The VGA 1000 (a.k.a. the SPH-A620) may not be one of Samsung's slickest phones to date. But with its built-in camera and flash, as well as its internal and external color displays, it's an attractive choice for buyers who want a reliable, feature-rich mobile that also delivers in the battery-life department. While no bargain at $259.99, it's positioned right in the middle of Sprint's camera-phone lineup.
Weighing in at a healthy 4.5 ounces and measuring 3.5 by 1.9 by 1.0 inches, the VGA 1000 can't be considered supercompact, but it is sturdy. While this mobile is clearly not as sleek as other Samsung handsets, it still has some stylish appeal. Like its cousin, the, this flip phone has an external color LCD that shows battery strength, network signal, messages, and photo/caller ID when available. There's also an external multicolored LED that lights up different hues to indicate an incoming call or to alert you to voicemail.
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Big flip: At 4.5 ounces, this is one of the heavier flip phones in Sprint's camera-phone lineup.
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Poor placement: It's easy to cover up the camera lens on the back of the phone when snapping shots.
Flip open the mobile, and you'll find the same large, eight-line, 65,000-color, TFT display found in many of the company's high-end models. One design gripe: The camera lens and accompanying flash have been placed on back of the top half of the phone; you have to be careful not to cover the lens with a finger when snapping a picture. We preferred the barrel-lens design of the.
We had minimal misdials on the ergonomically sound keypad, which is similar to the one found on other Samsung models such as the S105. Above the keypad is a four-way rocker key for maneuvering through the VGA 1000's menus; the button in the center of that key launches the camera and serves as a shutter-release trigger. It's worth noting that you must have the phone flipped open before you can take a picture. On the side of the phone, you'll find volume controls and a second shutter-release button.
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Picture-friendly: This photo was taken using the highest VGA setting.
The VGA 1000 has all the features you'd expect, including caller ID, conference calling, voicemail, text messaging, an alarm, a 300-name internal phone book, a calendar, a calculator, a to-do list, a world clock, and wireless Web access via Sprint's high-speed data network. Since this is a Vision phone, it can download games, ring tones, applications, and screensavers. Like the, this mobile includes VoiceSignal's voice-activated application, which lets you attach a voice command to all your contacts in your phone book. Thus, you can call anybody in your contact list by saying his or her name. We tested this feature extensively and were impressed with its capabilities.
As noted, the phone has a built-in VGA digital camera with flash. You can take pictures in Low, Medium, or High mode using the 4X digital zoom features and save as many images as will fit in the phone's 512K of memory. If you download a lot of games, you won't be able to store as many pictures. You'll also find a self-timer, Fun Frames (which lets you decorate pictures with frames), a multishot feature, and the option of adding 10-second voice notes to images. On top of that, the mobile sports color-tone, white-balance, and brightness controls. You can even upload the pictures to the Sprint PCS Web site and send the URL to a friend on the fly or store them in the mobile's picture wallet. As with most camera phones, you can attach captured images to names in your phone book for picture caller ID.
If you opt to share your photos, be aware that unless you are e-mailing them to another Sprint PCS Vision mobile, the recipient receives only a URL address where the pictures can be viewed. Also keep in mind that capturing and delivering high-quality images is not the goal of this new breed of phone. In fact, the images are mediocre at best and not suitable for printing.
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Good performer: The VGA 1000 has impressive battery life.
We tested the trimode (CDMA 800/1900; AMPS 800) phone using Sprint PCS service in San Francisco and Los Angeles and found audio quality to be quite impressive. We always had clear connections that were also impressively loud for both us and our callers. Our only performance gripe was that irritating beeps occasionally interrupted our calls for no apparent reason.
As for battery life, we managed to surpass the phone's rated talk time of three hours by an hour and met the rated standby time of 8.5 days. We should note that, as is the case with most camera phones, extensive camera use will significantly affect battery life.