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Tuesday August 3, 2010 4:40 pm

ATT Samsung Captivate review


Samsung Captivate review

We’ve been playing with the for a couple of weeks now, so we wanted to bring you our full review of the device that’s the best Android smartphone available on the AT&T network. The AT&T version of the Galaxy S features a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, 5 megapixel camera, 720p video recording, 7.2 Mbps HSPA, 802.11b/g/n, and Bluetooth 3.0. It ships with a highly customized version of Android 2.1 (Eclair.) It’s available now from AT&T for $199. Is it worth it? We let you know our thoughts after the break.


Body
Before we jump into the Android software, let’s focus on the hardware, since that’s really what sets this Android smartphone apart from others. The Captivate comes in at 4.18- x 2.5- x 0.39-inches and weighs 4.5 ounces. It feels great in the hand, light and thin, without feeling cheap. It also has a nice looking contoured design. In our opinion, it looks better than the other Galaxy S models that other carriers are sporting, and it doesn’t have that odd large home button that the Galaxy S over in Europe has. The casing of the phone is made from plastic, but the housing is metal.

Samsung Captivate review


Display
As we mentioned, the Samsung Captivate has a Super AMOLED display, and it is crisp. Colors pop right out of the screen, and it feels like a premium device. Those who have used the Retina Display will know what I am talking about. While the resolution isn’t anywhere near what Apple’s offering with their Retina Display, it doesn’t matter, as the screen is superb. You get 480x800 resolution and 16 million colors. Our only gripe is that the touch sensitivity of the display seems to not be totally on point when using the on-screen keyboard.

Samsung Captivate review


Phone
First and foremost, despite everything else this thing can do, it is a phone. Nothing too special here, it makes calls as expected. Being an Android device, you can easily integrate Google Voice into it, giving yourself added features like Visual Voicemail, which the phone doesn’t include otherwise. The phone doesn’t sound as loud as the iPhone 4, or , but that said, that doesn’t make it bad. Just an observation.


Gallery: Samsung Captivate Galaxy S smartphone


Software
Rather than going into a full Android review, which defeats the purpose at this point since there are so many Android devices on the market, we will focus on the Samsung customizations. The Galaxy S line of phones, which includes the Samsung Captivate, ship with Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 customizations. You get seven customizable home screens and other standard Android niceties, but you also get an iPhone-like dock at the bottom. Also, you get the choice between three keyboards, those being a Samsung keyboard, SWYPE, and the regular Android keyboard. The Samsung keyboard is the default, yet it offers no auto-correction. That’s a misstep in our opinion.

The thing with these customizations is that they can also add some lag to the UI of a device. Not only is the phone running full Android, but it is running TouchWiz on top of it, and those are resources that could have otherwise been available to the OS. If you try to zip through the interface or in and out of apps, you’ll see what I mean. One cool feature that we liked about TouchWiz was the touch gestures that are applied to contacts. When viewing a contact, you can swipe right to call them up, or left to send them a message.

Specs

  • x 2.5” x 0.39”
  • 4.5 ounces
  • 4 inche WVGA 480 x 800 pixels Super AMOLED, displaying 16 million colors
  • Talk time 5 hours 50 minutes, standby 300 hours
  • 7.2 Mbps UTMS/HSPA cellular radio (850/900/1900/21000 MHz)
  • 5.0 megapixel autofocus camera with 4x digital zoom
  • 720p video recording (MPEG4, ACC, ACC+, H.263, H.264)
  • 16 GB ROM
  • 512 MB RAM
  • micro-SD card expandable up to 32 GB
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Wi-Fi (b/g/n)
  • A-GPS
  • Android 2.1
  • 1500 mAh removable battery

Samsung Captivate review


Final Thoughts
What you are looking at in the Samsung Captivate is a highly customized, but highly functional, Android device. You are also looking at the best Android device that AT&T has to offer, and that’s kind of a big deal. It took a while for AT&T to jump on the Android bandwagon, and we think that the Captivate is a worthy handset for the task of taking some attention away from the iPhone 4. This is also Samsung’s first take on a top-of-the-line Android smartphone, and we think they did a great job here, even with some of the TouchQiz complaints we had.

Truly, if you want a device with a fantastic display, great camera (although the lack of flash has us scratching our heads,) and nice UI, this is a device you’ll have to consider if you are an AT&T customer. There’s a lot to like here currently, and in reality, we know that Android 2.2 (Froyo) is just around the corner, and that’ll make this phone even better than it already is. For $199 with two-year contract, you’ll wanna get your hands on the Captivate and play with it before you settle on an iPhone, just to make an informed decision.

You can pick up the Samsung Captivate now from AT&T for $199.

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