixel resolution. Its size – 2.3 inches – would not allow it to be placed in a candy-bar telephone with the same dimensions and keyboard. The screen is normally bright and well seen in strong light but, unfortunately, it does not display photos satisfactorily: the dynamic is too low and the colors – non-saturated, looking quite blurred. The margin between separate colors is ‘ragged’ and the low resolution prevents the good picturing of details turning them into artifacts.

When closed the telephone has three buttons. They are all situated on the right side and are raised, which makes them easy to feel and press. Two of them are volume controls and between them there is an OK button capable of muting the microphone during conversation. Holding an outside button for two seconds with a closed lid will start the back-light of the external screen and holding it for another two seconds will turn on the flashlight (LED) so that you can use it as a torch. When the phone is open, the OK button is a shortcut for the camera, while holding makes it work as OK again, and the arrows serve for navigation as well.

The main part of the keyboard is revealed when open: here you can see the enormous navigation and software buttons and the keyboard, which, too, is of a considerable size. Sure Type has been developed by Blackberry as a hybrid of a normal (numeric pad) and a QWERTY one: instead of three columns this keyboard has five and the letters are positioned as in QWERTY. Each button has 2 letters (plus a digit) in the place of 3-4 on the traditional pads. Being 20 (and not 12) their size is smaller than on a normal pad, but still larger than Blackberry Pearls’, and usable. Their relief is quite small and there is hardly any horizontal distance between them. This renders them difficult to demarcate but they are easy to use when looked at, because they need only a light pressing and have a superb response.

Unfortunately this does not refer to the remaining buttons – although they are enormous in size and each of them can be easily found, they are very hard to press, frequently without any response – you often need to repeat twice after pressing once in vain. In order to work better they must be pressed in the middle. Pressing, for instance, the lower end of the right soft button will not call forth any action whatsoever.

A four-direction button, also quite big-sized and with a central OK, is used for navigation. Working with it is trouble-free and thanks to its dimensions the common problem – picking a wrong direction – has been entirely prevented.

The whole keyboard is brightly lit in light blue and looks very stylish; only the buttons’ functions and not the entire buttons are back-lit. This makes them perfectly convenient to read in a light, as well as in an absolutely dark environment.

It is worth noting that T719 is a telephone featuring Blackberry functionality and a built-in camera. It is 1.3 mega pixel one in a revolving module on the top of the device and can be directed either backwards (when the phone is open) or to the inside – to take self-portraits.
There are no service lights, but missed calls and other relevant information is displayed on the external screen.


As a whole the telephone software is a typical Samsung one, the main difference being only the work with e-mails. The menu is identical to that of other models and has the same advantages and disadvantages. Working with the phone is exceptionally fast but the software does not allow for any personalization – even there are no graphic themes and the color schemes are only two. The stand-by screen visualizes the standard system information and can be personalized with only various background photos and colors of the operator logo. The dialing displays can also be altered only thru the size and color of the digits and lack an animated theme.

The main menu of the phone is a 12 icon (4rows by three) grid. The icons are animated and grow bigger when pointed at. The submenus are structured in the form of lists and work like tabs, thus enabling the user to shift left/right from a certain menu into the neighboring one without having to go back to the main. All elements also have a number shortcut.


The phonebook can save up to 1000 contacts – a decent number. One can look up in the list of recorded contacts but unfortunately this feature lacks good implementation – searching is only by first name. Each contact can be filled in with two names, five numbers (mobile, home, office, fax, other), e-mail, memo (text), PIN, picture ID and personal ring tone. The contacts can be grouped and a common tone/picture affixed to them.

The phone has Speaker Independent Voice Commands that allow you to call a contact or do something, controling it with your voice. The system works very well for popular names, but others which are not of English origin will be hard to find.

The Organizer is located in the Applications menu (Fun and Apps in other models): here one can expect to see all the standard items for a Samsung. There are three alarms with an option for repetition and automatic switching on of the phone in case it is off; a simple calculator and a calendar: it can be viewed by month/week/day and it is easy to add an appointment with optional alarm. The remaining instruments are located in the Utilities sub-menu – a world clock displaying a map of the world, unit conversion (with an unsightly, but convenient interface), timer and stopwatch.

