Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G a good fit all around (hands on)

Its name may take more than one breath to say, but I think T-Mobile customers will be happy with the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G when it arrives in late March.


BARCELONA, Spain--Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G: try saying it five times fast. Or better yet, just call it the "Blaze" like I do, and appreciate the simple pleasures of what is by today's standards your regular upper-mid smartphone.

T-Mobile and Samsung first announced the Blaze 4G at an intimate press gathering at CES; in fact, it was one of the last of the new handsets to be revealed. The unveiling was part of a larger speech delivered by T-Mobile USA CEO Philipp Humm promising that despite the proposed merger with AT&T going belly-up, T-Mobile would fight to regain relevance and 4G network spectrum--an ambition that spells out L-T-E.

Mobile World Congress represents the first time we're able to see the Blaze in the light of day. What I've seen so far, both through Samsung and through T-Mobile, I like. As a Galaxy S phone, it isn't as thin or rectangular as the Galaxy S II series, but I found it comfortable to hold and easy on the eye. Samsung isn't taking any risks and dressed it in its classic black plastic uniform.

The 4-inch Super AMOLED screen (with a 480x800-pixel WVGA resolution) is clear, bright, and sharp as usual. There's a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor, a 5-megapixel camera that can shoot 720p HD video, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread with TouchWiz is your OS here, which is not a surprise considering the phone's January announcement. There are all the preloaded apps you get on a T-Mobile smartphone, including Qik for video chats, T-Mobile TV, and the Polaris productivity app (and oh, so many more.)

If the design and features feel a little rehashed at this point, you'd be right. Samsung is sticking with a proven formula here, but the advantage is an expectation at a level of quality that the 4G Android smartphone will be able to accomplish.

You'll be able to check out the Galaxy S Blaze 4G for yourself in late March for $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate card. That's with a two-year contract, of course. In the meantime, peruse the slideshow and video above for a closer look a the Blaze 4G.

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