There are a number of apps that come preloaded on the Captivate Glide. Samsung's All Share app helps share and stream content on DLNA-compatible devices. There's also Samsung's Social Hub and Media Hub, and a nicely designed voice recorder. AT&T makes its code-scanner app ready, along with AT&T FamilyMap and Navigator with turn-by-turn directions (it costs $9.99 for a monthly pass and $2.99 for the day pass.) AT&T also has its collection of featured apps, streaming and downloadable TV content through U-verse (it comes with a $9.99 monthly fee after a free seven-day trial).
Other apps are here, too. There's Amazon Kindle, an Asphalt 6 demo, Facebook, Mini Diary, Qik Lite for video chats, the Quickoffice productivity suite, and Yellow Pages mobile. Essentials include a task manager, a to-do list, a calculator, a calendar, and a clock.
Google's music app finds a minor upgrade in the looks department with Samsung, and there's a welcome option to turn on 5.1-channel surround sound. You can add music to a playlist on the fly, add to a quick list, and share music you're listening to.
In addition, Samsung adds Tilt, which zooms the screen in and out when you press and hold two fingers and tilt the screen back and forth. I suppose it's a neat capability, but I've never found it particularly useful since first encountering it on the unlocked Samsung Galaxy S II. In fact, it sometimes pops up at inconvenient moments.
As with other Android phones, you can switch among available virtual keyboards by pressing and holding within a text field and selecting "Input method." Although the Android keyboard loads by default, there's also Swype, which lets you trace words with your finger, and Samsung's own keyboard.
Samsung has often hit the nail on the head with good cameras, and so far the Captivate Glide seems to follow in the footsteps of others, like the Samsung Galaxy S II phones. The 8-megapixel rear-facing camera has nice features like auto-focus, smile detection, and panorama mode, but there's much more besides, like smile shot, which snaps the photo when it detects a smile, and action shot, which takes a panorama of moving objects.
There are automatic white balance settings, a timer, three color effects, six resolution options, and options for shutter sound, GPS tagging, grid, and self-timer. It certainly doesn't have the biggest variety of options, but the photo quality looked pretty good. I was able to get some nice detail when using the flash for an indoor night shot, and other indoor shots taken during the day also produced images with good color fidelity and sharp edges--it's easy for those to be, at turns, oversaturated, dull, or overexposed. There was the expected amount of shutter lag for indoor night shots when using the flash and auto-focus combined. Not all photos were equally fabulous, however, with some winding up in better focus than others.
The 720p HD video (30fps) performed well in our tests, and the microphone captured the subject's voice better than many other smartphones. There's room for up to 8GB onboard storage, with up to 32GB more in expandable memory.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900; UMTS 850/1900/2100) Samsung Captivate Glide on AT&T's network in San Francisco. Call quality was acceptable. Voices sounded loud on my end, and pretty natural, although there were moments of digital distortion that made my caller cut in an out, and I did experience a dropped call. On the other end of the line, one caller described volume as very good, but noted that my voice didn't sound particularly natural. He got the impression that as I spoke, my voice bounced against a tin can, a fuzzy distraction.
Samsung Captivate Glide call quality sample
I tested speakerphone by holding the phone at waist level. Volume was strong to my ears, and callers didn't sound echoey, but voices did have a buzzy quality. On their end, callers thought I was less intelligible, cutting in and out. They said I sounded tinny, and my voice distorted more at high speaking volumes.
The Captivate Glide runs speedily and well on its dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. Apps snapped opens without delay, and I could scroll very quickly through the app tray and home screens.
AT&T's HSPA+ network hung onto the phone during my test period. CNET's mobile-optimized site loaded in 11.2 seconds, with the full site fully loading in about 18 seconds. Likewise, the New York Times' mobile site loaded in about 6 seconds, with the full site loading in just over 13 seconds. I also used the Speedtest.net app by Ookla for some diagnostic testing. Download speeds averaged about 1.5Mbps, and ranged from 0.83 to 1.92Mbps. Upload speeds ranged from 0.79 to 1.07Mbps.
AT&T's lineup is long on Android smartphones, but pretty short on those with QWERTY keyboards. Features-wise, the Samsung Captivate Glide hits all the high points when it comes to supplying high-end features with this type of form factor. Where the handset struggles is with its hardware (except for the gorgeous Super AMOLED display). Call quality does suffer a bit, and the keyboard literally falls flat. In addition, the build quality failed to impress; in fact, I'd go as far as to say I dislike the bubbly plastic backing, at least for this shape of phone. Still, the reasonable cost-to-features-ratio goes a long way to redeeming the blah look and feel, and for AT&T customers looking for a high-end Android device with a keyboard, there are few other viable choices.