As with other Android phones, the Android Market lets you download free and paid apps and games. The quantity and quality of apps continue to grow every day, and Google will keep enhancing the Android Market interface as it updates the operating system. For more details on the Android Market, check out our G1 review. For updates and reviews of available Android apps, visit our Android Atlas blog.
Though we've said it many times before, we again have to mention that Android restricts app storage to the handset's integrated memory. On the Moment that's 256MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM. Granted, it won't affect most users, but it remains one of the OS' most peculiar characteristics and it's one that we hope Google changes soon. The handset's memory card slot is only for saving for photos, music, and other attachment files (you'll get a 2GB card in the box, but the slot accommodates cards up to 32GB).
Music and video
The Moment's music player is similar to its Android predecessors. Beyond the simple, intuitive interface, you'll find support for multiple files types, album art, playlists, shuffle, repeat, and an airplane mode for in-flight media use. To get tunes you can buy songs through the Amazon MP3 Store, which has DRM-free tracks. A single song costs about 89 cnets, and an album can cost anywhere from $5 to $9. Of course, you also can transfer music to your Moment using Bluetooth, the microSD card, or the included USB cable. We used the last method to successfully load a few tunes.
Video content is available through the standard YouTube app or clips that you load on the phone. As we said with the Cliq, we'd love to have an iTunes-like option for movie purchases and rentals. Both the YouTube app and the video gallery feature are easy to use.
Though there's little about the Moment that screams "Samsung," you'll know from the other media options that it is a Sprint device. The carrier added apps for Sprint TV (streaming and on-demand video), Sprint Movies, Sprint Radio, Nascar Sprint Cup, and NFL Mobile Live. Curiously, the Moment does not offer access to the Sprint Music Store.
We're not happy with the dearth of editing options on the moment's 3.2-megapixel camera. Forget color effects, a self-timer, a zoom, or even image size--you only can adjust the video quality and activate the camera flash. Sure, we're thankful for the flash and the self-portrait mirror, but we just can't abide a phone that doesn't let you play with the camera options. You can blame the iPhone for that trend.
On the upside, the Moment's photo quality was pretty good. Colors were relatively bright and the flash performs adequately, though our images were a bit grainy. Like on other Android phones, the shutter delay remains long. Videos captured with the Moment were about what you'd expect: movements in the video were blurry and colors were a bit off. When finished editing your content, you can save it to the phone, forward it to friends via e-mail or MMS, and transfer it to a PC via a memory card or a USB cable. The Photo & Video places app offers direct uploading access to MySpace, YouTube, Photobucket, and Facebook. The Gallery app offers an attractive and customizable option for viewing a slideshow of your photos.
When first opening the HTML browser, Sprint forces you onto its own Web portal. Although it offers access to news headlines, weather reports, and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, we suspect that you'll want to move on immediately. Fortunately, you can do just that via the Menu control below the display, but here again we'd prefer a dedicated Search control without opening the keyboard.
The Moment's Web-browsing experience was comparable to other Android phones. Scrolling around Web pages was fluid outside of the occasional screen lag. The onscreen zoom controls were effective and we could select links easily, but keep in mind that the accelerometer only works when you rotate the Moment to the left. The handset supports copy and paste and tabs for your bookmarks, frequent sites, and history, but not integrated Flash Lite.
We tested the dual-band (CDMA 800/1900) Samsung Moment in San Francisco using Sprint service. Call quality generally was quite good, with natural-sounding voices and a strong, clear signal. The volume level could be louder, however, as we had trouble hearing when we were talking on a busy street or in a place with a lot of background noise. What's more, when we had the volume turned all the way up, we encountered the tiniest bit of voice distortion.
On their end, callers said we sounded good. A few didn't know we were using a cell phone, which is rarely the case when going wireless. Some callers had trouble hearing us when we were in those noisy places, which made us think that the Moment has a sensitive sweet spot. If we spoke directly into the handset, there was rarely a problem. Automated calling systems could hear us most of the time, but we had to repeat ourselves on occasion.
Speakerphone calls were average. We had to speak close to the phone and the sound on our end was muffled. We could carry on conversations, but we found ourselves switching to standard calls more often than not. On the other hand, we liked the speakerphone and mute touch controls that sit directly on the display when you're on a call. What's more, the phone dialer opens with a single touch.
Sprint's 3G EV-DO network offers a fast data connection with admirable reach. We could get a signal in most buildings and even when underground. Also, graphics-heavy Web pages, images, and YouTube videos loaded in seconds. Remember that the browser will default to mobile sites, so you might have to click around to find the full version.
The Moment offers an 800Mhz processor, which is improved over previous Android models. Once the touch screen registered our choices, applications opened quickly, but there was still a little bit of the Android sluggishness to which we've become accustomed. By and large, the Moment performed well and we didn't have any system crashes.
Not surprisingly, YouTube video quality was just blurry. If there was any difference between other Android phones, we didn't see it. In contrast, videos stored on the phone were fine. Music quality was decent, as well. The external speaker doesn't have the loudest output and the sound warbles just a bit. Try a headset for the best experience.
The Google Maps feature was moderately more accurate than on the Hero or T-Mobile's Android models. It still missed our location by a block most of the time, but it never lost us completely. The Samsung Moment is quite a decent navigator. During our testing period, the smartphone's GPS consistently found our location in a minute or less and did a good job of tracking our movements as we drove around San Francisco. We also used Sprint Navigation to plot a route from the city's Marina District to Santa Clara, Calif. The app was very quick to come up with directions and even alerted us to a traffic incident at the beginning of our trip; unfortunately, there were no alternative routes so we had to sit through the congestion. Voice directions were clear but a little on the soft side, and route recalculations were quick but didn't always offer the most efficient routes.
Senior Editor Bonnie Cha contributed to this section.
The Moment has a rated battery life of 5.5 hours talk time. Our talk time tests didn't quite reach that with a result of 4 hours and 36 minutes. According to the FCC, the Moment has a digital SAR of 0.67 watt per kilogram.