Posts Tagged ‘Samsubg’

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.