Samsung Mythic SGH-A897 (AT&T) review:

Samsung Mythic SGH-A897 (AT&T)

The 3.2-megapixel camera can take pictures in six resolutions, from 2,048x1,536 pixels to a picture ID size of 640x360 pixels. Other settings include three quality settings, five white balance presets, five color effects, three exposure meters, a self-timer, flash, auto focus and macro focus, and three shutter sounds plus a silent option. You also get six scene presets (None, Portrait, Landscape, Sports, Sunset, and Text) plus six shooting modes (Single, Continuous, Panorama, Smile shot, Mosaic, and Frame). We were pleased with the photo quality for the most part. Images look sharp and rich with color.

The Samsung Mythic takes good photos.

The phone also has a camcorder that can record videos in two resolutions (320x240 and 176x144) with or without sound. Settings are similar to those on the still camera, though it doesn't have the scene presets and shooting modes. You can either shoot the video in normal mode that doesn't have a time limit, or in MMS mode, which limits the video to 1 minute. The Mythic also supports AT&T Video Share service that lets you stream one-way live video to a Video-Share compatible phone.

Aside from Video Share, the Mythic also has access to AT&T Mobile Video, AT&T's streaming video service that is separate from Mobile TV, and AT&T Mobile Music. The latter lets you purchase and download songs over-the-air from Napster and eMusic. From there, you can play the songs in the music player, which has album art, playlists, and shuffle and repeat modes. You also can load your own songs via a microSD card. Also included in the Mobile Music package is support for XM Mobile, music videos, and a community section that connects you to more music fans.

Like the Pantech Reveal and the Samsung Flight, the Mythic has AT&T's new full HTML browser that is based on Opera Mobile. There are three welcome screens, and two of them are just for local and popular Web links. You get a visual tile array of Internet bookmarks, which you can customize by logging on to your AT&T account on your PC and sending shortcuts via the "Send to Mobile" feature. You can toggle between mobile and desktop versions of Web pages. You can zoom in and out of Web pages, but there are only two zoom settings--either you pull back to see the whole page, or you zoom in close enough to read the text.

The Mythic comes with a few apps, like My-Cast Weather, Yellow Pages Mobile, WikiMobile, JuiceCaster, MobiVJ, MusicID 2, Where, and Mobile Banking. If you like games, you might enjoy the Bejeweled, World Poker Tour Hold 'Em 2, Tumbling Dice, Block Breaker Deluxe, and I-play Bowling. You can download more apps, games, graphics, and ringtones via the AT&T mobile app store.

We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1,800/1,900) world phone in San Francisco using AT&T. Its call quality was quite good overall. On our end, we heard our callers' just fine with little distortion. We did hear a bit of static at times, but it wasn't a deal breaker. However, its voice quality was a little on the harsh side.

Callers reported similar quality. They said they had no problems hearing us and had plenty of volume. They also said our voice quality was a little on the harsh side, but it wasn't too bad. Automated call systems responded well to our voice. Calls via its speakerphone were decent as well. Callers said they heard a lot more echo, but that's not unexpected.

Music quality was decent as long as you didn't rely on the speakers for the audio experience. The mono speakers emitted tinny and flat sound. We would certainly recommend a headset, especially since the Mythic has both a 3.5mm jack and stereo Bluetooth.

We were very pleased with the 3G performance on the Mythic. We blazed through the full CNET front page in less than 20 seconds, and downloaded a 2.09MB song in about 30 seconds. We had a few seconds buffering time for streaming videos. Video quality was quite pixelated however.

Like we mentioned, AT&T Mobile TV doesn't go through the 3G airwaves, so the response time felt much snappier. We were able to change channels quickly with no loading times at all. Its picture quality was much sharper than the streaming video, though it's certainly not HD-quality. Colors looked a little dull at times.

The Mythic has a rated battery life of 3 hours talk time and 10.5 days standby time. It has a tested talk time of 3 hours and 13 minutes. According to FCC radiation tests, the Mythic has digital SAR of 0.67 watts per kilogram.

What you'll pay

    Visit manufacturer site for details.

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