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.
We were impressed with the A740's camera, although you don't get video-recording functions. The camera takes pictures in 640x480, 320x240, and 160x120 resolution and Fine, Normal, and Economy quality levels. You also get a 4X zoom, a self-timer, brightness and white-balance controls, 10 fun frames, eight color tones, and four shutter sounds, including a silent option. There is a flash, and the tiny light does a remarkable job of brightening images in dark environments. The photo quality is also noteworthy. Once you've snapped your pictures, you can save the images to the phone's memory and send them as a multimedia message with a caption. Another nice touch is the ability to use as many as 10 pictures as a slide-show screensaver. We tried out this function; it was a snap to set up, and we were viewing our favorite shots in seconds.
You can customize your phone with a variety of screensavers, menu styles, greetings, and sounds. The handset comes with Tetris Deluxe, Ms. Pac-Man, and Solitaire demo games. Of course, you can always download more ring tones, images, Java (J2ME) games, and applications from Sprint's Web site.We tested the trimode Sprint PCS PM-A740 (800/1900 CDMA; AMPS 800) in San Francisco, and call quality was mediocre. Callers said they could tell we were on a cell phone and that we came through with a bit of an echo; we had the same complaint on our end. That said, the volume was impressive, and we could hear conversations even in loud environments. Be sure to give it a try first.
Battery life was about average. We met the rated talk time of three hours, but that's a bit short when compared to most other handsets on the market. For standby time, we matched the promised time of eight days on a single charge. According to the FCC, the A740 has a digital SAR rating of 1.05 watts per kilogram.