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Samsung Galaxy Rush review:

Small, affordable, indistinctive

Testing the Rush's camera
Boo, hiss! The Samsung Galaxy Rush made CNET Car Tech gurus Brian Cooley and Antuan Goodwin look blurred and dull. (This photo has been resized. Click to enlarge.) Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Outdoors photos were mostly lackluster, even when sucking in plenty of natural light, and indoor photos turned dynamic objects and people into dull, fuzzy cut-outs. My favorite photo, of a mural, is the richly hued and highly textured exception. Yet since mural photos come out looking terrific on any camera phone, that's a little like getting 200 points on a test just for writing your name.

Testing the Rush's camera
These little fuzzy guys can't keep focused either. (This photo has been resized. Click to enlarge.) Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Videos played back fine, without stuttering or jerkiness, and colors held true. Keep in mind that the lens quality ultimately limits the video quality, so don't plan on playing the Galaxy Rush videos back on a 50-inch-screen TV. The Rush's 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera took quite decent shots.

Testing the Rush's camera
Even in excellent lighting with my unsuspecting targets standing still, they still didn't come out crisply. (This photo has been resized.) Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The camera software, in typical Samsung Android fashion, was easy to use. Panorama mode joins single shot and smile shot modes, and the settings are filled with the typical array of adjustments and settings for white balance, shooting mode, scene mode, and additional effects. There's a macro mode as well for close-ups, and you can geotag photos.

Testing the Rush's camera
When all else fails, murals are consistently excellent subjects for producing saturated photos. (This photo has been resized.) Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Although 3.2 megapixels is the highest resolution you can get, if you need to make images smaller, you can drop down four steps all the way to 0.3 megapixel. Similarly, you can shoot videos on normal mode or limit the size for multimedia messaging.

Call quality
I tested the Samsung Rush's call quality in San Francisco using Boost Mobile's network (CDMA 1,900MHz.) While it wasn't a buttery-smooth experience, it wasn't downright awful, either.

Voice quality sounded broken up, not cohesive; it almost had a frayed or shaggy quality to it, with tendrils of sound moving away from the core. Volume was good on the highest level in a mostly quiet office, but without Samsung's audio boost software, there's nowhere else to go if you need to crank up the volume. My caller's voice sounded warm, and when it didn't sound hollow with the stuttering distortion that kept it from sounding 100 percent human, it also sounded natural. Background noise never entered the picture.

On his end, my test partner said I came across muffled and loud, but basically understandable. My voice distorted at high volume, he said, and I sounded a little canned. That said, he knew it was me calling. The overall experience results in an adequate, but not very inspiring, call.

Samsung Galaxy Galaxy Rush call quality sample Listen now:

After the standard call, I dropped the phone to waist level and switched to speakerphone mode. Volume was fine at the highest levels, and the speakerphone mode gave it an automatic boost. While the usual amounts of speakerphone echo kept the phone company, the tinniness and reverberation never distracted. Voices did sound a little muffled, but the conversation quality wasn't bad at all. From the caller's perspective, my volume noticeably dropped, but I otherwise sounded about the same as I did when speaking into the mouthpiece. On the listener's end, the Galaxy Rush also doles out typical speakerphone echo.

As a 3G phone, the Galaxy Rush's data speeds are typically slow, relying on your patience and desperation to load graphic-intensive content. It'll happen eventually, but if you're within Wi-Fi range, you'll thank yourself for switching over.

Samsung Galaxy Rush performance testing
Download CNET News app 39 seconds, 646KB
CNET mobile site load 48 seconds
CNET desktop site load 2 minutes
Boot time to lock screen 37 seconds
Camera boot time 2 seconds
Camera, shot-to-shot time 3-4 seconds
Load up app (Quadrant) 1.8 seconds

When it comes to waiting around, the data network is the far greater culprit than the phone's chip. I found myself waiting and waiting, then waiting some more for sites to load and apps to update. In truth, waiting 2 minutes for a Web site like CNET's to load used to be typical, and it isn't so bad if you aren't staring at the screen watching every bit and byte to finish rendering. Still, if you need to navigate a few pages deep, those minutes add up to a whole lot of dead time.

Samsung Galaxy Rush diagnostic speed tests's diagnostic app captured depressingly slow speeds for the Rush. Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

The Rush's 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S2 processor performance isn't at the bottom of the Quadrant app diagnostic test, beating out U.S. Cellular's Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G (results pictured in that phone's review) running Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Still, there's notable lag when compared to top-of-the-line phones.

Running diagnostic testing on the Galaxy Rush using the free Quadrant app.
Screenshot by Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

Although the Galaxy Rush has a fairly good rated battery life of 8 hours on Boost Mobile's network, I found that battery drained quickly, and I needed to charge the phone sooner rather than later. It did rather well in video playback tests, going strong for 8.2 hours on a full battery. The 1,750mAh battery is also meant to keep the phone going for up to 14.5 days of standby time.

According to FCC radiation tests, the Rush has a digital SAR of 0.92 watt per kilogram.

Final thoughts
You'll never buy this phone for the camera quality or speed, and the Samsung Galaxy Rush doesn't do everything that ICS can; for instance, it doesn't have NFC (near-field communication). In fact, there's no single standout feature and even if you enjoy Boost ID, it's little more than a party trick. However, those who really want Android for a reasonable price will find it in the Samsung Galaxy Rush. In the same basic size and price range, the Kyocera Hydro is a second Android 4.0 option worth checking out.

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