Review of Samsung Highlight for T-Mobile

It’s easy to determine that Samsung has had a large amount of success with Touchwiz, its own brand of touchscreen OS, and that is precisely why it keeps cranking out several new handsets that come included with Touchwiz.

The Samsung Highlight T749 is one such phone. On T-Mobile and sporting the same Touchwiz UI as its older brethren Behold and Memoir, the Highlight doesn’t have much new stuff to bring to the table. But what it does bring to that table is rather solid.

For the Behold and Memoir the major focus was the camera. Samsung seemed to be in a competition with rivals LG and Sony Ericsson to see who could cram the most megapixels into a phone first. But the Highlight is a little more modest in its 3 MP camera as the focus appears to be on the phone as a whole, rather than on one specific feature.

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Design of the Samsung Highlight

Samsung is on a roll with touchscreen phones, so it’s only natural that a lot of care and emphasis was put into the screen on the Highlight. I enjoy the 3″ LCD touchscreen that comes on the Highlight with a flavor of 240 x 400 pixels. The screen is bright and text is easy to read; colors are well-defined.

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The sensitivity of the touch screen by default is perfect for me. My experience was good, as the screen itself offered enough flex when being pushed that I don’t feel like my fingers are being jammed into the screen every time I type on it.

As with most touchscreen phones, the presence of physical buttons is kept to a bare minimum. After all, what’s the point of a touchscreen if there are enough physical buttons to do the same job? Just under the screen we find the usual send and end call keys, as well as a go-back/clear key.

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On the right side there is the unlock button on the top, charger port in the middle and camera button at the bottom end.

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The only thing that clutters up the left side of the Highlight is the volume adjust button.

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Under the battery you can see the SIM card and MicroSD slots; I still find it curious that so many phones continue to put the MicroSD under the battery itself. For me it’s okay to include it under the back cover as long as it’s still accessible without being forced to turn the phone on and off.

Speaking of back cover, the Highlight’s has a unique look with its blue criss-cross pattern, but it adds rather than detracts from the overall look and style of the phone.

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Dimensions are incredibly similar to other Touchwiz phones; just as thin and as wide as the Memoir and Behold.

Features of the Samsung Highlight

Without going into large detail that would be identical to that of the Behold and Memoir, there were a few things that caught my eye on the Highlight that are worth mentioning.

One is the handwriting option when creating a new message. I always find this option intriguing when included, especially on a touch phone that does not utilize a stylus. I just don’t think it recognizes my handwriting very well, and half the time the screen doesn’t get the entire character I’m trying to write. After some time and practice I got better at it, but I just don’t see the point because typing on the full keyboard is still much faster for me.

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GPS is present on the Highlight, and Telenav Navigator does come pre-installed on the phone when you purchase it. It still requires a monthly subscription to use, but it can come in quite handy for business and road trips.

The camera is 3 MP, which is becoming just nearly standard among midlevel phones. The interface on the camera is the same as the other Touchwiz phones, and offers the option to switch to camcorder as well. While there are five resolutions to choose from on the still camera that range from 400 x 240 to 2048 x 153, the max resolution for video is 320 x 240; not exactly the sharpest resolution for taking videos.

Certainly it’s easy to incorporate media into the Highlight with the ability to use MicroSD cards with up to 16 GB capacity. The same media player is used here as on the other phones so there is nothing different to report.

Games preloaded on the Highlight are limited — only Brain Challenge 2 and Midnight Pool 2, and even those are just the demo versions. Getting the full version will require purchasing the game.

While not a smartphone, you still get to see most websites in all their HTML glory. Because of the way the browser is set up, however, you still need to scroll left to right to see the full site.

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Performance of the Samsung Highlight

The most irksome part of using the Highlight was the processor. I noticed delays when attempting to scroll through simple menus; while these delays were only a second each, this added extra time when looking through multiple screens. The transitions into apps were also a bit slower than I was expecting.

Battery life was above average for a touchscreen, as it was rated at an impressive 6.5 hours of talk and 432 hours of standby time. Moderate use of the phone went on for 3 days without needing a recharge; most standard phones are out within 1.5 days.

Call quality was excellent on the Highlight and I had no other problems with any of the device’s performance on any level.

Overall, the Samsung Highlight was an enjoyable experience. Good battery life and call quality, the Touchwiz UI is quite familiar to anyone with an Eternity or Behold, and doesn’t sway too far from the quality of its brethren. The design had its pros and cons but overall I was satisfied.

However, is that enough to justify getting the lukewarm Highlight over the Behold, especially if they are similar in price? I doubt it. It’s been seen and done before, so there’s nothing new being brought to the table in this particular Touchwiz incarnation.

Final thought? It’s worth buying if the price is right. When first released on T-Mobile it was being sold for $149, which was actually more than the 5 MP Behold. It just logically doesn’t make sense; thus when the price begins going down it will be worth keeping an eye on.

Check out the picture gallery below.

Author: Brad Molen

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