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CNET First Look
Samsung Fascinate (Verizon Wireless)Sleek and powerful, the Samsung Fascinate is another strong addition to Verizon's Android lineup. Its user interface won't appeal to everyone, particularly seasoned Android users, but it's a good smartphone for the masses.
Hi, I'm Bonnie Cha, senior editor at CNET.com and I'm here to give you another look at the Samsung Fascinate for Verizon Wireless. You might remember this phone from Samsung's Galaxy S Event this summer but now that we've got the final product, that it'd be nice to give you a little more detail about the phone's features and design. As far as the design, the Fascinate is very similar to a Samsung Vibrant from T-Mobile. It's not particularly flashy or different from other devices but it's got a clean and simple slate design. It also feels a bit more solid than the Vibrant which I thought was a little cheap and plasticky feeling so I was definitely happy to see that. In front here, you've got a 4-inch SUPER AMOLED touchscreen which is just gorgeous. The sharp display and bright colors make it easy to read text and enhances the multimedia experience. The built-in accelerometer and pinch-to-zoom support work well so you can easily zoom in on images and get more screen real estate. In terms of overall navigation, the Fascinate is pretty easy to use. Like other Galaxy S models, the phone uses Samsung's TouchWiz interface which includes some handy widgets like the Buddies Now and Feeds and Updates. Unlike the standard Android interface, all your apps are laid out on multiple pages in a neat grid view which I like. But, of course, everyone's style is different and TouchWiz is definitely not going to appeal to everyone. I think it's nice, if you're coming from a feature phone but if you've used Android before, you might be happier with something like the Droid X or Droid Incredible which isn't quite as heavily skinned and offers a more pure Android experience. Feature wise, the Fascinate is shipping with Android 2.1 with an Android 2.2 update promised for later this year. As a Verizon phone, you get support for a number of carrier services such as NFL Mobile, VCast Music and Video, and VZ Navigator. This also includes Bing Search and because Microsoft and Verizon have a deal, Bing is the default search engine on the Fascinate and can't be changed. The only way you can use Google Search is if you actually go to Google's site on the phone's web browser which is pretty annoying. One other aspect of the phone that was a bit of a disappointment was the GPS capabilities. The Fascinate didn't have any issues getting a GPS fix like the Vibrant and Captivate but its positioning wasn't always accurate. Sometimes, it was spot on and other times it could be up to five blocks off so I really didn't feel confident using this as a navigation device. Those issues aside, there's still a lot to like about the Fascinate. It's fast and offers good quality. It's also a great multimedia phone with the 5-megapixel camera with flash and HD video capture, and has some extra entertainment features like Blockbuster Video app, Kindle for Android, and EA's Need for Speed: Shift. The Samsung Fascinate will be available from Verizon starting September 8th online and in stores on September 9th for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. I'm Bonnie Cha and this has been your first look at the Samsung Fascinate for Verizon.