Review: Verizon Samsung Fascinate

Verizon today announced their latest smartphone, the Samsung Fascinate. The Fascinate falls into Samsung's Galaxy S line of phones. For Samsung, the Fascinate represents a brand that is now represented on all major carriers in the United States. While each model in the Galaxy S line varies slightly, the guts, for the most part, are the same. 

For Verizon, this means that they are adding yet another high end Android device to their lineup that's already stuffed full with other high quality devices. But, this phone is different, it’s an eye catcher. 

A quick rundown of the specs doesn’t reveal much about this phone. It’s got a gorgeous Super AMOLED screen spanning 4 inches across, 1GHz Hummingbird Processor, 720P video recording capabilities, 5MP camera, 480x800 resolution, and a 16 GB microSD card pre-installed. All around, it makes for a solid smartphone, but it doesn’t have any killer features that set it apart from the other phones on the market. 

But, what sets this phone apart from others is that the Fascinate, without a doubt, is currently the best looking phone Verizon currently has to offer. Samsung has done a stupendous job of making this phone look sexy in a world filled with mundane smartphones; it’s an attractive phone that wants to be shown off.   

Besides being incredibly attractive, a lot of thought has gone into this phone. For starters, rather than having the power button on the top of the device, it is on the right side of the phone where your thumb naturally lands (or index finger if holding with your left hand). This little implementation makes it quite easy to turn the screen on and off and doesn’t require any awkward hand movements to activate the screen.  It’s hard to explain how useful this is until you go back to a phone that has it on the top, and then you realize how you wish your phone had it placed on the side.

The phone runs Samsung's TouchWiz UI and surprisingly, it’s quite attractive. I really like this UI and prefer it to stock Android. While its unfortunate that this device is running 2.1, it does feel snappy and there is minimal lag (or none) while using the phone on a daily basis. The inclusion of a task killer makes it easy to keep your phone running in top shape.     

The TouchWiz UI adds a bit of eye candy with new icons and also adds shortcuts to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and Airplane mode in logical places. But, it’s still a skin that some will love and others will detest. It’s a personal preference, but for me, I prefer it. 

The camera on the device shoots incredibly quickly. The shutter lag is on par with that of the HTC Incredible which is a good thing. Pictures turn out like you would expect for a 5MP camera phone. Its color reproduction is on the warm side but does take above average photos. Despite having a smaller MP camera than others on the market, the Fascinate competes well with others like the Incredible or Droid X. 

Call quality is on par with that of the Droid X and Incredible, but the Speakerphone sounds a bit hollow. 

The battery life appears to be capable of holding out for more than a day’s use out of the device. I put this phone through its paces with apps, email syncing, Twitter/Facebook updates, and the battery still had juice left to spare. For those who have a smartphone, the battery will meet your needs, but don’t expect to go days without charging. 

Physically the device is attractive, but it also very light, even with the battery installed. The one issue with its physical makeup is the back of the device that feels a bit cheap. This may be because the phone is so light that the plastic makes it feel chintzy when compared to the Droid X. 

The device has a door that covers the USB port which is a nice change compared to other phones that have flap that tends to break off.

The volume up/down buttons feel firm and click with a satisfactory feeling of accomplishment and the power button also has a satisfying click to let you know you have engaged the button.  The home row buttons are touch sensitive and are accurate and easy to use. 

The device also comes pre-installed with Swype. If you haven’t ever used swipe before, it’s a quicker way to input text on a touch screen phone. Using Swype (read about it here) is purely a user preference, but it does work well on this device. But for those who don’t want to use Swype, the keyboard is spacious and easy to type with and shouldn’t be an issue for those accustomed to virtual keyboards.

Surprisingly, this phone doesn't boast the 'Droid' branding that Verizon has been pushing with its other high end devices. 

The Samsung Fascinate is the phone Verizon users have been waiting for since the iPhone came out The Fascinate is attractive, easy to use, loaded with features, and will leave the user generally happy. If you have been holding out for the next great phone and passed on the Incredible and Droid X, your phone has arrived.  It is easily the best phone available on Verizon for a well rounded, high quality, user experience.

The Samsung Fascinate will be available online on Sept. 8 and in Verizon Wireless Stores on Sept. 9 for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement.

