The Samsung Intercept comes with Android 2.1 right out of the gate, which is great news if you want a modern Android OS smartphone. You get voice-to-text capabilities, Google Maps Navigation, and the option for live wallpapers. We've always questioned if the Samsung TouchWiz interface fit well within Android, and thankfully the Intercept just has the standard Android UI.
As always with Android phones, you get very close integration with Google-related services like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, plus there's a dedicated YouTube app as well. Instead of the more common Quick Office for accessing documents, the Intercept opted for ThinkFree Office, which works much the same way. If you want something other than Gmail for your e-mail, you also get a regular e-mail program where you can plug in your POP or IMAP server settings. You can use the same e-mail program for your work e-mail, as long as you have the appropriate Exchange server information. All of your non-Gmail e-mail will be piped into this single unified in-box. You can sync up your work calendar and contacts as well via Exchange.
As the Intercept is a Sprint phone, it comes as no surprise that the Intercept also has a few Sprint-specific apps--they are NASCAR Sprint Cup, Sprint Football Live, Sprint Zone, and Sprint TV. Other apps included by default are Facebook, Where, and of course, access to the Android Market.
The Intercept also has a few basics like a speakerphone, speed dial, voice commands, text and multimedia messaging with threaded view, GPS, Wi-Fi, stereo Bluetooth, and 3G. Bear in mind, however, that the Intercept only has EV-DO Rev. 0 and not Rev. A. You also get Google's WebKit browser, which now supports Flash Lite, plus the aforementioned pinch-to-zoom functionality. For music, you can purchase and download music via the Amazon MP3 Store, or you can load them yourself via USB or a microSD card. The player is similar to that of other Android phones.
The 3.2-megapixel camera on the Intercept was OK, but nothing worth writing home about. Picture quality seemed sharp enough, but colors looked dull and lacked vibrancy. Though we're not always fans of using an LED flash since it blows out photos, we still would like the option of some kind of flash, especially for low-light situations.
We tested the Samsung Intercept in San Francisco using Sprint's network. Call quality was impressive on the whole. Incoming call quality was great--we heard hardly any static or background noise, and volume was good, too. Callers' voices sounded all right, too; it wasn't exactly landline-quality, but it was still pretty natural-sounding.
Callers reported good call quality, saying there was no hissing or static noise, and they said our voice sounded great and natural. During speakerphone calls, the quality diminished somewhat--callers said they heard more background noise and a slightly fuzzier voice quality--but it wasn't a deal breaker. On our end, speakerphone quality was fine. The volume was loud enough and though callers sounded rather tinny, it was nothing we didn't expect.
We did wish the Intercept had EV-DO Rev. A instead of the slower EV-DO Rev. 0, but we could still load Web pages in a timely manner. BBC's Web site took around 20 seconds to load, whereas CNET's mobile page took just a few seconds. Streaming YouTube was relatively quick, too, with only a few seconds of buffering.
The Intercept has an 800Mhz processor, which worked great for the most part. We had no problems zipping through the menu, and launching apps took a couple of seconds at most. However, we did have the occasional hiccup with opening and closing the task manager, as we mentioned in the Design section. Sometimes it would take more than just a single press of the button for the task manager to go away.
The Intercept has a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery, and it has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time and 14.6 days standby time. Our tests revealed a talk time of 4 hours and 2 minutes. According to the FCC, it has a digital SAR of 0.72 watt per kilogram.