With all the talk about megapixel camera phones, it's easy to forget that some users might not need all of that photographic power. Fortunately, there are phones such as the Sprint PCS PM-A740 (Samsung SPH-A740), which offers a basic feature set and a quality VGA camera with plenty of customization options. The handset even gives you the ability to create slide shows with your photos and use them as screensavers. While it's a fun and functional mobile with cool blue coloring, it is still a cell phone, and unfortunately its audio quality is not up to par. Also, business users might want to take a pass and look for a mobile with more capabilities such as a speakerphone or Bluetooth. At $230, the price is a bit high, but you should be able to find it for less with service. Samsung has a reputation for making sleek and stylish flip phones, and the Sprint PM-A740 is no exception. The handset sheds the traditional all-silver casing, though, in favor of an eye-catching midnight-blue cover with a ridge-textured design, giving it a more casual look. Identical to the in size (3.3 by 1.8 by 1 inches; 3.4 ounces), the mobile is compact and fits easily into a pocket, although the stubby antenna adds some unwanted bulk. Still, it is solidly constructed and comfortable to hold.
As with the latest crop of Samsung phones, the A740 boasts a spacious, 1-inch-diagonal external screen that shines bright with 65,000 colors. It displays the time, the date, signal strength, battery life, and picture caller ID (where available). While the backlighting goes completely dark, you can use the display as a viewfinder for self-portraits. The camera lens and flash sit just above the screen.
A peep inside the phone reveals a 1.75-inch-diagonal, 65,000-color display. The screen appeared a bit washed out, but adjusting the LCD contrast helped a little. As with most mobiles, the screen was difficult to see in direct sunlight. The easy-to-use menu is standard Samsung fare, which you can navigate via the four-way toggle. You can also assign each directional key to launch your Contacts, Voice Memo, Scheduler, or Messaging applications. We found the navigation toggle a little cramped, though, and frequently pressed the surrounding keys instead of the intended button. There is an OK button in the center of the keypad, which we always appreciate. The aforementioned buttons that border the toggle include two soft keys, Talk and End buttons, and a Back key to reverse out of menus.
On the left spine, there is a headset jack as well as a volume rocker that you can also use to move through the various menu options. A sole dedicated camera button sits on the right side. We had better luck with the numerical keypad, as the buttons were well spaced and brightly backlit. They are, however, set flush with the surface, so it was a bit difficult to dial by feel.The Sprint PM-A740 has a respectable feature set for casual chatterers and shutterbugs, but mobile professionals may desire a more business-friendly phone. The handset has a 299-name phone book with room in each entry for six numbers, e-mail and Web addresses, and birthday info. You can distinguish your contacts by assigning them to a caller group or pairing them with a picture or any of 29 ring tones, 10 of which are polyphonic (32-chord). Other goodies include a healthy helping of organizer functions, such as a calendar, world and alarm clocks, a task list, a memo pad, and a calculator. For messaging fanatics, you have text and multimedia messaging, instant messaging, and e-mail. And while there is voice dialing, three-way calling, a voice recorder, and a WAP 2.0 Web browser, the lack of a speakerphone, Bluetooth, or at the very least an infrared port might have business users looking elsewhere.