I was very surprised that I was one of only 3 people waiting at my local T-Mobile store this morning. Only 2 of us were there for this incredible phone. Lucky for me I worked with half the reps and we cut right to the chase and got me upgraded in 11 minutes. Iâ€™m not sure how other stores stock was, but I found out there were 40 in stock at that location. Without further ado, though let’s go through my thoughts on this device.
To give a quick run down on the features for those of you that may not have been around for the last month, Vibrant comes pretty well loaded:
- 4 inch Super AMOLED touchscreen
- 5 megapixel camera
- 16GB Built-in Memory
- 1GHz Hummingbird processor
- Dimensions 4.8 x 2.5 x 0.4 inches
- 3.5mm Audio Jack
- Avatar movie preloaded
- Sims 3 game preloaded
While these are just the highlights, you can see the full specs at AndroidSPIN’s Vibrant page.
The first I did when I had a chance to sit down was check the ringtones. Silly place to start, right? The ringtones were important to me as I want to know if the sounds are going to be loud enough for my needs. Â If I never hear it ring, then whatâ€™s the point? To my surprise the ringtones practically scream. I even turned on the radio and had my wife call me while it was in my pocket. Piece of cake. Test #1 passed.
My next stop was checking out the controversial Touch Wiz 3.0 UI, which I found to be very responsive and smooth. Although most are claiming it to look like the iPhone, Iâ€™d like to point out that the ADW launcher has had the Galaxy S app drawer for quite sometime. Personally, I kind of like it; it makes seeing your application a little easier. For instance, if Iâ€™m looking for for Kindle app I know its on the second page. Hereâ€™s a little lesser known feature though; while on the application screen you can press Menu > View Type > Customizable Grid > Menu > Edit and then rearrange your icons on your application screen in whatever order you wish. Alternatively, this is also how you can replace the two middle icons on the bottom of your screen. You donâ€™t get to replace the dialer or application button though. Itâ€™s still a very useful option however.
After cruising through the general UI, I moved a little deeper and got into the phone’s settings menus. Most of the settings are similar to all Android 2.1 devices as well as custom ROMs. In the Sound and Display settings, I found â€˜Font Styleâ€™ settings where you can choose from four different font styles as easily as making a selection. The slight downside however is that you must reboot your phone for the changes to take effect. The best part is it changes the font everywhere– in your application, in your text messages and on your browser. After that, I then checked my brightness level to see where I was at while I still within the Sound and Display menu. Yet another surprise awaited me. You can set Vibrant to auto detect the brightness level that is right for you, Â based on your current lighting conditions as determined by the phone’s built in light sensor. The term SmartphoneÂ is being taken to a whole new level here.
My next surprise appeared under Applications, where I found the permission to install non-Market applications to be already checked. That made me smile. The cherry on top of that delicious little surprise was the fact that it already had a file manager application installed as well. Simply called Files, it allows you to manage your files on the phone’s internal (16GB) memory and in your SD card. You can cut, copy, move and share everything in your device. As much as I love ASTRO file manager, it looks like I won’t need to be installing it. It seems like Samsung is really trying to making life a little easier for everyone with these additions.
The camera was my next stop. With specs like 5 megapixels and 720p HD video, it was a must try feature. Â All I can say is WOW! I have never seen so many settings for a camera on a phone. The general Auto Focus and Zoom are built in of course. Samsung took it up a notch or three from there though. They added features like Anti-Shake, Smile Detection and Blink Detection. As for your shot choices, you get 9 scenery options. A few of which stand out; Single, Continuous, Panorama and Action to name a few. There are a lot more options in there and it would take all night to go through them.
