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Review: Samsung Fascinate (Verizon), Review of Reviews

Samsung-Fascinate-big.jpgSamsung Fascinate Rated 4.25 out 5 by Wireless and Mobile News Review of Reviews

Reviewers of the Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung Fascinate all praised the Super AMOLED touchscreen and fast processor. They liked the camera, video recording/playback and media capabilities.

Powered by a 1
GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, running Android 2.1, the Samsung Fascinate has GPS, Stereo Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a 3.5 mm headset jack and Wi-Fi mobile hotspots.  One reviewer found the GPS to be inaccurate, while another found it accurate.  Stereo Bluetooth worked well for music playing, but had problems with voice commands.

The Samsung Fascinate 's 5.0-megapixel camera with auto-focus and an LED
flash supports HD (720p) video recording and playback.  Photo quality ranged from decent to handsome and better than the Droid X's 8 megapixel camera. Video playing and audio with faux 5.1 surround was called spectacular.

Call quality and battery life were rated good, except that noise cancellation for calling was poor. Both the Android standard on-screen keyboard and the Swype keyboard were fairly easy to use. It has a standard phone look and is very light.

Where reviewers diverged the most were in their opinions of the added-on TouchWiz interface and Android enhancements. One thought it would be good for new Android users.  Another liked some of its features. A third lambasted Verizon for fiddling with Android and hated that Google search had been replaced by Bing and cannot be changed.

Update 09/12/10 -  Verizon has said that you will be able to use Google on the Samsung Fascinate when it is updated to Android 2.2. They offered  few suggestions for using Google on the Fascinate.

The Samsung Fascinate excelled at graphics and games in tests.
The bar has been raised for all smartphones with very subtle differences
that most users will barely notice.  With two other Droid smartphones
in the same price range on Verizon, choosing an Android smartphone can be
difficult. When we compared the Droid X (back-ordered with ship dates up to a week later) to the Samsung Fascinate, it has a slightly smaller screen, lower megapixel camera and different UI.

The Droid Incredible, with a slightly smaller screen, has the more popular HTC Sense. The Incredible is now being discounted by online retailers because it has been on the market since late April.

With
so many Droid phones available, customers can play Goldilocks to find which of the different models is a "just right" fit for their needs.

The Samsung Fascinate is priced at $199.99 after a $100
mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. 
Customers will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk
plan (beginning at $39.99 monthly access) and an Email and Web for
Smartphone plan (beginning at $29.99 for unlimited monthly access).
Mobile hotpsot service for 2 Gigabytes is an additional $20 a month.

Because of the display shortage, we have no way of knowing if the Samsung Fascinate will
be another sell-out like the other the Verizon Android smartphones were
earlier this year. We suspect, however that since Verizon Wireless Current Promotions page shows a Buy One Samsung Fascinate Get One Free deal, they should have plenty to go around.

Along
with free shipping, Verizon provides an added bonus for ordering online with the Wireless and Mobile News coupon-link you get Instant Phone Rebate Only Available with Online Purchases.

Online retailer Amazon Wireless Beta  is discounting the Samsung Fascinate to one cent with a new contract and $99 for renewing customers.

Bonnie Cha at CNET rated the Samsung Fascinate 4 out 5 for its gorgeous Super AMOLED touchscreen, great multimedia, 1 GHz processor, and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot functionality.  She found that the GPS wasn't always accurate, that it's still running Android 2.1 (updated to 2.2 later) and  that the search engine is locked to Microsoft's Bing.  She called it a good smartphone: not for everyone, but good for the masses. Because of the TouchWiz added-on interface, she thought it would be best suited to Android newbies. She found the touchscreen to be brilliant and responsive. She liked both the Swype and Android touch virtual keyboards. Setting up email accounts was easy. The unified inbox and calendar is neat and easy to manage. The Write and Go app lets you compose a message and then choose whether to send it as an email, SMS or status update. The game "Need for Speed" comes pre-installed.  Photo quality was decent and can be shared with Facebook, MMS, YouTube and DLNA devices. Call quality was good. The speaker phone was decent. Video playback from the video recorder was beautiful.  The process was fast without lag.

Sasha Segan at PCMag rated the Samsung Fascinate 4 out 5 for a beautiful screen, slimness, lightness, fast processor and loud speakerphone.  He didn't like the inaccurate voice dialing.  He called the Samsung Fascinate "an excellent cure for iPhone envy." The phone felt solid and call quality was good, but noise cancellation was lousy. Battery life was excellent.  The processor tested better for graphics and gaming.  The TouchWiz experience makes meaningful improvements.  Both the Swype and Android touchscreen keyboards worked well.  Even though Verizon removed Google Maps and replaced it with Bing, you can download Google maps from Android Market. He found GPS to be accurate. Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 5 devices. He noted that while it costs $20 a month for 2GB of data, speeds were not great, but video and audio playback were terrific and the simulated 5.1 surround sound was spectacular. The syncing software worked well.  The YouTube app when showing videos was jerky. He thought the photos were sharper than the Droid X. He found it to be just as good as the Droid Incredible and Droid X.  He liked the HTC social networking better on the Droid Incredible and the noise cancellation better on the Droid X. He really liked the media player and the size that is smack in the middle of the Droid X and Droid Incredible. 

Joshua Topolsky at Engadget found the screen to be stunning, but was maddened by the fact that Verizon replaced Google search with Bing, a selection that cannot be changed.  The camera provided handsome shots, and 720 video was impressive. Voice quality was good. He didn't like TouchWiz as much as HTC Sense. It felt light in his hand.  He sums up his view "It's not that the device isn't a solid phone or a reasonably capable
Android representative -- it's just that Samsung and Verizon have made
far too many compromises."

1 thought on “Review: Samsung Fascinate (Verizon), Review of Reviews”

  1. I'v never owned a Samsung, but they really have something good going on with their new phones. Awesome design and great features. My next phone may be a Samsung.

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