AT&T F160 - black review:

AT&T F160 - black

As with most phones, the essential tools are all here--an alarm clock, a calendar, a calculator, a stopwatch, a world clock, a currency converter, and a voice recorder. Beyond those, the F160 has 3G support, Bluetooth, and GPS. It also has the aforementioned text messaging, plus a heap of other socializing features for instant messaging, e-mail, and communicating over social networks like Facebook and Twitter, all in dedicated apps preloaded by AT&T. Typing out e-mails and prickly passwords on a numeric dial pad is cumbersome, even with predictive text turned on, but it's nice that AT&T made e-mail an option.

Yellow Pages Mobile and turn-by-turn navigation are also preloaded apps. You can visit the AppCenter application storefront to purchase and download more apps and games.

Web browsing is serviceable with the AT& app. CNET's mobile site and subsequent pages loaded in about 8 seconds, with very choppy graphical rendering. Still, it's fine for checking the news and weather, especially over 3G speeds. That said, it won't replace your desktop browser by a long shot.

As for multimedia, that standard headset jack complements music playback. You can subscribe to AT&T Music for $4.99 per month, but you can use the player and storefront for free. Streaming radio and Music ID are two of the common AT&T music features. For your own music, you have basic controls, including power over playlists.

Indoor photos look dark and grainy if you're lacking plenty of ambient light.

Sadly, photo and video multimedia is more disappointing. The 3-megapixel shooter took indoor photos that were dark, grainy, and devoid of vibrancy and depth. Even after boosting the brightness, pictures were drastically muted. Flood the lens with natural light, though, and the F160's camera did much better. Indoor videos were also dark and grainy, a bit choppy, and hampered by low resolution.

That said, tweaking some of the photo and video options may improve your final picture quality. Photos come in seven resolutions (from 1,536x2,048 down to 480x640), three quality grades, five brightness and contrast settings each, and three color and sound effects. Multimedia messages are capped at 30 seconds, more or less. Quality and brightness settings, and so on are similar to the camera options. The F160 has 150MB internal memory. As we mentioned, it holds up to 8GB of expandable memory.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900) (UMTS/HSDPA (850/1,900/2,100) AT&T F160 in San Francisco using AT&T's service. Call quality was quite good on our side. Voices sounded true to life and clear, though if we concentrated, we could make out some white noise. During some calls, our friends considered us mushy and muffled on their side. Other times, they didn't have any complaints.

AT&T F160 call quality sample Listen now:

Speakerphone volume was a little low on our end and had every bit the echoey, rather robotic hum that's typical of speakerphone. On their line, our callers heard our voice, but had a hard time distinguishing our words.

The F160 has a rated battery life of 3 hours talk time and up to 8 days of standby time. We tested the F160 ourselves and found that it had talk time of 3 hours and 55 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the F160 has a digital SAR of 1.08 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

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