The Samsung F490 is really refined and leaves a great impression. While the glossy surface is a sure fingerprint magnet, Samsung have done a great job of making the handset look its high-roller price tag (around EUR 530).
The Samsung F490 measures 115 x 53.5 x 11.8 mm and weighs 102 g. While it's certainly taller than usual, it strikes you as a compact handset - mainly due to the slim profile.
The front panel is dominated by the large 3.2" 262K-color TFT display with the unusual resolution of 240 x 432 pixels (by the way, in landscape mode that's pure 16:9 aspect ratio). Unlike the Samsung F700, with the F490 you can calibrate the display to achieve the best performance. As it turned out, calibrating is best done with a sharp object such as a pen, pencil or stylus.
Above the display are the earpiece and the video call camera. Video calls are possible thanks to the UMTS/HSDPA 3.6 Mbps support. Speaking of connectivity, the other wireless option in Samsung F490 is Bluetooth 2.0.
Below the display there are three touch-sensitive keys. Both the display and the keys react to touch by any object - not just your finger. The three keys below the display are a green and red receiver, and a Home screen key that always takes you to the main menu.
On the right side we see a rather interesting hardware slider key. Sliding it up and holding it for a few seconds turns the handset on or off. Pushing it down locks the touch input so to avoid incidental presses in your pocket. The Samsung F700 had a similar hardware lock key but it had nothing to do with powering the phone up and down.
Beside the hardware slider, there's also a shortcut key that takes you to the Croix shortcuts. Another button starts the camera and serves as a shutter key.
On the left side there's a volume rocker and the universal connectivity port that is of the new type Samsung are lately implementing in their handsets. Older accessories won't do.
On the top of the Samsung F490 there is a 3.5mm jack, much like the Samsung F700. This is a welcome feature for all music fans that have their pair of good music headphones.
On the back of the Samsung F490 you will only notice the 5 megapixel camera module along with a self-portrait mirror and a LED flash (no xenon here).
Removing the back panel is a piece of cake. The SIM bed and the memory card slot are right next to the battery. The microSD memory card slot is fully hot-swappable and, funnily, you can remove the SIM too without taking out the battery. It's a good thing that Samsung F490 is fully operational even without a SIM card inserted - a true rarity in the Samsung mobile phone portfolio.
|"...The Samsung F490 has a really refined design that leaves a great impression. While the glossy surface is a sure fingerprint magnet, Samsung have done a great job at making the handset looks be in tune with its high-roller price tag (around EUR 530)..."|
The Samsung F490 is equipped with a Li-Ion battery with a capacity of 880 mAh. It's quoted at up to 220 hours of standby time and up to 6 hours of talk time. Unfortunately, we can't comment on the real-life battery performance.
The Samsung F490 feels good in hand and frankly, all the controls around the handset body are convenient enough to ensure a pleasant and user-friendly handling.