Samsung is taking the world by storm with the release of the Samsung Galaxy S.Â Every network in every country is grasping to get a version of this device released and it’s obvious why.
The Samsung Vibrant may have been reviewed before by other sites but when I received this unit, I was pleasantly surprised by how amazing the Samsung Galaxy S (or T-Mobile Vibrant) really is.Â You read reviews and browsed lots of photos, but until you actually get your hands on the device itself, you don’t realize just how nice it is.
Before I start the review, we’d like to thank WireFly for providing the unit for review.Â If you’d like to get your hands on one of these awesome phones, Â you can head over to the AndroidSPIN/WireFly partner site and get yourself a rip roaring deal.
Samsung has done an amazing job creating what is almost the perfect device.Â There are a few glitches that I’ll get to in the review, but it’s an amazing leap forward from other Samsung devices I’ve tried before.
The box itself was very nicely designed compared to usual T-Mobile packaging.Â Opening the outer shipping box revealed a very nicely designed Samsung Vibrant box, although I was expecting it to be bigger… LOL.
Inside the box you’ll find the phone, an extra back for the phone with a different colored pattern, a USB cable and USB ported power adapter, headset with spare ear gel caps, a Samsung MicroSD adapter and the usual guides and warranty statements. Â There is a flyer showing accessories for the phone, one of them is a multimedia dock! Â Does this mean it will have better connectivity for your HD TV? Â Time will tell. Â I searched the Samsung Mobile site and all I could find was a desktop charger that looks exactly the same as the multimedia dock shown on the flyer, just shot from a different angle.
Now you know the physical aspects of the device and what comes in the box, you may want to know what’s inside the device itself:
- 4 inch Super AMOLEDÂ touchscreen
- 5 megapixel camera
- 16GB Built-in Memory
- 1GHz HummingbirdÂ processor
- Dimensions 4.8 x 2.5 x 0.4 inches
- 3.5mm Audio/Video Jack
- 2GB MicroSD Card
- Android 2.1 with Touchwiz Interface
The first question I had was “How big is the device?” The specifications state the phone being 4.8 x 2.5 x 0.4 inchesÂ and weighing in at 117g. The photo below shows how big the device looks in my hand; it feels big, but no bigger than the Nexus One. One thing IÂ immediately thought was how thin and light the device feels. Â Thin and light may be good for some people, but I still like the more solid, hefty feel of my Nexus One in my hands.
Here are a few photos of the T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant alongside a Google Nexus One. As you can see, it’s only slightly bigger compared to the Google Nexus One. They really are so close in size, it’s hard to actually tell in your hands.
On the top of the device you’ll find a 3.5mm headset/video connector and MicroUSB connector. The MicroUSB connector has a sliding cover to keep your port protected and clean while you’re not using it. Manufacturers seem to vary a lot as far as covers are concerned. Â It’s nice to have a cover, and the slot cover design on the Vibrant is very nice, allowing you to simply slide it to one side. Â Some devices use rubber covers attached to the device by a rubber connector cord and you end up with a rubber cover dangling from your phone. Â It’s also nice in that it gives you the choice to leave it open all the time if you wish and have no loose parts to deal with.Â Samsung scores points for this.
On the left side of the device you’ll find a volume up and down rocker similar to almost every other device available today.
Samsung decided to place the power button on the right side of the phone which has already caused some issues for me. Â The issues are partly that I’m so used to the power button being on the topÂ bezelÂ so I’m constantly reaching to the top to put the device to sleep or wake it up. Â The other issue I’ve found is thatÂ every timeÂ I go to press the power button, I apply pressure on the opposite side too, which is where the volume rocker is located. Not really an issue, but not a good location either.
The bottom edge of the Vibrant has the microphone hole and small slit to allow removal of the rear cover. Â Nothing too exciting here.
The bottom of the front face houses the usual array of touch sensitive buttons (menu, home, back, and search) for quick navigation. Â Apart from these buttons, the front has nothing else except the screen itself. Â No trackball or optical trackpad, which is not something I’m used to. Â The layout of the touch sensitive buttonsÂ is different from other Android devices and I’m constantly pressing the wrong one. Â It would be great to have the button layout standard across all Android devices but everyone has their own idea of how theyÂ shouldÂ be laid out.
The lack of a trackball or trackpad may be an issue for some people. Â It’s mostÂ noticeableÂ when your trying to edit text and you have to touch precisely with your finger to get the cursor in the right location. I prefer being able to correct my location with some form of trackball.
What you don’t see on the front of the device is the biggest mistake from Samsung as far as I’m concerned. Â For some strange reason, they neglected to add a notification LED in any form on the front of the device. Â I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mobile phone without any form of notification somewhere on the device. Â This really is a huge mistake as there is no way to see if you have any messages, missed phone calls, emails or anything else for that matter without turning the device on. Â I’m shocked and this smallÂ mishapÂ has taken what could have been one top notch all time seller for T-Mobile and dropped it down a few pegs. Â I just don’t get it.
There are developers working onÂ possibleÂ solutions or workarounds and some of the ideas could work quiet well. Â Maybe Samsung will take note of what the community does to resolve this issues and implement something similar in a future update. Â There are 2 solutions I’ve read about; one uses the AMOLED screen to display a small Red dot in the upper left corner of the display and actually works pretty well. Â The second option I read about was to use the backlit touch sensitive buttons on the bottom of the screen and make one of them flash every so often. Â Let’s see which one works out best.
Here’s what the touch sensitive buttons look like on the bottom of the device in their off and on states.
Different colored back covers are supplied with the phone, which is a nice touch.Â You can easily swap the back covers between a Blue and Purple effect to suit your own personal taste. Â The back cover is one of the first issues I found while setting up the Vibrant. Â It’s incredibly flimsy and feels like it’s going to break when you’re trying to remove and attach it. It fits nicely in place but it almost feels like you’re going to break off the small tabs that hold it on to the back of the Vibrant. Not a great design, but hopefully you’re not going to be removing it too often.
Here’s where Samsung loses points. You’ll notice the camera is on the back of the device. What you’ll also notice is the lack of an LED flash to go with the camera. Does Samsung have some sort of hatred for LEDs on this phone?Â First they fail to put a notification LED on the front of the device and then no LED flash for the camera.
InÂ Conclusion:Â The T-Mobile Vibrant is very capable phone and the performance was excellent for the operating system itself and the quality of the calls was crystal clear on the phone and to theÂ peopleÂ your talking to. Â UnfortunatelyÂ there are few small issues that prevent this phone being a market leader. Â No notification LED on the front of the device, No flash with the camera and the cheap plastic feel of the phone itself. Â Also disappointing was the provided 2GB MicroSD card. Â For the multimedia power house this phone is, a larger MicroSD card should have been provided. Â The phone itself has 16GB of internal memory, so I guess it’s not that big of a deal, it just seems weird to provide a 2GB card given whats available today. Â I would still recommend this device to any T-Mobile fan but Samsung and T-Mobile could have made some small tweaks and made this device a category winner. Â The screen is the best quality I’ve seen to date and make the whole experience very impressive.
There is also a reported issue with the GPS in the device taking too long to lock onto a signal and then reporting the wrong location, but this should be fixed by the next update from Samsung. Â For now there is a community work around to get you going.
Don’t forget to view the rest of our articles about the Samsung Galaxy S on AndroidSPIN. Â There’s a few good article covering the first 24 hours of use from Stormy and lots of sample photograph features tried and tested.