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Nov 23

Samsung Fascinate Review

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the Samsung Fascinate and had a few weeks to play around with this beautiful phone. Does the phone live up to the hype, or does it falter? Check out my thoughts below.

Hardware:

The first thing I noticed about the phone was how stunning it was visually. Make no mistake about it, this phone has a beautiful form factor. It’s large and sleek with chrome trim around its borders. I like the touch buttons rather than physical buttons which i feel are a follow-through with the slick design. The phone is quite light in the hand. I definitely expected the phone to be a bit heavier, but was pleasantly surprised with its heaviness – or lack thereof. It weighs around 4.5 ounces compared to the iPhone’s 4.8 ounces.  I had to take a double-take at the specs because the Fascinate seems to be a lot lighter than the iPhone. Seriously, a few times I felt like the Fascinate would fly out of my hand if I made too many sudden movements! I think the weight might have been spread out over the wider surface area of the Fascinate. The micro USB port and 3.5 mm headphone jack are located at the top of the phone, while the power button/lock button is located on the right side of the phone. The volume rocker is on the left side. Sadly, no dedicated camera button in site. The display is a 4.0 inch WVGA capacitive touch screen display. It has a 5.0 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom. It also has a 1Ghz processor which makes things nice and speedy.

Software:

It’s running android 2.1 which is not the latest iteration of android,which would be android 2.2, but I suspect an ota update isn’t too far away. Its a lot more mature than android 1.6 of course with a slew of new functions, but with Google’s break-neck pace of providing updates, 2.1 is definitely getting old fast if only in name. Also, Samsung has obviously added their flavoring to the OS which also slows down the updates because it takes time to re-skin once they come out.

Likes:

I love the form factor. Its slim so it doesn’t quite put the bulge in your pocket that other 4.0 inch and larger phones would have. Its also so light which for some people may be a problem, but for me I find to be a plus. I also like the text to speech functionality, even though, I think it still has some improvements that could be made. Its still not as accurate as I would like, but i still love it. I also love the interactive backgrounds. You can also download a bunch from the application store. Also, the processor speed really makes you feel like your using a quality product. You rarely have to wait for anything. Swype movement is always smooth and snappy. I also like the Buddies Now Widget from Samsung. It’s a quick way to flick through your most used buddies, and it takes their images from your Google contacts. I also love the 3G Mobile Hotspot app, but that’s because Verizon supports that. Many carriers would cut that functionality out  all together, but I’m glad its here on the Fascinate. Call Quality is quite good as well with both myself and the caller on the other end surprised at the call clarity. Lastly, the lock-screen has lots of great information like time and date. You have to drag a puzzle piece to the open spot in order to unlock the phone, but what’s clever is that if you have when you have a missed call or new email, that new piece of information gets its own puzzle section. You can then drag that puzzle section to the open spot and go directly to the intended application.

Dislikes:

Earlier I was talking about how light the phone was, part of the reason may be because of the plastic back cover. I didn’t like the feel of the back cover as I would rather the back cover be metal. It’s definitely a small thing, and quite subjective, however, the plastic feel takes away from the mature feel of the phone. I also didn’t like the lack of a physical camera button. The camera controls are pretty extensive and the shutter speed is decent for a phone so a two stage button I feel is in order.

When it comes to contacts – Android automatically syncs with your contacts and if your like me, you may have a ton of contacts that you don’t necessarily use. So your contact list will be huge – so you will have to do a lot of fine tuning to do. That’s where the buddies now app comes in, but it can still be annoying to have so many contacts in your contact list.

Wrap up:

Overall, I loved the phone. It has such a visually stunning presence which can totally be a conversation piece in a social atmosphere. Its light in the hand, and the 1Ghz processor is not for show. Camera, is OK but nothing to write home about. Call quality is great and a great sign of a well put together phone. Android 2.1 is great, but 2.2 it is not. Definitely not a deal-breaker, but if I bought the phone, I would definitely be looking out for the updates. All-in-all , totally worth it for looks and functionality in my opinion. It’s shortcomings are easily overshadowed by the areas it excels in. Do you have the phone? Let us know your thoughts below!

check www.samsung.com for more info and gadgets