Samsung Captivate Review

AT&T just released their newest Android phone, the Samsung Captivate. This device is undoubtably Big Blue’s biggest and baddest Android phone. The Captivate sports some amazing specs for a phone: 4in Super AMOLED screen, 1Ghz Hummingbird cpu, 512MB of RAM, Bluetooth 3.0, 720p video recording and 16GB of internal memory. Compared to other newly released phones such as the Droid X and Evo 4G the Captivate is a contender as one of the better phones running Google’s OS.

Coming from the HTC Aria the Captivate is much larger. Its almost impossible to discretely hold the cell phone in your hand or placing it on a table at meeing. It’s a head turner. As big as it is, it’s not uncomfortable to hold. The phone is thin and not too heavy and it fits in pant pockets easily. As for the screen, I think it’s a great size for internet browsing and texting in landscape mode. Small screens such as the HTC Aria makes it difficult to comfortably type unless your in landscape mode. The same goes with other phones such as the iPhone. When I had one I wish it was a tad bit bigger.

The Super AMOLED is amazing. Comparing the Captivate to iPhone 4 at an AT&T store I almost couldn’t tell the difference in quality. But the iPhone does edge the Captivate in overall quality as the iPhone has higher pixel density and the colors are a little more brighter. The Captivate has a slightly bluish tint to it, but it’s hardly noticable. To the average user they will not notice any difference at all, in fact some may say the Super AMOLED looks better than the iPhone since the Captivate contrast ratio is 50,000:1 where as the iPhone 4 is only 800:1 which aids viewablity in outdoor environments.

I was hoping Samsung and AT&T delivered the phone with the latest Android version, Froyo 2.2, but instead it comes with Eclair 2.1. There are rumors about updates being released in August or September, but I’m not holding my breath. Like other manufacturers, Samsung uses their own UI overlay on top of Android’s stock UI. Samsung’s Touchwiz 3.0 is not bad, but it’s not as good as HTC’s Sense UI. It’s too bad Samsung doesn’t allow the user to turn off their overlay and just use Google’s default one, but there is an option. You can always download other UIs from the Android Market. Launchpro is a great one. I’ve been using it and I must say its much better than Samsung’s and HTC’s. It’s currently in beta and the lack of widgets and themes may turn some off to it, but development for it is going strong and a paid version will be released soon if not already. Calls are clear and haven’t lost a call yet even in low reception areas. The speakers are loud, but they’re located on the back of the phone, so if you place the phone on its back it can muffle the audio. But there is one gripe I have with this phone. The backlight of the softkeys located at the bottom turns off within a few seconds. If you’re using the phone in the dark it makes it hard to see where those keys are located.

The overall usability of the phone is great. There are a few things that hold it back from being fantastic. Such as AT&T’s and Samsung’s lockdown on its software defeating the purpose of having an open phone. The lack of a camera flash can also be a deal breaker for some. It’s hard to see why any manufacturer would make a phone without one. But one thing is for sure, the Captivate is the best Android phone for AT&T and if you can overlook some of the minor annoyances it may be the best Android phone on the market.

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

Pros:
Fast and smooth UI
Large comfortable AMOLED screen
Record 720p video
Google services integration

Cons:
No camera flash
Softkey backlight dims too quickly
No sideloading of apps
Samsung Touchwiz needs to be more polished

2 Replies to “Samsung Captivate Review”

  1. Eric,

    I just found out today that there is a downloadable application that you can just easily sideload apps its called The Android Central Sideload Wonder Machine. It’s listed in the Android Central forums.

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