CNET gets a hands-on look at the new Samsung Galaxy S phones for AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon.
Samsung's J.K. Shin takes stage
At an event in New York, J.K. Shin, president of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business, introduces the Samsung Galaxy S series for the U.S. market. Shin believes the Galaxy S will raise the bar in the smartphone market in three key areas: screen, speed, and content.
The Samsung Galaxy S will be coming to all four of the major U.S. carriers, as well as U.S. Cellular and Cellular South.
The Samsung Epic 4G for Sprint is the second 4G handset for Sprint and features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen.
We really liked the keyboard with its large buttons and roomy layout. Though touch-screen smartphone are all the rage right now, there are still a number of people who desire physical keyboard so we're glad to see the Epic 4G filling that need. According to Sprint, it will provide details on availability and pricing in the coming months.
Aside from being absolutely brilliant and sharp, Samsung's Super AMOLED screen brings a couple of benefits. It allows for a thinner design and wider viewing angles. Sure enough, we could see the screen at different angles and even though the Epic 4G has a slide-out keyboard, it actually has a pretty slim profile.
The top of the device houses a Micro-USB port and a 3.5mm jack. Though the Epic 4G doesn't have a HDMI port, it does support DLNA so you can wirelessly share content with DLNA-compliant devices such as HDTVs and game consoles.
The Samsung Vibrant will be coming to T-Mobile on July 21 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. T-Mobile will preload the smartphone with a nice helping of entertainment features, including a copy of "Avatar," the Amazon Kindle app for Android, and MobiTV, among other things.
We watched a few seconds of "Avatar" on the Vibrant and were amazed at the video quality. It was amazingly sharp and the colors were some of the richest we've seen on a smartphone.
Among the four Galaxy S phones that were showcased at the event, the Samsung Vibrant was definitely one of the sexiest. It was extremely thin and light, and just had a very clean, streamlined design. That said, it does feel a bit plasticky.
The Fascinate is Verizon's first Android phone from Samsung. Like all the Galaxy S devices, the Fascinate has a 4-inch Super AMOLED display and will be a touch-only device. The screen has a six-axis sensor that works with the built-in accelerometer for a better gaming experience.
The 1GHz Hummingbird processor should also keep these smartphones running smoothly. Though our time with the Fascinate and other models was brief and they weren't running final software, we have to say that the handsets felt quite zippy and responsive. There were no hiccups when launching apps, navigating through the phone, and playing videos.
The Fascinate's Web browser is quite good. It has pinch-to-zoom support and Web pages are reformatted to fit the width of the screen, so you don't have to scroll around to read text. It will also receive an Android 2.2 update so Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is coming.
Verizon did not announce availability date or pricing.
The Samsung Captivate finally brings a higher-end Android phone to AT&T's lineup. All the Galaxy S smartphones will have Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface sitting on top of Android.
TouchWiz 3.0 is definitely more refined than previous versions and includes new widgets, such as Buddies now for your favorite contacts and one for your social networking updates that's similar to HTC's Friend Stream widget. What we really liked about TouchWiz is the layout of the main menu. All your apps are presented in a clean grid view with bold icons, and they're spread across pages than you can swipe side to side. We found this to be a nicer setup than the standard Android user interface where you have to scroll up and down.
Given the Super AMOLED display, it's no surprise that multimedia will play a huge part on these phones, and Samsung is making it even easier to watch TV shows and movies on the phone by including a video store. The content will be available through its Media Hub, but the company has not revealed any of its partners but did say that they include "some of the biggest names in entertainment." We tried launching the app to try to get a sneak peek, but were met with a "Coming soon" message. Rats.