Hands-on: Samsung Highlight for T-Mobile

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Perhaps it’s the die-hard QWERTY keyboard purist in me, but I don’t see how these tiny touchscreen phones are viable options these days. Look at the size of the screen on the Samsung Highlight compared to that of the iPhone and G1. (I am not comparing this device to the iPhone or G1 in any way, shape or form other than the size of the screen.) It’s so freaking tiny. Regardless, we welcome the Highlight to the T-Mobile lineup today.

The 3G device packs a 3-megapixel camera (3x digital zoom, video), stereo Bluetooth, aGPS and a plethora of widgets in a teeny, tiny package with a 1.61- x 2.64-inch capacitive touchscreen. (Sidenote: I’ve been hammering Samsung for years about these wimpy resistive touchscreens that they seem to be in love with. They suck. Just sayin’.)

To be quite honest, the hardware – aside from the touchscreen – is really stunning. Samsung is really getting into funky textures and colors on their devices these days. The Highlight feels “good in the hand”, is relatively thin (slightly thicker than the iPhone) and fits into pant pockets easily. It’s a good-looking device.

Sporting Samsung’s TouchWiz UI, the Highlight offers a handful of live widgets, like weather and Facebook that update automatically on the home screen. Having seen TouchWiz 2.0, I wish the Highlight had that instead of 1.0. But this is an entry-level touchscreen devices aimed at tweens and the masses, so whatever.

As far as Samsung camera phones go, the Highlight isn’t anything special, but I do like the voice notes that can be recorded (up to one minute) and attached to images.

What else can I tell you about this device? Thanks to TeleNav you’ll never get lost! And that’s about it. Due out this month for $150 in “fire” and “ice”.

One more thing: I hate the fact that both the SIM card and microSD card slot are located underneath the battery, Samsung. BOO!

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