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Samsung Galaxy S 4G review: Samsung Galaxy S 4G

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MSRP: $499.99

The Good The Samsung Galaxy S 4G has 4G connectivity, a front-facing camera for video calls, and a larger battery. Android 2.2 offers impressive data speeds and good call quality. Other highlights include a rich and vibrant Super AMOLED touch screen and a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording.

The Bad No camera flash. The Galaxy S 4G has less internal memory than the Vibrant. There was some slight sluggishness with some tasks.

The Bottom Line The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is a fantastic Android smartphone for T-Mobile customers, delivering fast data speeds and other improvements, but Vibrant owners should be fine holding off for now.

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8.7 Overall
  • Design 9
  • Features 9
  • Performance 8

Though it hasn't even been a year since the Samsung Vibrant was released, a successor has already come along to take its place. The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is nearly identical in design, but don't let its looks fool you, as the new smartphone brings a number of changes under the hood. It ships running Android 2.2.1; there's a front-facing camera for video calls; and, most importantly, you get 4G connectivity, with the capability of hitting theoretical download speeds of 21Mbps. Indeed, we got some impressive and zippy data speeds during our review period, improving the smartphone Web browsing and streaming experience. Throw in the preloaded entertainment extras and you've got one fast and fun device.

If you already own a Vibrant, we wouldn't say this is a necessary upgrade, especially since you're probably still on contract. However, if you're in the market for a new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S 4G is certainly one of our top picks. T-Mobile has two other great 4G devices, the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G and the T-Mobile G2, and it may come down to personal preference, but the Galaxy S 4G has the potential to be faster and also sports a sharper, richer display. The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is available now for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G isn't remarkably different from the Samsung Vibrant in design. In fact, if you were to put the two side by side, it would be difficult to tell one from the other. They're the same size at 4.82 inches tall by 2.54 inches wide by 0.39 inch thick and 4.16 ounces, and both feature attractive chrome accents and rounded corners and edges.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G features a new finish on the back that makes it less slippery than its predecessor.

The only noticeable difference is that the Galaxy S 4G has a new "silver reflex" finish on back. It's more of a matte finish, so unlike the Vibrant, the Galaxy S 4G doesn't feel quite as slick or plasticky, which is a good thing. That said, we still prefer the more premium feel of the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G, even though it's slightly heavier and thicker than the Galaxy S 4G.

You still get the 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen, which is eye-catching and gorgeous. The sharp display makes it easy to read text, but it really shines when you're viewing video or photos, as colors and details really come through on the vibrant screen. The touch screen is also responsive. It registered all our taps, and we were able to smoothly and quickly scroll through the menus and lists. Like the rest of the series, the Galaxy S 4G uses Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, and the smartphone ships with the Swype virtual keyboard.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G sports the same gorgeous 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen as the Vibrant.

There are four touch-sensitive buttons--menu, home, back, and search--below the display. On the left side is a volume rocker and on the right is a power/lock button. The top of the device features a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro-USB port with a sliding cover, with the camera located on back. There is, however, no flash and no dedicated camera key.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a 16GB microSD card, a wired stereo headset, and reference material.

The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is a quad-band world phone with a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. In addition to cellular calls, you can make calls over a Wi-Fi network (there is no additional charge, but the minutes are deducted from your regular voice plan) and unlike the Samsung Vibrant, the Galaxy S 4G has a front-facing VGA camera so you can make video calls over Wi-Fi or T-Mobile's network using the preinstalled Qik application.

Again, the smartphone ships running Android 2.2.1, so in addition to the standard Google services and support for Microsoft Exchange, POP3 and IMAP accounts, and social network integration, you get the benefits of Froyo, which include the ability to save apps to SD cards, voice dialing over Bluetooth, and Flash Player 10.1 support.

The handset also comes preloaded with a number of entertainment extras. This includes a full copy of "Inception," Slacker Radio, Kindle for Android, and DoubleTwist software with AirSync, which lets you wirelessly sync and back up music, video, and other content from your phone to your PC over a Wi-Fi connection.

T-Mobile TV and Samsung's Media Hub video store are also onboard if you want to watch video on the go. The latter lets you rent or buy movies and TV shows, and Samsung and T-Mobile just announced that purchases can be charged to your monthly phone bill.

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