Like every Android Froyo handset, the Galaxy Prevail has texting, support for social networking accounts (like Twitter and Facebook, for instance), and an integrated e-mail and message inbox with support for multiple POP, IMAP, and Exchange accounts. It also has Google Maps with turn-by-turn voice navigation, the Android Market storefront, the standard music player, YouTube, Google Places, and Google Talk for chatting, and you'll find a calendar, a calculator, and a clock.
In addition, the Prevail comes preloaded with a number of third-party apps: Hookt, Layar, Poynt, Scvngr, Task Manager, TeleNav GPS Navigator, ThinkFree Office, and Twidroyd. Boost Mobile also adds links to manage your Boost account. Our favorite addition is Swype, the app that swaps out the standard virtual keyboard for one that lets you use your finger to trace words on the keyboard rather than type letters one by one. However, you're always able to switch back to the standard keyboard whenever you'd like.
The Prevail's 2-megapixel camera and camcorder don't sound very impressive at first, when so many other budget phones bear a 3.2-megapixel shooter. However, the Prevail proves once again that the number of megapixels doesn't always translate into higher-quality stills and footage by delivering quite decent images. Pictures were relatively sharp and colors were bright even in indoor shots; this camera stood up to some boasting 3.2-megapixel lenses. Of course, adjusting white-balance presets, color effects, and other camera settings before you shoot can help brighten the images. There's only about 124MB of internal phone storage, but Boost ships the Prevail with a 2GB microSD card to get you started. The handset holds up to 32GB in external memory.
We tested the dual-band Samsung Galaxy Prevail (CDMA 800/1900; 1xEV-DO rev.A) in San Francisco on Boost Mobile's network. While call quality was acceptable, it wasn't stellar. Although voices sounded natural, they were muffled, with a quality we can only describe as "gauzy." In addition, a high-pitched background buzz kept time with our callers' voices, disappearing during pauses. We didn't hear any other background crackling or interference. On their end, callers said we sounded a bit unnatural, but with better-than-average vocal quality.
Speakerphone, on the other hand, frustrated our friends, who more than once asked us to repeat ourselves. They again said we sounded unnatural, and said certain syllables were muffled or distorted. On our side of the line, the speakerphone was mostly loud and clear even though it had a telltale quality that made our contacts sound distant.
Samsung Galaxy Prevail call quality sample
We moved from task to task smoothly thanks to the Prevail's 800MHz processor, although speeds are noticeably faster on phones with 1GHz and dual-core processors, as they should be. Still, usability was just fine.
Data speeds were fairly fast on the Prevail. We were able to download CNET's mobile-optimized site in about 12.5 seconds, and the mobile version of NYTimes.com in about 13 seconds. Our graphics-heavy full site completed loading in about 1 minute, but was usable after the first 30 seconds. The same went for the New York Times site.
The Prevail has a rated battery life of 6.5 hours of talk time and 9 days of standby time with its 1500mAh lithium ion battery. Anecdotally, the battery lost power more quickly than we would have liked. Yet, our tested talk time measured close to 6 hours. According to FCC radiation tests, the Prevail has a digital SAR of 0.84 watts per kilogram.
The Samsung Galaxy Prevail is an unusually beautiful device considering its reasonable off-contract price. While the screen specs themselves are an acceptable HVGA resolution, it's the obsidian-smooth surface that makes the face so touchable. We found the 2-megapixel camera produced better images than we'd expect for its megapixel count. Call quality was one weak point in our tests, but we will say that we never lost a call or had to halt a conversation because we couldn't understand what we were hearing. We can't complain about 3G data speeds or overall performance either, all of which means the Prevail handily takes the top spot as Boost Mobile's best smartphone. It may not be as high-end as a dual-core, 4G phone, but it's a handset that's worthy of the Galaxy name, and one we wouldn't be ashamed to pocket.
Correction, Monday at 9 a.m. ET: This has been updated to correct the numbers on Boost Mobile's Android lineup and its Shrinkage payment plan.