Mini-Review of the Samsung R225 / N625

The Samsung R225 and N625 are not presently available in Canada, but you can order one online from various retailers, or you can get one from a US provider and then get it unlocked. Based on my relatively limited test of these models, you might want to consider going to the trouble, since they are great GSM phones from the RF and audio standpoint.

Last Updated: 07-Jan-2003


Before reading this review, please read Some Thoughts on Phone Reviewing.

Thanks to Jeff Setton for lending me the R225, and to Glenn Johnson for lending me the N625.


Many people have felt that I am seriously biased toward the Motorola P280, since virtually every GSM phone I review is compared (unfavorably) to that model. This review should dispel any notions that I donít give a phone its due. The R225 and N62 have very competent core functionality, and in many ways they are superior to the P280. Read on for details.

Before you jump to any conclusions though, I should note the R225 is a fairly basic phone, with very little glitz. It doesnít support GPRS or a mini-browser, and many of the fancy features found on certain other phones, such as picture messaging, etc are nowhere to be found on the R225. It does have a few really great "thinking" games, however. If you are going to buy this phone, you are doing so because you want a highly competent performer that will take care of standard phone duties. The N625 is virtually the same phone, but it includes more features.

So sticking solely to the basics, these phones are arguably quite handsome, and they are certainly small and light. And speaking of lights, they have one of the brightest blue backlights Iíve seen in quite some time. It may be too bright for some, but I found the lighting great. It made it very easy to read the handsome screen in the dark, which is more than I can say for other phones (including the P280).

RF Performance and Audio Quality

In terms of RF performance, the R225 and N625 are no slouches. When compared directly to my P280, they actually performed slightly better, though not by a huge margin. In very weak signal conditions, they did a very credible job of holding on to the network, and it was harder to drop the call when signals became exceedingly weak.

On-road performance was also quite impressive, with very little interference from handoffs. However, my testing in this respect was rather limited (on both phones), and so I might not have put the phones through their paces as well as I should. Within the limited testing I did do, the two Samsungs were stellar performers.

Incoming audio quality was very impressive. The phones are clearly louder than the P280, and they provide equal volume to the Motorola P280, even with the volume on the R225/N625 set 2 notches below maximum. At maximum, the Samsungs produce globs of earpiece volume, which should come in handy when talking to faint callers, or when using the phone in a loud environment.

When the R225/N625 and P280 were set to produce the same volumes, the sound quality of the Samsungs was so close to that of the P280 that I couldnít tell them apart. The tonal balance was truly breathtaking. It was equally adept at keeping hiss to a minimum, and overall it was about as good as a phone gets. However, I did not a bit more background hiss on the N625 than I'd noticed on the R225.

Outgoing audio was also quite good. In a quiet environment, these phones sounded markedly better than the P280, but in a noisy environment they lost out by seemingly amplifying the background noise. This was a trait I noticed in the Samsung N105, which sounded rather poor to the callers when used in a moving car.

The R225 I tested came with its own hands free headset, and the quality of that headset was top-notch. It produced audio that was virtually the equal of the phone, in both incoming and outgoing. Oddly, despite having a standard 2.5 mm headset jack, my Plantronics boom-microphone headset didnít work very well with it.

There was at least one fly-in-the-ointment however. When the R225/N625 lost service, it took an enormous amount of time to find it again. By comparison, the P280 (when switched to Continuous network scan) can re-find service within a matter of seconds. This shouldnít be much of a concern if you donít often go to areas where the service fades away completely.

Iím in no rush to replace my P280, but if I were to loose that phone tomorrow, I would give serious consideration to replacing it with the R225 or N625. I donít have any need for extra features, since I tend to use my phones as phones. Subsequently, the lack of glitzy features in the R225 (and to a less extent in the N625) isnít a concern to me. I give high marks to RF performance and audio quality, and in that regard, the R225 and N625 are clear winners.

If I were asked which phone Iíd take if I had the choice between the R225/N625 and P280, Iíd probably have trouble deciding. They are equally great phones with their own strengths and weakness. I guess at the end of the day, Iíd pick the R225 or N625, and thatís high praise indeed.