Samsung F490 review: Fingertip away

GSMArena team, 27 February 2008.
Pages: 12345

The Samsung F490 follows a trend that we welcome - touch-based user interface and a 5 megapixel autofocus camera. Add a widescreen 3.2" TFT display and a slim profile, and it already sounds like a juicy deal. We've already reviewed the Samsung Armani phone - that was based on the same Touch UI. However the Samsung F490 seems like the most mature Touch product of them all avoiding most of the mishaps of the previous products. So, buckle up as we test drive this baby in the GSMArena fast lane.

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Official photos of Samsung F490

Samsung F490 resembles Samsung F700 but it lacks the hardware QWERTY keypad of its sibling. Just by looking at it, our guess is it's obviously aiming to put pressure on the LG Viewty, that is already available and gathering momentum. We'll see about that later on with an impromptu feature comparison.

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A quick size comparison with the LG KU990 Viewty

Key features:

  • Stylish looks and high-quality build
  • Slim 11.8mm profile
  • Tri-band GSM and HSDPA network support with video calls
  • Large 3.3-inch touchscreen TFT display with 240 x 432 pixel resolution (16:9 screen ratio)
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera
  • Vibrating haptic response
  • microSD memory card slot
  • Stereo Bluetooth
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • Office documents viewer
  • Snappy user interface
  • Intuitive music player

Main disadvantages:

  • Awkward and slow web browser scrolling and panning
  • Video recording maxes out at QVGA@15fps
  • Unable to play widescreen user-encoded WMV and H.263 videos
  • Slow image zooming in the gallery
  • The three fullscreen Java games are trial versions only

Just for the record, we won't be putting the "iPhone-killer" load on Samsung F490's shoulders. Never mind such a comparison seems to force itself into being every time a new full touchscreen handset gets released. The secret behind the iPhone success is not the "touchability" itself, but the fluid, almost physical reaction of the user interface to your fingers. That, along with the exceptional web browsing capabilities that no other portable device on the market is yet able to rival, makes it unique.

Still, while the iPhone has revolutionary user interface and web browsing, it's crippled in a "What were they thinking?" way in quite a number of other essentials. So just to sum up, the iPhone is a class in its own and it can't be challenged by any of the touch-enabled devices that we currently know of.

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A comparison shot gives you an idea of the exceptional iPhone display too

Anyway, while not exactly an "iPhone-killer", the Samsung F490 is a fascinating device, too. The glossy surface, the rounded edges, and the 11.8mm thin body - it's all there and it's all so inviting. Probably a future fashion-icon, the Samsung F490 looks like the crown piece of the Samsung lineup. We are yet to see about that, so catch up after this short jump.

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Samsung F490 is a wonderful device

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