Pros Clamshell, swivel screen, thin
Cons NO MP3 playback or ringtones
Summary Verizon is using the term "music player" in materials to sell this phone, yet as a music player it is essentially worthless (or, at best, a pain and insult) to most consumers.
This phone will not play MP3s nor will it use MP3 ringtones. Thus you cannot use ringtones you've created (or, sadly, purchased) for another phone. And, most importantly, the music collection you've amassed for your iPod or other music player is unplayable on this phone.
This thing plays only Windows Media files, and (how gracious) there's a conversion utility so you can convert MP3s to WMA. But that is something you don't want to do: It takes already degraded, compressed music and degrades it further with recompression. Not only that, but look at how Verizon and Samsung assume that your time is worthless; you now have to maintain two if not three copies of your music collection: uncompressed originals, MP3s for your iPod or other player, and then WMA for this phone. UNACCEPTABLE.
There is no reason that a phone cannot be every bit as capable a music player as an iPod. There is no technical excuse for the lack of MP3 playback in this phone. Nor should the presence of a mediocre camera distract consumers from this gaffe. A phone makes a far better music player than it does a camera. A phone contains audio circuitry, a simple display, and a headphone jack; pretty much everything you need to fully enjoy music. As a camera, a phone suffers in every way: a compromised set of conrols, poor focusing and exposure options, a lame display, and the necessity to offload each image to enjoy it as fully as possible.
These points are made to head off the apologists who, instead of calling Samsung and Verizon on this offense, will lamely excuse it with, "Well, I'll carry my iPod for music then." Why should you have to? The whole idea is not to carry a bunch of crap around. You're better off carrying a camera.
Other problems reported by users include the inability even to get WMA files working as ringtones.Updated
Not that it isn't nice to have a usable camera on the phone, but that by no means takes precedence over the fact that it IS a phone and needs to function well as such.
So, CNet, where is the rest of this review? Missing here is any discussion of the features we SHOULD be taking for granted on a modern phone: Contacts, calendar, task lists, and syncing these with Outlook or other apps. These are the areas in which phones (notably Motorolas) continue to fail so inexplicably and spectacularly. How well does the syncing software work? Do the contacts have multiple phone numbers (work, home, etc) for each? Do the contacts have ADDRESSES? Does the calendar sync properly? Is there a task list, so you can just pull up your grocery list on your phone if you happen to be cruising past the store and decide to shop?
Much of this review is a dumb recital of physical characteristics that we can see from the pictures. How about telling us if Samsung offers us something better than Motorola's interface ineptitude? Will the side buttons change your ring mode and cause you to miss calls like Motorola's? Will the phone-book display inexplicably show only one number per contact, like Motorola's? Will the syncing software mangle your contacts and calendar and even occasionally destroy the records on your computer, like Motorola's?
Pros Great Camera, sound quality both incoming and outgoing, music player, big screen, loud speaker phone (too much to mention here)
Cons hard to put in and take out micro card, old style (outdated) menu
Summary I went from the LG 8100 to the LG 8300 (loved BOTH phones) and then upgraded to the Samsung SCH- A990. It was only 3 weeks after purchasing the LG 8300 so unlike most giving their review here, I had to pay full price for the Samsung ($519.00) and still feel it is absolutely every penny!
There are certainly little nuances, but I wouldn't downgrade a rating because of them. One is the music player not using MP3 files, but WMA files use much less memory and are BETTER QUALITY...so you can put way more music on the phone. Also the music player is able to sort by genre, albums, playlists, artists, and songs. You can create your own playlists for workouts or whatever. You want to play a particular song? Just enter the first couple letters and VOILA! I found the music essentials kit very easy to use and it doesn't mess with your MP3 files...it only transfers them to WMA when syncing to your phone so the files on your computer are unchanged. I could go on and on about the music player, so I don't know why people knock it, except I guess it really limits the Apple users, and that's really a bummer for those that would like the phone.
CAMERA! I found it really easy to use, didn't even read the instructions. And hey, just don't buy it expecting it to be better than an 8 megapixal phone that you can get at Best Buy! That it isn't. But it is far (FAR) better than the camera on my LG 8300...both in features (ways to tweak your picture before taking it) and in quality. The auto focus is a little slow, but again, I wouldn't knock the rating because of it...it is very easy to get used to. You can't take a picture at full resolution(2048x1536, the 3.2 megapixal setting) and send it as a pix message becuase most likely the camera phone you are sending it to can't handle it, but there is an option in your PIX folder that allows you to reduce the resolution before sending. I really can't think of anything negative at all to say about the camera or video cam...both are outstanding for something you are carrying on your phone...just remember, it's a "camera-phone"...not a full blown digital camera. OH, if you have a bluetooth printer, you don't even have to take the memory card out, you can print photos right from the phone! Also, not many even mention this, but you can take a picture of a business card (it has a built in business card scanner), and it will make a contact for you from the information on the card. Works best on cards with light backgrounds though...nice EXTRA!