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We might note the file manager, also belonging to the organizer: it displays the available files by types – pictures, audio, video, etc.


In the messages menu all messages are saved at one place: incoming, drafts, etc. Via the BlackBerry technology the new e-mails also arrive here and you do not need to check/download them manually. They will be pushed to your phone, just like on an ordinary BlackBerry. It is easy to write a new text or multimedia message and it takes only The BlackBerry Data Plan to work with e-mails.

As other T-Mobile phones, this one is preloaded with Instant Messenger supporting the most popular chats: AIM, ICQ, MSN Messenger and Yahoo!. You can set them up and connect to chat with your friends in a few clicks.


Samsung SGH-T719 is a quad-band GSM phone supporting EDGE data. This enables it to work in the GSM networks of all continents and be completely compatible because it uses all the frequencies of the GSM standard.
It can be connected locally thru a USB cable or Bluetooth. For the latter it supports the1.2 version with the option to use a hands-free device; file transfer is also possible. In the phone set there is a computer connection cable as well as the appropriate software.

So far as the software is the same as the one used for other Samsung phones, we will use the review of the Samsung D900 software:

For synchronizing with a computer, the phone comes with USB cable inthe box and CD containing Samsung PC Studio software. In our opinion,their software handles perfectly with what it should – you can easilymanage the phonebook, organizer and messages, as well as the files onthe phone (images, music, and video) and in addition, “Synchronise”option allows you to synchronize the phone and the computer with justone click. We found the tools for editing of pictures, music, and videofiles handy, as you will not need any other software to get multimediafiles ready for your phone (you can easily crop and adjust images orcut parts of music files to be suitable for ringing tones).


The telephone also has a WAP 2.0 browser for Internet. Unfortunately its resolution is not 320 x 240 pixels, which would be a lot more convenient for reading and viewing Internet pages. Limited by the small resolution, we would suggest you to use the browser only if it is important, not for fun.


The camera interface is the same as in other Samsung phones, or at least very similar. It gives you options for color effects and Fun Frames. Most of the keys also have personalized shortcuts to save your time.

When taking pictures in the open the camera has a mediocre performance: the details are blurred because of the low resolution and colors lack enough saturation, but as a whole the photos are comparatively well exposed and usable. There is quite a lot of ‘noise’ posing a serious problem at low illumination.


T719 does not rely on a music player as a basic function. It has no more than about 10 MB, which cannot be increased because of the lack of a memory slot. That is why it does not in fact need a real music player with extras and play lists. There is software that is capable of playing an MP3 file but it does not make any sense unless it is used as a ring tone.


The phone comes with a few games preloaded: Bobby Carrot, AirShip Racing and Arch Angel.


Like other telephones of the same manufacturer (T519 and T629), the T719 has a very fast response and working with it is instantaneous without any delays whatsoever while moving in the menu. Not being a smartphone, it did not ‘crash’ during our test – unlike Blackberry Pearl for example.
Unfortunately, as opposed to the latter, T719 has a very low performance as a phone, despite boasting to be a ‘Blackberry device’. Its signal reception is very weak and even at a slightly worse coverage area there is the chance that the device may loose the signal and thus be rendered unusable. In our standard test it showed the poorest results so far, scoring only 2 out of 10.

The sound quality during conversation is not up to the level, necessary for a business phone, either. In fact it is not enough for any normal phone. Sound volume is very low and you may not be able to hear your partner even in an environment that is not quite noisy. This feature is enhanced by the fact that its voice is very monotonous and unclear because of the poor sound reproduction. The other side can hear you in a very similar way – unreal sound and low to medium volume level.


Unfortunately we did not turn into admirers of T719 at all. Having used Pearl we hoped for a lot more from this telephone as well but our expectations were not met. Its size is quite big, the plastic body does not have an attractive design, and despite their enormity the software buttons are hard and even unpleasant to touch. The telephone is stable and fast but features limited functions and has a very poor performance with regard to signal reception and sound quality.
Price Today
Price after rebate



  • BlackBerry Connect
  • Huge keyboard size
  • Camera flash can be used as flashlight


  • Big size
  • Very low voice quality
  • Very low signal stenght
  • Small Display Resolution
  • Small Memory

PhoneArena Rating:


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