Walt Mossberg reviews the Captivate
This is a discussion on Walt Mossberg reviews the Captivate within the Samsung Captivate forums, part of the Samsung Android Phones category; I've been testing the first two Galaxy S phones, the T-Mobile Vibrant and the AT&T Captivate, both of which cost $200 with a two-year contract. ...
Walt Mossberg reviews the Captivate
I've been testing the first two Galaxy S phones, the T-Mobile Vibrant and the AT&T Captivate, both of which cost $200 with a two-year contract. Neither has all the features of Apple's latest model, like a front-facing camera for video calls or an ultra–high resolution screen, but they are worthy competitors. They have some attributes the iPhone lacks, like bigger screens and better integration of social networking.
WSJ's Personal Technology columnist Walt Mossberg takes a look at Samsung's Galaxy S smartphones, which run on Google's Android operating system. He tells us whether AT&T's Captivate and T-Mobile's Vibrant can compete with the iPhone.
The T-Mobile Vibrant has rounded corners and a prominent border that make it look very much like last year's iPhone 3GS model. The AT&T Captivate is more angular and, to my taste, looks sleeker. Though the two phones share the same battery, the Vibrant claims better battery life. The Vibrant is longer but a bit lighter.
Both phones are multi-touch models which lack physical keyboards, though the upcoming Sprint version, the Epic, will have a slide-out physical keyboard and a front-facing camera.
For Android phone makers, a key challenge is to differentiate their models from others offering the same operating system. Samsung has chosen to do so by combining a design that's almost as thin as the iPhone 4 with a generous, four-inch screen. That's significantly bigger than the iPhone's 3.5-inch display, but smaller than the huge 4.3-inch screen on the Evo and the new Motorola Droid X, which would force the phones to be larger.
In my tests, phone calls on both models were crisp and clear. Reception on the AT&T model was about the same as on the iPhone 4, which only works on AT&T. The five-megapixel camera took sharp pictures. The camera also did a fine job with video, which is high definition. Battery life was good, though not exceptional. The phones lasted through an average day of varied use.
Walt Mossberg tell us how Samsung's new Galaxy phones, the T-Mobile Vibrant and the AT&T Captivate, stack up to Apple's popular iPhone. Plus, WSJ's Don Clark tells Digits why smartphones are such a key bottom line connection for Qualcomm.
The screen on the Galaxy S is based on a different technology than those on most other smartphones. It's called Super AMOLED, and Samsung claims it has better color reproduction, contrast, outdoor visibility and brightness. To my eye, the Galaxy S screens did look very good, but seemed no better, indoors or outdoors, than the iPhone 4's screen and were slightly less sharp.
Samsung has also added some of its own touches to Android. Users can add Samsung "widgets," such as a Buddies Now module that quickly allows access to your closest contacts. There's also something called the Social Hub, which integrates social-networking updates and media with contact entries. This is a common feature on Android and Palm phones, but isn't present on the iPhone.
While it's improving rapidly, Android still isn't quite as smooth as the iPhone's software, and on some Android models I've tested, it can slow down or have a jerky quality. Not so on these Samsung models. Performance in every function I tested was snappy.
Another nice touch on the Samsung models is a generous amount of internal memory—16 gigabytes—in addition to the common removable memory card, which in this case holds two gigabytes but can be replaced at extra cost with a roomier card.
Also, Samsung says the new phones can hold up to two gigabytes of third-party apps, the most I've seen on an Android phone, which, unlike the iPhone, places limits on total app storage.
Like other Android phones, the two Samsung models offer around 65,000 third-party apps, including popular titles like the Kindle e-book reader and Facebook. That's far fewer than the iPhone's 225,000 available apps, but well above the measly 7,000 or so apps available for the BlackBerry.
There are some drawbacks. Like other Android phones, the Galaxy S models don't come with a program like iTunes, which allows easy synchronization with content on a PC or Mac. You can plug the phones into a computer for manual transfer of files, but this only works smoothly on Windows PCs. On Macs, you must turn on something called "USB debugging" to make this work.
I also wasn't crazy about the home, search and other buttons on these phones, which are found on a panel below the screen but not easily visible until you touch the panel and light the buttons up. That, in effect, means you have to touch twice to use them.
Still, for consumers who prefer Android, or who—in the case of the Vibrant and the coming Sprint and Verizon versions—would rather not be on AT&T, the Galaxy S phones present an appealing alternative to the iPhone.
Check out the videos here: Walt Mossberg Tests Galaxy Phones From Samsung And Finds They Are Worthy iPhone Rivals - WSJ.com
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I forgot that they have 16GB of internal memory.
Credit goes to ee0r.com for my avatar.
Its too bad someone didnt point ol Walt to Kies as a iTunes substitute.
Or DoubleTwist or.... Really though, iTunes is both a feature and a drawback. It's convenient to push a button and sync everything, but the fact that you can only sync with one device is a pain.
I also think he needs to realize that Super AMOLED is claimed to have better sunlight visibility than regular AMOLED. It's never claimed to be better than the iPhone. In my testing with a coworker who has an iPhone 4, the readability is about the same. This cannot be said for Nexus One or Desire AMOLED screens.
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