I find that the bluetooth is flawless. It has software called "VoiceSignal" and it allows you to access menus and features on the phone with just your voice. (Beats trying to remember which buttons to push). Another feature that I don't see mentioned by other reviewers is that you can say "Send picture to Ralph" and it will automatically pull up the PIX message all ready addressed to Ralph. Most phones do this...BUT...the SCH-A990 has a button that you push that activates "VOICE to TEXT" so you can "speak" your message and it will type it for you! Notice I said send "picture" to Ralph. For some reason, when you go to a "TEXT" message this function doesn't work...but you can act like you are going to send a PIX message and just not include the picture and when you send it they will receive it in their mailbox just like a text message...another really cool but seldom mentioned function.
Someone mentioned that if you use the WORD function for sending TEXT that if it doesn't recognize your word you can't change it. This is incorrect. You just press the "0" key and it will give you alternative options. When you see the one you want, press OK.
You will want to keep a charger handy though, with all the features on this phone, it can gobble up your charge fairly quickly. I would recommend if that bothers you that you purchase the larger battery (and back door) for the phone.
As I mentioned above, call quality is every bit as good as any phone I have ever had...probably way better than most and people on the other end like it too!
For ringtones, you can use a service such as myxertones.com and get them way cheaper! If you purchase the 25+5 free option that give you 30 ringtones for about fifty cents each! You simply upload an MP3 or WAV file from your computer to the site and the convert it for you. Then you can edit (choose the portion of the song you want for your Ringtone) and click "send to my phone". Here's the tricky part...you will get the sound file sent to you as a text message. Just open it and when it starts to play click "save" (if you like it...if you don't go back to the site and change it...they don't charge you again so you can change it as much as you want). Once it is saved you open up "My "Sounds" and you will find there is NO option for setting as a ringtone...but wait! Press "OPTIONS" then "SEND" and then cancel that and pull the menu up again...NOW the option is there for setting as a ringtone. Don't know why it works this way, but at least you can do it and it works!
Well, I could go on and on because there are so many great features (that all work!)...again, I just can't figure why anyone would rate this phone less than an 8. I give it a 9.5 to 10!
Pros Solid attractive design, crystal clear screens, high res camera with many features, good speakers, bluetooth, music playback, memory card slot, flash works as flashlight
Cons Verizon menu limitations: uploaded or recorded music cannot be set as ringtones, bluetooth unable to filetransfer, headphone jack requires multiple adapters
Summary Had verizon not tampered with this phone it would be the best phone in the U.S. by far. It has a compact good looking design, nice feel to the swivel display, spacious buttons, great camera funcionality and good music playback. There's little this phone lacks. It was disapoiting to see that music added from my pc could not be set as a ringtone but with verizon thats expected. Also you have to spend 30 dollars to buy a kit to sync your phone with your pc music. The battery life is decent when you put into consideration the long list of features and the brighter than average screens. All and all this phone is recommended to anyone who is looking for a feature packed phone but is willing to deal with some flaws created by Verizon.
Pros Umm, call quality, when I can get reception and voice recognition is great
Cons Camera speed, screen is vivid
Summary After another carrier screwed me over, I decided to change to verizon, which is great, but this phone isn't. Read below...
The Camera: 3.2 megs is nice. But after you take a pic you have to wait about 8-10 seconds to save it. Plus the 3-5 seconds it actually takes to take the picture. There is no computer cable, so you need to have bluetooth to transfer pics.
The Battery: After contacting customer service for a charge that ws held for about 5 hours. They said drain it then recharge. No my "full charge" lasts about 10 hours...oh yeah, without talking on it.
The Text messaging: You have to go thru about 5 different steps to even be ready to type out words.
The reception (mixed feelings): I am in the Navy so I travel a lot, but when you have EV at 3 bars and TX at 3 bars then you dail someone and EV completely disappears and the TX flickers in and out (yes, I *228 it to get better service in each location) it get's frustrating.
The voice recognition is great and very handy! The phone overall is bulky, though. Plus there is ONLY one leather belt clip that adds more bulkiness to it.
Sorry if I come across as a pesimist (sp?) But I just wanted a phone after having a Treo (which is a whole other story). And I still am not as satisfied as a I was with the Sony Ericsson phones. Anyways...I hoped this helped.
Pros Great pictures, Great editing and enhancements, Good sound and tv out option
Cons Features take away from battery life but to be expected
Summary Great phone for any tech guru. Won't dissapoint at all. Printed pictures straight from card and came out great. Wish the flash was a real flash but still best I've seen yet from any camera phone. Doesn't have zoom on highest resolution setting but does autofocus and automatically adjust for light background. Can turn off any auto settings as well to get right picture. Seems quite durable so far and quite easy to useUpdated
I keep seeing people talk down about the audio features of the phone but I can't see how. Sure Verizon UI is far from perfect but it still doesnt steal away from this phone much. Converting songs to WMA is easy and you can find batch converters everywhere to make it quick. Also by converting to wma, cutting to 30-40 sec. and manually changing file to midi you can make own ringtones. This is not difficult at all. Sure in a perfect world these steps wouldn't be necessary but when is anything perfect. The pictures from the phone are great and I print them often with great results. The music player is loud on external speakers and great on headphones. You have to find the headphone jack appropriate for this phone however. This is new for the US and most phones just use a normal jack. This phone has a multimedia jack for audio, video, and mic so it is different. I found it online for only 7 bucks so not big deal. The phone's durability is great since I have dropped it many times with no problems yet. Best phone in the US handsdown to me. That's why it is so expensive. Like always you get what you pay for.