Posts Tagged ‘Captivate’

Cross-Carrier Samsung Comparison

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Last night I got my hands on the Samsung Galaxy S phone from T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint, known respectively as the Vibrant, Captivate, and Epic 4G. I wanted to see what each one looked like up close and personal, and to see if there were obvious differences between the devices. I went into the testing with a preconceived notion, expecting to find the Epic 4G to be the best of the litter. It turned out I was in for a surprise.

I started with the Epic 4G. The first thing I went for was the QWERTY keyboard. I am a fan of slide-out keyboards, and that is a large part of the reason I expected the Epic 4G to be my favorite Galaxy S phone. The keys are chicklet style, and are set pretty far apart. I found that it was not possible to type with my thumbs without moving my hands to reach the middle keys. It felt like I was trying to type on something the size of a PSP Go. After typing a few search queries and sample text messages it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to get a lot of typing done with the keyboard. I moved on to the touch screen and had a little more luck.

My first impression of the UI was that of a blend between a Symbian and an iPhone. It had the graphics of an iPhone with the layout of a Symbian phone. I was pretty disappointed in the icons. There are 7 home screen options, which I found refreshing after the 3 screens on the Xperia X10. While more screens means more chances to kill a battery, I still like keeping my options open. I was able to navigate through the screens pretty well, but the icons remained an eye-sore throughout my testing.

I next moved on to the Vibrant at T-Mobile. The screen looked the way I expected from the Epic 4G test. I found the typing to be much more conducive to productivity with the touchscreen QWERTY. The phone didn’t feel significantly lighter than the Epic 4G, though it was a bit thinner. Even though the UI was the same, I found I could get around easier on the Vibrant.

The last phone I tried was the Captivate. This was virtually identical to the Vibrant. I also found it much easier to type on this phone. I wouldn’t have thought that a touch-screen QWERTY would consistently outdo a slide-out QWERTY, but Samsung managed to pull it off on the Galaxy S lineup.

The default wallpaper on each of the phones I tried was set to a live wallpaper, a feature which is really fun to look at but can contribute to multiple recharges per day. I checked out some of the pre-loaded apps, and overall the phone looked easy enough to use. With the exception of its main handicap, the 5MP camera, these phones are particularly nice. If you want something that resembles an iPhone UI without actually buying an iPhone, the Galaxy S can be the phone for you.

I really expected the Epic 4G to be my favorite Galaxy S. I think if I had to buy a Samsung, I would probably go with the Captivate, even though it is on AT&T. My second choice would the Vibrant. It looks like the Fascinate will fair about as well as these phones, but we’ll be able to find out soon enough. With the Epic 4G keyboard being way too big, I don’t think I could use it well enough to justify the price. If you have long fingers or large hands you may have better luck.

Have you tried any of the Galaxy S phones? What are your impressions? Let me know in the comments.

AT&T and Motorola – Friends or Foes?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

AT&T logo

While rumors of the new Motorola Flipout for AT&T are floating around, I’ve been thinking about all the different Android devices in play now, specifically of the Motorola variety. When you hear Motorola, you likely think immediately of the Droid. Whether the original Droid, the Droid X, the Droid 2, or the Milestone, this line is arguably the best Motorola has ever produced. Why is it then, that AT&T is getting scraps?

At first glance one might assume that it is AT&T’s love affair with the iPhone that has kept Android phones at bay. This is entirely possible. There have been arguments that AT&T has intentionally offered crippled devices in order to keep sales of the iPhone going strong. At first this seemed plausible. First there was the promise of five Android phones by the first half of 2010. It failed to keep that promise. The Motorola Backflip was launched first, to muted fanfare. Nobody really liked the “unique form factor.”

Next came the Aria, which came as a surprise to a number of AT&T’s employees. The Aria is a great little phone with a major problem – it shatters with little effort. Next announced was the Dell Aero, but it went MIA for a while. The Samsung Captivate was the first sign that AT&T was starting to respect Android. The Xperia X10 further supported this notion. Dell launched the Streak and Aero on its own site, though both phones are only usable on AT&T in the US. This brings us to the Flipout.

The Flipout does what it says. It goes from a square shape to a more rectangular shape when you flip it out. If the Backflip failed to excite fans, I don’t expect much from this phone. This now makes one wonder who’s fault these lackluster Motorola phones are. Is it AT&T’s short-sightedness striking again? Is Motorola intentionally giving the B squad phones to AT&T? We’ve seen the Droid. We know what Motorola can do. The Backflip and Flipout are poor examples of a Motorola phone.

Whatever the reason, AT&T fans are still waiting for a decent Motorola phone. In the mean time they have the Captivate, Xperia X10, and Blackberry Torch to occupy their time. I’m inclined to believe that AT&T is mostly responsible for the missing Droids, but it is purely speculation at this point. I’ve stopped giving AT&T the benefit of the doubt.

Galaxy S Round 2 Too Late?

Friday, August 27th, 2010

The Samsung Galaxy S caused quite a splash when it was first announced. Each major carrier in the US was going to get their own version. The Vibrant arrived on T-Mobile shortly after it was announced. The Captivate came out on AT&T a short while later. We are still waiting for the Epic 4G on Sprint and the Fascinate on Verizon. In the mean time, some other phones have hit the market. Is the Galaxy S still viable?

The Galaxy S is certainly a worthy phone. It is fairly packed with a number of features. It is however unfashionably late on Sprint and Verizon. The Droid X and Droid 2 by Motorola have both launched after the Vibrant and Captivate. Sony Ericsson launched the Xperia X10 on AT&T as well, already outshining the Captivate. While the Epic 4G may be slightly safe, I wonder how well the Fascinate will do. The upcoming announcement about the 7″ Galaxy S tablet is also going to mess with Verizon sales.

What do you think? Are you waiting on the edge of your seat for the Fascinate? How about the Epic 4G? Should Samsung have launched them all a little closer together? Let me know what you think in the comments.