The Samsung Monte's usefulness to you as a messaging device is going to be largely coloured by your love of (or aversion to) good ol' fashioned T9 texting.

There's no QWERTY keyboard to be found here, like in the Samsung Jet, but a few additions do take the traditional layout slightly closer to smartphone functions.

The star button brings up punctuation, making writing web addresses and the like much easier than just tapping 1 over and over.

Samsung monte

While you can go back and make changes in what you've written by pointing in the message to move the cursor there, you can also bring up a set of arrows and tap your way along. Its usefulness is somewhat limited in practice, but just having the option is welcome.

The touch accuracy of the keypad was generally good, but we still made plenty of mistakes. There's no real attempt at error correction, so with no physical keys to feel, we hit the wrong button quite a few times.

The landscape keyboard is a bit of a cheat, in that it doesn't change the keyboard at all, but merely rearranges where the written text appears to fit the wide layout.

It's also only available in a few situations, like when browsing the web in landscape mode.

Text and MMS are present and correct. Both can be accessed from the messages screen, or there are frequent shortcuts from other applications, like if you want to send a URL to someone from the web browser or a picture from the image viewer.

There's no fancy threaded message viewing here, but there's little to pick fault with, either.

The poor scrolling rears its head again in both text messages and email. There's nowhere to place your finger to scroll that isn't in use as a button, so if you want to scroll down you just have to flick and hope you don't open a message instead.

Samsung monte

Email is a pain to set up, with even the accounts that are normally simplest, like Gmail, taxing your patience to its limits. You'll need to know exactly which IMAP or POP ports to specify, and even then, the labelling of the fields in Samsung's set-up procedure isn't very clear. It's a case of research followed by trial and error.

If you do persevere to get it set up, the email inbox is functional, if unexciting. Initially, just the basic (sender, subject) information about a message is downloaded, and you opt to retrieve the rest of the email (with or without attachments) manually.

Samsung monte

It's actually fairly elegant as a way to minimise unnecessary bandwidth use, but power emailers will find it limiting.

As with contacts, there's no social networking integration, so for that you'll need to head to the appropriate widget or application.

Instant messaging is provided by the Palringo app, allowing chat across AIM, Yahoo Messenger, Facebook and Windows Live Messenger.