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Samsung SCH-a990: Frankenreview roundup of the 3.2-megapixel Phone

Illustration for article titled Samsung SCH-a990: Frankenreview roundup of the 3.2-megapixel Phone


Fellow gadget journalists at CNET, PC World, Infosync, and PC Magazine have all had private time with Samsung and Verizon's smoking hot 3.2-megapixel camphone. But why slog through 15,000 words of trade publication text? We've ripped out the heart and soul of each, and patched them together into a relevant — but undead — Team Gizmodo Frankenreview. As a bonus, we've even reviewed the reviewers! Quick, into the jump-cave!

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Our four headed reviewer says:
-"The SCH-a990 is about the size of a two Motorola Razrs stacked together."
-"Its 3.2-megapixel resolution yields up to 2048-by-1536-pixel images"
-"The 3MP camera works as a business-card scanner too."
-Camcorder mode captures a somewhat impressive "320x240 and 176x144" res.
-"The camera's 1- to 2-second shutter lag was frustrating."
-The phone's screens look good, including "a sizable 1.25-inch, external TFT OLED that shows the time and date, network strength, battery life, and photo caller ID...inside the 2.2-inch screen boasts 262,144 hues and a sharp 240x320-pixel resolution."
-"Music playback through the phone's speakers left much to be desired as songs sounded tinny, but audio quality improved when we plugged in Verizon's [uncomfortable] headset."
-Reception was fair, but the indicator didn't work reliably: "This phone has the most inaccurate reception gauge I've ever seen. One bar! Two bars! Four bars!"
-Fair enough, the "Samsung's noise-cancellation easily silenced a nearby jackhammer."
-"I worry a little about the battery life, though: Four hours..."
-"Using a $30 USB cable purchased from Verizon, I synced WMA and converted MP3 files onto the phone from a Microsoft Windows XP machine running Windows Media Player 10. (The phone doesn't play MP3s natively, only WMA files.)"
-"There's no Web browsing and no e-mail, though there is a WAP browser and text/picture messaging, of course. You can use the phone as a USB modem for your laptop on Verizon's high-speed EV-DO network for $60 per month over the price of your voice plan."

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DISCUSSION

These multimedia phones do so much, the reviews don't even begin to cover the features and usability of the phone. Here's what I want to know.

How good is the browser's support for JavaScript/cookies/CSS/frames? What's the Java support? Does it run Opera Mini browser? If it does, can you save files from the browser to the microSD card (I bet not, that screws the carriers' plans to charge you $$$). Does it run the new Google mobile map application? How much do GPS mapping applications cost? What EXIF info does it tag pictures with? What's the scroll speed when you have 500 pictures on the microSD card? What file format does it use recording videos? Can it record video continuously to microSD? Are all the apps compatible with 2GB microSD cards? Can you transfer your own playlists in standard .m3u format? Can you assign any music file you transfer as a ringtone? (no, says CNet commenter). How much of the music player can you operate with the phone closed? Can you take pictures without a synthetic shutter noise? Is the business card scanner in fact a general-purpose scanner for text in pictures? If so, what happens to the text? Can you reprogram all the hard buttons to go to YOUR choice of applications instead of Verizon's? ...

And about 100 more questions that make a HUGE difference in the usability of such a phone.

Meanwhile PC World says "You can buy and download songs over the air from Verizon's VCast service" (yes, if you're a moron with poor impulse control) and mentions a frustrating 1-2 second shutter lag.