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Samsung SGH-F490 cameraphone

An altogether more run of the mill device

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The first thing that actually struck us when we powered the F490 up was that you don't really get all that much in the way of screen acreage when viewed as a percentage of the phone's frontal area. It may be largely a matter of perception but we couldn't help but think that either the screen should be a little larger, or the phone a little smaller. Or maybe a bit of both.

The obvious comparator on this front is the iPhone, which is exactly the same height as the F490 and while only an extra 5.5mm wider has a screen that is 0.3 of an inch bigger corner to corner. A third of an inch doesn't sound much, but it looks a fair bit in the real world.

Samsung SGH-F490 cameraphone

The F490 is far easier to manage one-handed

iPhone comparisons notwithstanding, the 240 x 432, 3.2in screen is bright, crisp and clear and seems to promise great things for video playback especially as it has a near perfect 16:9 layout.

Alas not. Disappointment number one - according to the spec sheet the F490 will play WMV, MP4, H.263 & H.264 files up to 640 x 480 30f/s. Well, we tried every which way to get it to play WMV files, but all we ever got was "format or bit rate not supported".

Disappointment number two - no matter what resolution we transcoded our videos to, it simply would not play them at full screen. This came as a real kick in the pants as we had expected the full cinematic stretch, but instead ended up with our widescreen movies playing in the piddly central two-thirds of the screen.

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