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So this is what a 4" iPhone will look like. I'm impressed. So Samsung has Touchwiz, Moto has Blur and HTC has Sense UI. I love the Sense UI on my HTC Incredible. I will go check out this phone. I do qualify for an upgrade because I paid cash for my HTC. This looks very nice. I'm trying to be patient and wait for the WMP7 devices first. Just a few more weeks. I could use a grat xmas present to myself. The iPhone 4G sucks big time and I hate it.

I have the Vibrant (T Mobile) branded Galaxy S and very impressed by this phone.

Despite being Android 2.1 (it's getting 2.2 this fall) very snappy and responsive. Can't wait to see what 2.2 does on this thing

Only one big compliant *horrid* battery live indicator, you don't see a noticeably drop on the battery bar until your around 80%. Fixed that with a andriod app that gives me the real battery % as an indicator at the top.

etempest said,
I have the Vibrant (T Mobile) branded Galaxy S and very impressed by this phone.

Despite being Android 2.1 (it's getting 2.2 this fall) very snappy and responsive. Can't wait to see what 2.2 does on this thing

Only one big compliant *horrid* battery live indicator, you don't see a noticeably drop on the battery bar until your around 80%. Fixed that with a andriod app that gives me the real battery % as an indicator at the top.

I think the battery indicator works the same in stock android as well. Battery indicator drops below 90 or 80, then 70 or 60, then below 50, below 30 and below 20. I think.

Julius Caro said,

I think the battery indicator works the same in stock android as well. Battery indicator drops below 90 or 80, then 70 or 60, then below 50, below 30 and below 20. I think.

The battery works a little funny on Android, I noticed that too but after some tweaking got it to give me a good battery life and good indication. I recommend hitting up xda-developers they have some cool tweaks on their site!

I'm very curious about this phone. I might stop by the verizon store saturday to play with it. I can upgrade in November and I want either the Droid X or this.

yardman said,
this would look nice with WP7 OS on it....too bad Verizon is being a jackass about wp7 os.
And it's too bad WP7 isn't available yet. Probably explains why they're being "jackass" about it.

Simon said,
And it's too bad WP7 isn't available yet. Probably explains why they're being "jackass" about it.

haha

I have the Captivate (AT&T version) and it's so far and away the best phone I have used, it's scary. Samsung has been on a roll lately, and pushing this line out to all the major carriers was a stroke of genius. Well, not genius, it's almost common sense, if you think about it.

I was skeptical about Swype at first, but it really is quite impressive. The screen is simply awesome, and battery life is certainly adequate.

Hurricane Andrew said,
I have the Captivate (AT&T version) and it's so far and away the best phone I have used, it's scary. Samsung has been on a roll lately, and pushing this line out to all the major carriers was a stroke of genius. Well, not genius, it's almost common sense, if you think about it.

I was skeptical about Swype at first, but it really is quite impressive. The screen is simply awesome, and battery life is certainly adequate.

Touchwiz is kinda lame at times, but the beautiful screen more than makes up for it.

ObiWanToby said,

Touchwiz is kinda lame at times, but the beautiful screen more than makes up for it.

It's funny, they spend all this time and money on something which is at best a moot point and at worst a deal breaking hurdle that needs to be overcome with exceptional hardware.

ObiWanToby said,

Touchwiz is kinda lame at times, but the beautiful screen more than makes up for it.

Just disable it and run LauncherPro or equivalent. Heaps better.

Billus said,

Just disable it and run LauncherPro or equivalent. Heaps better.

Yep exactly what I did and the phone is awesome now! Can't wait for 2.2 on Captivate though!!

Ently said,
How many more Galaxy S phones are they going to release? damn!

They're all the same phone, but US carriers like to rebrand the phones themselves.

Hence you have the Vibrant, the Captivate, and now the Fascinate.

/- Razorfold said,

They're all the same phone, but US carriers like to rebrand the phones themselves.

Hence you have the Vibrant, the Captivate, and now the Fascinate.

They are the same but they're unique in that some carriers have unique features. Such as 4G or a physical keyboard. Quite interesting.

ObiWanToby said,

They are the same but they're unique in that some carriers have unique features. Such as 4G or a physical keyboard. Quite interesting.


Technically the Epic 4g (the one with the keyboard) is the Samsung Galaxy S Pro, not the regular galaxy S