The A490's photo quality is excellent for the money and is actually better than some more expensive models. Of course, it produces the best results below ISO 200--sharp with plenty of fine detail. But even at ISO 800, its noise and noise suppression are well balanced making 4x6 prints possible. When photos are viewed at 100 percent, you will see noise, particularly in darker areas of photos. However, it's nothing that would keep me from recommending this model.
The lens has minor barrel distortion at its widest position, but it doesn't have discernible pincushion distortion when zoomed out. Its center sharpness is very good, though there was some softness in the very corners. The amount of purple fringing in high-contrast areas is average for its class--visible when photos are viewed at full size, but not likely to destroy a photo.
Colors are great from the A490. Blues are a touch lighter than they should be, according to our tests, but others are close to accurate along with being bright and pleasing. Exposure is generally very good, though clipped highlights aren't out of the question.