capsule review

Samsung MM-A900

At a Glance
  • Samsung SPH-A900 Cell Phone (CDMA, Bluetooth, 1.3MP, 50MB)

    PCWorld Rating

    This Razr look-alike can do more than its older rival: It has a decent music player and an expansion card slot.

Samsung MM-A900
Photograph: Chris Manners

A spitting image of the Motorola's black Razr phone, Samsung's MM-A900 bears the same sleek clamshell design and an equally vibrant and roomy internal LCD. And for the most part, the two standard cell phones carry the same impressive features. But the MM-A900 suffers from short talk-time battery life, subpar audio, and dull photos generated from its 1.3-megapixel camera.

The A900 focuses on music--probably influenced by the song downloads that Sprint, its exclusive carrier, offers. It handles audio tracks well. The music control buttons make it easy to play, pause, and skip tracks, and music automatically pauses when a call comes in. The phone supports Sprint's broadband-level EvDO network, so you can swiftly download songs from the carrier's over-the-air music service. Be warned, however, that songs cost a whopping $2.50 each. For that price, you're allowed to store each song on your phone and to transfer it to your PC via the included syncing software and USB cable. Unfortunately, for a phone that aims to be music friendly, the MM-A900 produces lousy audio. Songs I listened to over its built-in speaker and through the included earphones sounded tinny and rough overall.

Call quality was occasionally disappointing, too. Sometimes conversations sounded fine; but other times people had trouble hearing us, and vice versa. On the bright side, the handset offers plenty of volume

The keys felt a bit slippery. The phone does include a speech-to-text feature if you don't like keying in text messages, but we achieved mixed results when using it. Talk-time battery life was subpar: in our lab tests, the battery conked out after just 4 hours, 1 minute.

The embedded 1.3-megapixel camera is easy to access, thanks to a dedicated camera button on the side. The photos It produced looked passable, though they seemed slightly faded and dull. Like many new phones, this one includes some basic image-editing features such as changing the brightness level, applying frames, and changing the resolution.

Overall, the MM-A900 has just a few too many drawbacks to justify its $200 price (as of April 7, 2006, with a two-year contract).

Grace Aquino

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This Razr look-alike can do more than its older rival: It has a decent music player and an expansion card slot.

    Pros

    • Sleek design and roomy LCD

    Cons

    • Poor talk-time battery life
    • Audio quality is subpar
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