Samsung SCH-A990 Review1
One disappointing aspect of the A990 is the menu system. It uses the Verizon standard red bar menus that were introduced nearly 2 years ago. However, the LG VX8300, which was introduced 2 months ago, as well as the new VX8500 Chocolate, use the new FlashUI menu. We believe that this is a major mistake made by Verizon. A phone of this class, with all the latest hardware, should not be using this out-dated menu system. It is possible that some people may be put off by this and decide not to purchase this phone.
The only option for customizing the menus is to change the theme color. There are 6 color selections to choose from: Default, Business, Tropical, Blue, Green, and Red. This only changes the colors of the menus, not the menus themselves.
Even though the A990 is using the older menu system, it is very easy to use and there is no lag-time. To get to the Main Menu, press the OK button. You then have 5 Menu Directories: Get it Now, Messaging, Contacts, Recent Calls, and Settings & Tools.
Adding a person to your Contacts is a simple task. With each contact you can enter the Name, Mobile 1 number, Home number, Work number, E-Mail 1, Group, Ringtone (Ringer ID), Mobile 2 number, Fax number, E-Mail 2, Notes, and Picture ID. With Ringer ID and Picture ID you can easily assign a specific ringtone and/or picture to each of your contacts. When a person calls, the A990 will play the ringtone assigned to them and display the picture on the external and internal displays. Once contacts are added, you can then assign them to speed dial and groups. A total of 500 contacts can be added with 98 assigned speed dials.
Voice dialing is speaker independent and works by pressing the Voice Command button on the phone's keypad. You can say Call Home, and the phone will call the number that is stored in the contacts list under Home. If you just say Call, the phone will ask you for the number. You then say the digits of the number to dial. The Voice Command calling feature works a majority of the time without any problems. The Digit Dialing is a useful feature when driving and can be used with handsfree earbuds or Bluetooth earpiece. Voice Command has other functions as well. You can use it to send a message, go to a specific menu, and check the phone's status (date, time, battery life, signal strength, missed alerts).
The phone's built-in Calendar is an easy way of keeping track of appointments and important dates & times. Once a Task is added to the Calendar, the phone will alert you with an audible tone and have the information on the screen. Tasks can be added to each date with an alert. If you need to look up a specific date, you can go to the Calendar and navigate to that day, month, and year.
There are three alarms that can be programmed separate from the Calendar. You can choose the date, time, ringtone, and how often (Once, Daily, Mon-Fri, and Weekends).
The A990 has 72MB of usable internal memory. Everything that is downloaded from Verizon, such as ringtones, music, wallpapers, TXT/PIX Messages, and Get it Now applications are all stored in the internal memory. The A990 does come with a MicroSD slot which will allow you to install a MicroSD card for additional memory. MicroSD cards are available from 64MB to 1GB (with 2GB coming soon). We recommend going with a MicroSD card with the largest amount of memory. This is because any pictures that you take with the A990 and all WMA music files that you transfer from your computer will be stored on the MicroSD card.