Written on 4/19/2008 06:42:00 PM by poison_ivy
The Samsung F490 is available exclusively to Vodafone customers. If you’re looking for an iPhone alternative and you think that the Samsung F490 is “it”, read this review to find out if you’re right.
Most people nowadays think that if a phone is a touch screen phone, it’s automatically an “iPhone killer”. Well, this is what I initially thought about the Samsung F490 because it looks like a thinner and taller version of the iPhone.
Some of the specs of the Samsung F490 seem to even surpass that of the iPhone. First, it has a larger 3.2 inch screen though thinner because it supports 16:9 aspect ratio when in landscape mode. And second, this phone is also HSDPA capable unlike the iPhone which is only EDGE capable.
If you own the Samsung Armani, you’ll recognize the interface of the Samsung F490. The F490 dons an improved version of Samsung’s Croix interface. A welcome feature on the Samsung F490 is the haptic feedback, something which is lacking on the iPhone. You’d instantly know when you’ve pressed a button. Another thing that I’ve liked is the customizable wallpapers which you can set to change at different time intervals. I’m usually too lazy to change the wallpapers on the mobile phones so from the time that I’ve bought a cell phone to the time that I sell it on eBay, I don’t change the wallpapers. This feature on the Samsung F490 is something I truly enjoy.
Because of the large 3.2 inch screen of the Samsung F490, you have to expect that watching videos is enjoyable. Well, it is, if you have time to convert your videos. The Samsung F490 can playback WMV/MPEG4/H.263/H.264 video files, however, you need to reencode it at 240 x 432 resolution because that’s the native screen resolution of the device.
Like all other touch screen phones with only a screen input, the Samsung F490 is a natural finger print magnet. This device also requires that you calibrate the touch screen. It would have been easy for me because I’ve been a Windows Mobile User for a couple of years and calibrating is easy, however, when you calibrate the Samsung F490, you need to use a sharp object or stylus which could really be a problem if the only sharp object you can find is a needle.
As an MP3 player, the Samsung F490 is surprisingly disappointing. I’m no audiophile but when I compared the same song track on the iPod Touch and the Samsung F490, the latter is clearly the loser. Bottom line, if you’re not really an audiophile and you’re just looking for a good phone with music playback capabilities, then the Samsung F490 “will do”.
Another disappointment on the Samsung F490 is its inability to playback Divx movies. The LG Viewty, its main competitor can do so, so why can’t Samsung add that as well? Though the Samsung F490 has a 5 megapixel camera, this is mainly for show. It has extensive camera settings such as autofocus, white balance, exposure, etc but picture quality still lacks color saturation.
There’s also no WiFi and the last and most important complaint is that: the interface is just too slow and unresponsive.
The bottom line is: it’s no iPhone killer. Though on paper it may beat the iPhone because of its larger screen, HSDPA capability, and 5 mega pixel camera; user interface sucks. There’s no iPhone killer because unless one of the top three mobile phone manufacturers is able to come up with a killer user interface to match the iPhone’s fluid touch interface, the iPhone will still be the “messiah phone”. So HTC, get back to the drawing board with your TouchFlo technology. It’s not yet too late.