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Samsung Fascinate review

Post image for Samsung Fascinate review

November 14, 2010

in All Articles,Cellphone reviews

The Samsung Fascinate is another great addition to the Google Android-powered phone lineup. Its notable features are size and performance. This is a smaller, lighter phone that uses the Samsung Galaxy S interface, something that continues to impress me.

The end result of the Fascinate is a great 3G smartphone. While I’m not wild about the recently popular marketing gimmick of naming smartphones after exaggerated adjectives like the “Incredible”, the “Epic”, and (it’s not out yet, but I’m sure it’s coming), the “Amazing Superlative That Will Soon Be Outdated”, the naming convention is just marketing. The rest of the phone holds its own.

At the time of this writing, the Samgung Fascinate has Android 2.1, a 6-axis accelerometer and a 1GHz processor. Other features include a 4-inch super AMOLED display with 800×480 resolution, 5MP camera with an LED flash and video recording. It supports Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n.

That’s all technical speak for saying that the Fascinate is fast and functional, and looks great. Games requiring horsepower for CPU and graphics processing have what they need. High-speed tests with “City Jump” and the double-speed option of “Robo Defense”, or multimedia cranking with streaming video show that the Fascinate suffers no slowdown. It’s fast.

The battery is a 1500mAh unit. It’s not stellar, but it gives a day’s charge, as long as you don’t make too many phone calls or play too many games. After unplugging it at around 9am, I could get an hour or two of calls and games and still have enough charge left for more calls at around midnight. This includes having the Wi-Fi and GPS turned on. Bluetooth, while available, was not tested or used.

Sidenote: Verizon vs. Sprint

A quick digression on brands and features: My current phone is the 4G Samsung Epic, which is almost exactly like Verizon’s Fascinate, except the Epic has a physical slide-out keyboard, it’s a 4G phone, and the provider is Sprint. But Verizon gives you more than Sprint. Between these almost identical phones, features that Verizon includes that Sprint does not include a 3G Mobile Hotspot and a voice recorder. The mobile hotspot is something that every smartphone should have and comes in extremely handy. The voice recorder is something that – at the time of this writing – is oddly hard to find free and well-made on the Android Market. Either way, extra points go to Verizon for giving more out-of-the-box features. [Full disclosure – Verizon also lent me the Fascinate phone I used for this review.]

Conclusion on the Samsung Fascinate

The Fascinate is a great phone. I’d buy it myself if I didn’t already have a related phone – the Samsung Epic. However, the Epic is chunkier and thicker, due to its physical keyboard. I found myself really liking the Fascinate better than the Epic. It’s a powerful phone squeezed into a very comfortable size. And as I get used to virtual keyboards, I’m finding I’m using the physical keyboards less and less. In the past, I’d criticize phones with no physical keyboards. No more: phones like the Fascinate use predictive input to noticeably increase typing speed, and the keyboard itself works well even without practice. Physical keyboards are officially antiquated.

The Fascinate is a solid, well-performing Android-powered smartphone. Get one.

The Fascinate is available from Verizon Wireless. The price is $200 with a new two-year customer agreement.


Samsung Fascinate specs

Key features and specifications:

  • Android 2.1 platform – With support for Google Mobile Services including Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk and Android Market
  • Full HTML Web browsing capabilities
  • Preloaded with Bing Maps and Bing Search
  • 3G Mobile HotSpot capabilities – Allows customers to transform their phone into a wireless modem for up to five compatible Wi-Fi-enabled devices
  • Super AMOLED Screen Technology – Brilliant display makes watching movies, viewing videos and playing games come to life like never before, even in bright light and outdoor environments
  • Advanced touch screen gestures capabilities, including multi-touch pinch to zoom, double tap to zoom and horizontal swiping, which provides easier and quicker access to many applications, including location-based services, Web browsing and digital photos or videos
  • Multiple file formats supported, including DivX support
  • Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application Processor – Produces amazing graphics, faster upload and download times and HD-like multimedia content
  • Six-axis sensor that works with the smartphone’s accelerometer to provide a smooth, fluid gaming experience when the user is tilting the device up or down or panning the phone to the left or right
  • Virtual QWERTY Keyboard Featuring Swype Technology – Input text faster and in a more intuitive way with one continuous finger motion across the screen keyboard
  • Full suite of messaging options – Text, picture, video and voice messaging; corporate and personal e-mail accounts supported
  • 5.0-megapixel camera/camcorder – Auto-focus and LED flash with HD video recording and playback (720p) capabilities to capture photos and videos for playback on your HD television
  • WiFi Connectivity (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Stereo Bluetooth® Technology – Support for headset, hands-free, stereo, phonebook access, object push for vCard and vCalendar
  • Corporate Email – Supports Android Éclair Exchange ActiveSync e-mail to synchronize corporate e-mail, contacts and calendars from office e-mail accounts
  • Music and video players and 3.5-millimeter headphone jack
  • 2GB internal memory expandable to 32GB, 16GB microSD™ included with handset
  • V CAST Music with Rhapsody®, V CAST Video on Demand, V CAST Song ID, Visual Voice Mail, V CAST Tones, VZ Navigator® and Mobile IM , City ID
  • Samsung’s Social Hub – Built around messaging, contacts and calendar sync, which allows users to send and receive information, whether it is e-mail, social network updates or SMS messages
  • Integrated Calendar information from portal calendars, on Exchange, Google Calendar and social networking services (SNS), including Facebook®
  • Integrated Contacts syncs with Exchange, Google, Twitter and Facebook® and displays a user’s contacts in four categories including Information, History (previous calls and messages), Activities (status updates and notifications on social networking sites) and Media (Facebook profile photos and photo gallery)
  • Feeds & Updates – Displays feeds from multiple SNS sites such as Facebook®, MySpace and Twitter, which also allows users to update their status instantly
  • AllShare Application – Enables inter-device connectivity through Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), so users can send multimedia content wirelessly to other DLNA-enabled devices such as TVs and laptops
  • Daily Briefing – Instant access to weather, news, stocks and schedule
  • Write and Go – Quickly jot down an idea and later decide on a format, such as SMS/ MMS, e-mail, calendar or memo, to send or post to popular SNS sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace
  • Weather Clock – Displays current time and weather of the selected city (ability to add and select other cities)

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