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Ericsson T28 World Phone (T-Mobile)

Ericsson T28 World Phone (T-Mobile)

List Price: $99.99
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Product Info Reviews

  • MP3-ready worldwide phone
  • Voice-activated calling and answering
  • Weighs only 2.8 ounces with battery
  • Up to 150 minutes of talk time and 70 hours of standby time with standard battery
  • Includes Lithium-polymer battery, headset, and charger


Is it strange that the Ericsson T28 phone is the same color as your passport? Not really, when you consider that this GSM dual-band phone can be used on digital networks in more than 140 countries throughout six continents. International travelers, or anyone who appreciates a genuine value, will be drawn to the T28's tiny size, global compatibility, rich call management features (including voice-activated dialing), and astonishingly low price.

Weighing a mere 2.8 ounces (including battery), the T28 measures 3.8 by 1.9 by 0.6 inches, not counting a stub antenna that extends another 1.2 inches. It's worth noting that the T28 is currently the lightest phone on the market, and it offers unparalleled portability.

Out of the box, we were impressed with the T28's design and flip keypad cover. The uncluttered keypad features Yes and No buttons, which, along with the up and down arrows, allow seamless menu navigation. The CLR button corrects mistakes, while the No button brings you back to the main screen whenever you are done cruising the menus. The flip keypad cover (controlled by a tiny release button on the right side of the case), side volume keys, and backlight and contrast controls add to the T28's efficient design and ease of use. The three-line screen (two lines of text and one line of icons) is rather small, but it's suitable for entering phone-book contacts and sending short text messages. The rocker-bar volume key doubles as a status indicator, which lets you check the profile the phone is set for and how much battery life remains.

The phone book normally holds 99 entries; however, the SIM card can store up to 250 names and numbers in its memory. The 10 group lists--including 3 customized lists--and 15 different ringers help you organize your contacts. If you assign a ringer to a group entry, you'll know right away if someone from work or if one of your friends is calling. You can also save up to 10 different e-mail addresses, a time saver when sending short text messages. The T28 supports two-way SMS messaging (15-message capacity), and it even has a couple of templates if you send out one or more standard messages on a regular basis.

As any good phone should, the T28 supports carrier-dependent services such as caller ID, call waiting, and voice mail. Standard 30-number call logs, both incoming and outgoing, are a useful reference, while the two calling-card memory locations will prove valuable to anyone who makes a lot of long-distance calls. Throw in any-key answering, muting capabilities, customizable tones and alerts, and built-in vibrating call alert, and the T28 measures up to just about any phone out there. Built-in games include Tetris and solitaire. The phone also features an alarm clock, stopwatch, and calculator.

Using the Profiles menu, you can customize phone settings for six different environments, so the phone will ring quietly at work or loudly at the airport. And, if your carrier supports it, Network Select allows you to prioritize and select the systems from which you can obtain service, which is especially handy while roaming at home and abroad. The phone provides good support for carrier-based voice command operation. We had no problems setting up our 10 voice labels or getting the phone to recognize a name while we were in a loud room. We also connected the T28 to a Jabra EarSet (included) and trained the phone for voice answering. This cool feature lets you accept or reject incoming calls with simple "Answer" or "Busy" commands whenever the T28 is connected to a hands-free kit.

The T28 offers customary security settings, including SIM card lock, keypad lock, and lock dial, which limits outgoing calls to your specifications. The security code feature allows you to restrict access to calling-card numbers and other functions, while Erase All wipes out all your saved text messages. You can also restrict access to phone-book entries and erase its memory in one fell swoop. The T28 also supports digital voice encryption, to ensure that only you and the person you're talking to can hear the conversation. This feature is carrier-dependent as well, so check with your service provider to make sure they support it as well.

The T28 doesn't provide a minibrowser because this feature is not currently supported by VoiceStream Wireless. You can use the phone as a wireless modem with your PC or PDA to swap phone-book information, as well as send and receive data faxes, upload and download files, and make Internet calls on the mobile network. Naturally, carrier dependencies apply, but if you marry the right service plan to the T28, you'll be set to use your phone as an extension of your office.

The T28's ultra-slim lithium-polymer battery is rated for up to 150 minutes of digital talk time and 70 hours of digital standby time. In our testing, the phone held a call for an impressive 190 minutes, and ran for 72 hours in standby mode.

With its ultra-compact design, highly customizable call management features, and multiband GSM support, the Ericsson T28 is well suited both for travelers-at-large and homebodies who want the ultimate in portability. Also, after testing its cool MP3 player and FM radio accessories (optional), we wanted them both. If you are looking for a versatile, feature-rich phone that can place and receive calls all over the world, the T28 is a treasure. --Arno Kazarian


  • Global use
  • Voice-activated dialing and answering
  • Incredible portability
  • Tiny form factor


  • Not Web enabled
  • Small screen

How We Tested Battery Talk/Standby Time

When reading our reviews, you should view the test results of mobile-phone battery talk time and standby time as relative information only. Many variables, including carrier signal strength at your location, signal consistency (including incoming and outgoing calls), display and ringer settings, and battery charging methods and history, will affect performance. When handset manufacturers and mobile phone carriers list talk-time and standby-time ratings, they usually include disclaimers about variable performance and often refer to the times they publish as maximum times. Some quote expected battery life ranges, and in this case you're probably safe to assume you'll experience at least the minimum rated range. Note that manufacturers of dual-mode digital and analog handsets publish battery-life rates for both digital and analog modes, because analog mode consumes much more power than digital mode.

Our Tests: We tested digital mode talk and standby times with each phone. Prior to each test, we fully charged the phone's battery according to the manufacturer's directions. To test digital phone talk time, we turned the phone on, established a digital carrier signal, dialed a number in our test lab, and, when the call rang through, took the receiving phone's handset off the hook. When all went well, we didn't do anything else except record the time when the phone died. In a couple of cases, the phones lost the signal and dropped the calls. If we were right there and could redial, we did so immediately and continued running the test. Otherwise, we halted the test, recharged the battery, and started the test over. Assuming consistent carrier signal strength, this test should represent best-case talk time. And it's worth noting that several phones' talk-time performance significantly exceeded the manufacturers' ratings.

To test digital phone standby time, we turned the phone on, established a carrier signal, and left the phone in standby mode. We checked the phone every few hours (for what was often days on end) until the phone finally cut out. Because no outgoing or incoming calls occurred during testing and because the phone was not moved, this method should represent best-case standby time, again assuming consistent carrier signal strength.

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