Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate Cell Phone Review

Samsung has a new line of smart phones call the  Galaxy S mobile phones. These include the Captivate  from AT&T, the Epic 4G from Sprint, the Vibrant from T-Mobile, and the Fascinate from Verizon. These are phones that run the Android Operating System, have fast processors, and fantastic Super-AMOLED screens. They have a good design and sturdy built. All are candy-bar type phones with touch screens.

I took a close look at the Fascinate from Verizon and was blown away by the clarity of the 4″ screen. It was as clear and crisp as the iPhone 4’s Retina display. One big difference, however, is that the iPhone 4’s screen is made of glass while the Fascinate’s is plastic. When dealing with a device that can be easily dropped, I’ll opt for the plastic screen.

The Fascinate has a list of excellent features. The capacitive touch screen is quite responsive and is a joy to use. The battery life is adequate for a day’s normal use. Call quality on the Verizon network was excellent. The Fascinate has WiFi (802.11b/g/n), Stereo Bluetooth 2.1, and an AGPS radio. It can be used as a Wi-Fi hotspot. It takes 720p videos. The camera is especially nice for a cell phone. It has auto focus and an LED back light and you have more control over the settings than I’ve seen in any other cell phone.

I love the Android operating system. Although this is not a deal-breaker, I would have been happier if the Fascinate came with Android 2.2, which is the current version rather than the older 2.1.

So what’s else is not to like? Well, Samsung adds it’s own skin over the Android operating system and I am not a big fan of this interface they call TouchWiz.  It gives you Bing as the default search engine and does not allow you to change that. It has a silly on-screen puzzle-piece that you slide across the screen to unlock it. It also defaults to Verizon navigation instead of Google Navigation, which I like better. I wish that if phone manufacturers were going to add overlays like the TouchWiz, they would allow users to turn them on or off at their discretion, but right now that is not the case.

Bottom Line:

There are many good smart phones to choose from right now. The Fascinate is certainly a quite capable phone. Up against competition like the Droid X, the Droid 2, and the iPhone 4, it can hold its own. All-in-all, with the smart phone arena becoming more and more crowded, it becomes necessary to decide what is important to you and to make a purchasing decision based on that criteria. If you are looking for a cell phone with a great screen and a great camera, and you are using Verizon, this may be the phone for you.

The Good:

  • Excellent screen
  • Good sturdy design
  • Good camera and video capability
  • Speedy
  • Wonderful camera features
  • Adequate battery life
  • Wi-Fi hotspot mode

The Bad:

  • Ships with Android 2.1 instead of 2.2
  • Poorly placed USB port
  • Voice commands through Bluetooth not available
  • Music player lacks sync’ing and playlists
  • Lighted keys turn off too quickly
  • Default search engine is Bing, not Google, and we couldn’t find a way to change that
  • Defaults to Verizon Navigator instead of Google Navigation in all areas

To read my more detailed review with pictures, check out Hardware Secrets.

3 Comments

Dave Gerber 29-10-2010, 08:50

Hi Sandy .. How have ya been?
I have an Incredible (great except for battery life) and was at the Verizon store yesterday. Three reps told me to steer away from the Facinate since they were experiencing high levels of returns. I didn’t get into the “why” since that was enough for me to pass on it. Have you heard anything like that?
Regards,
Dave

Sandy Berger 04-11-2010, 14:12

Haven’t heard that, but I’ll be sure to check it out.

Adelaide Computer Support 28-12-2010, 21:27

I’ve had one for a few months now and am very pleased.

One more thing to add to your bad list though is the lack of notification LED’s for missed call’s SMS’s etc. The work around is to use a program called noLED.

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