On to the TV- out function. Although it is through the 3.5mm jack- to- RCA plugs instead of an HDMI output, I was pleasantly surprised how well my phone looked on a 50â€ LG TV. This is a very easy to use and very amazing feature. I must have sat for a good 30 minutes playing N.O.V.A on my television. To locate that setting go to Menu > Settings > Sound and Display > TV -out, which is at the bottom of the list. Tap the box to turn it on, then plug in your cable. One thing that I was lucky enough to see in a YouTube video a while ago is that the cables are incorrect. Where usually the YELLOW RCA plug is for video, you need to plug the RED RCA plug into you video input or else you will just get a lot of feedback and no image.
My last favorite part of this device has to be the Puzzle Piece. As you can see below, when you miss a call or a text message a Puzzle Piece will be displayed on your lock screen. Just drag the piece to where it fits in the bottom right hand corner and the phone will unlock then take you directly to the text message or the missed call. Â I found this to be a very creative touch to the standard unlock action.
So far after having the phone for 16 hours and getting into it for about 6, I have to say Iâ€™m very pleased with this device. The size and weight are perfect for me. I can use one hand to operate the device, unlike larger- screened phones. The screen resolution is incredibly clean and crisp. The UI is very friendly and very customizable. Moving from applications such as the browser back to home is very smooth and quick as well. Although this phone shares similarities to itsÂ competitorsÂ like the Nexus One and EVO 4G, what really sold me on this device is the screen resolution and processor speed. The fact it can run at nearly 60 frames per second compared to the usual 30 frames per second that exist on the EVOÂ 4G, which we all know by now is a hardware issue with that device. If you have played around with an EVO 4G and thought it was fast, get your hands on the Samsung Vibrant, and you’ll see the difference. The EVO 4G runs like a Playstation competing with a Playstation 3.
I know I still havenâ€™t even scratched the surface of what is inside this device. It is definitely a phone that has brought Android and Smartphones to a whole new level for me. Now lets see some Froyo love and really make this puppy scream.
I do have 3 minor complains about this device.
- Avatar is stored to the SD card and canâ€™t be transferred to a different SD card, because it is protected to that SD card only. If you decide to purchase a larger SD card, be prepared for Avatar to not be available.
- Although I love the TV- out function and was able to cruise though my phone and play games, I was unable to watch Avatar or use MobiTV through the TV output. I was able to watch a HD YouTube video and play all the movies shot with my phone as well as the movies I added. I’m pretty sure it’s because its protected from output sources.
- Signal. Here’s where everyone will freak out, but please don’t. It appears there is a signal issue with the device. Not the iPhones “Death Grip” signal issue though. While holding your Vibrant at the bottom left of the device your service bars will drop. Even though it may appear that you have no service at the top of the screen, my SMS and calls still connect and go through just fine. If you are a little more tech savvy you can also go into Menu > Settings > About Phone > Status Signal Strength , and you will see that when there are no bars the status registers as 0 dBm Â 0 asu. Still, calls, text, and web all work. I personally have yet experienced any actual issues from the alleged “no signal” displayed on the device. It maybe just a software glitch or a screen glitch. I’d rather my phone show no service and still work then show service and not.
To wrap it all up in a neat little bundle for you guys; the phone is fast, light, easy to use and has so many settings Iâ€™m sure Iâ€™ll never discover them all. I look forward to trying though. As I discover more Â I will be sure to get a post up for our readers to check out.
P.S. Here are a few tricks I found on xda-developers
- You can adjust the screen brightness by horizontally swiping the topmost part of the screen which is the status bar at the very top.
- While shooting a video, you can press the power button to lock the screen on so it doesn’t go black. The same rings true for watching a video.
- While on your contacts list, you can swipe across the contact to the left to start a text message or swipe to the right to place a call.
- If you have concerns with battery life, change your wall paper. With AMOLED technology true black doesn’t use power. I searched out black.png on Google and set a straight black wallpaper, Â it has been reported by doing this you gain 1.5% battery life every 15 minutes of use. If that is true you can save 24% battery in 4 hours of use with a black background. This of course doesn’t affect widgets, movies, web browsing, games, movies, or anything else you use. A little gain in battery life isn’t a bad thing, right? Personally, I’m kind of loving how slick it looks with a black screen.