Motorola W490 Review: A Practical Mobile Phone Meant for T-Mobile

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The Motorola W490, just like any other practical mobile phone, features simple design combined with some strong range of features. Unlike most of the basic models like Verizon’s Moto W385 or Motorola Krzr K1, the Motorola W490 is rather a solid mobile phone and affordable too. Read the full review to know about its features and details.

Design (4 out of 5)

Motorola W490 Mobile

Designed for T-Mobile, the Motorola W490 sports a slender design measuring 3.89 x 1.89 x 0.68 inches in dimension and weighing 3.7 ounces. Although a bit heavy for a flip phone, it has a sturdy body and feels comfortable in hand too. The W490 model is available in three different colors, purple, black and green.

The phone has a squared external display supporting 65,000 colors, that shows some of the useful information such as the time, signal strength, date, battery life and caller ID. However, the disappointing part of it is that you cannot use it as a viewfinder for taking vanity shots. The left spine of the handset contains a volume rocker and the Moto smart key, while the right spine of W490 sports a voice-dialing button and the mini-USB port. The speaker sits on the rear side of the W490, while the camera lens is placed right above the external display. The toggle further offers single-touch access to 4 user-defined functions. In addition, you can program your own short cut menu with all your favorite functionalities. The keypad buttons are aligned with the phone surface, but with tactile lines between the keys. The keypad buttons and the navigation array are both backlit brightly.

The Motorola W490 features an internal display of the size 1.8 inches, 262,000 colors and 176x220 pixels resolution. The colors are bright enough with sharp graphics. The menu interface is just the usual standard design of Motorola. The brightness and the backlight time can be altered, but the small text size cannot be enlarged further.

The navigation array isn’t anything great, with the same basic layout with metal covered controls. The keys are a bit slippery because of the metal finish, but easy-to-use. Additional buttons include a four-way toggle with a middle OK button, a clear button, two soft keys, End/Power and Talk controls and a Web browser shortcut.

User Interface (4 out of 5)

Closely resembling the W385 model in both function and design, the Motorola W490 boasts an easy to use user interface that really adds to the value of the phone. However, it is not very intuitive.

Features (4 out of 5)

The Motorola W490 features a phone book, giving space to 1000 contacts with room in each of the entries to hold 6 phone numbers, 3 e-mail addresses, a birthday, 2 street addresses, a URL and a nickname. The SIM card can hold an additional 250 names. The callers can be grouped and paired with a photo and any one of 42 polyphonic ringtones. Other basic features include text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, an alarm clock, a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, a world clock and a calendar. Besides all these, USB mass storage, voice commands, e-mail, Bluetooth and instant messaging are also present.

The W490 sports a 1.3-megapixel built-in camera that can take shots in 4 resolutions. Other camera features include an 8x zoom, 4 shutter sounds and a silent mode, exposure metering, 3 quality settings, 5 color tones and 5 lighting modes, along with a night option. The camcorder has the ability to shoot in 3 resolutions with sound. The editing options remain the same as that of the still camera and the clips last for 15 seconds. The photo quality on the other hand is not perfect, with a somewhat blurred image. The phone has an internal memory of 5MB, but doesn’t offer any external memory slot.

The Motorola W490 can be further personalized with a wide range of screensavers, wallpapers and can write your own greeting too. You can download more features from the TZone service of T-Mobile using the WAP 2.0 wireless Web browser. The gaming section is limited to 2 demo versions only, but full versions can be purchased along with other games.

Performance (4 out of 5)

The Motorola W490 came out with decent call quality, but with thin voice quality when tested using the T-Mobile service; the caller’s voice can sound high, but a bit robotic at times. The signal was clear and static-free. There can be some issues from the caller’s end such as problems with hearing in a noisy environment. Speakerphone calls are on the average side and clearly heard when talked close to the phone.

The battery life of W490 offers a talk time of 7.5 hours and a standby time of 14.6 days. The FCC radiation test gave 1.08 watts per kilogram of digital SAR rating.

The Verdict (4 out of 5)

Despite all the minor drawbacks, the Motorola W490 is still a fully functional mobile phone that is cheap too and makes a great choice as a communication device. For just $49 with service, the W490 scores a good rating.




Image Credits: Supplied by Motorola