John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Samsung Galaxy S Captivate review

One of my friends bought himself a new phone so I talked him into letting me play with his old one. So I got a kick at this one. It’s really great to see devices from different manufacturers. It’s really great how each company is innovating in their own way. Samsung have come out with great products. I love my Samsung tablet so I was thrilled to get a chance to kick at this one. The device is called a SGH-I896.

The physicals on this phone are amazing. On first impressions the phone is VERY light and VERY thin. The back door where the battery, SIM card and micro SD slot hide is cleverly done. There is a slide out mechanism on the bottom of the device that allows you to remove an all metal back. It is well built and feels solid. This micro SD slot is accessible without removing the battery. A first in a long time for devices I’ve played with. The phone itself has 16G of storage as well. I’m a big fan of internal storage that way programs have places to store their data without having to put it on the uSD card which creates a clutter of directories on the card as well as presents issues when the card is removed.

This phone is quite light. It has quite a plasticy feel. It does not feel like a solid or robust phone.

The micro USB jack is hidden/protected behind a nicely designed sliding door. Very well done.

The power switch is on the side of the display and easily reached to turn the device on.

And that’s about it for the physicals. All in all a nice clean design!

Power on the device and you see where they got the name. It really is one of the brightest most vivid displays I’ve seen. Head and shoulders above the Motorola Droid 2 or the HTC Desire Z. It really is … wait for it … captivating! Sorry couldn’t resist …

The soft buttons on the bottom of the screen are not overly sensitive and I found myself having to press them multiple times to get them to register. It got a bit frustrating. Not since the HTC Desire have I had this issue.

The specs at this point are nothing extreme, standard 1G Snapdragon processor. But it provides a nice responsive feel. The OS is at 2.33 and Samsung have done some customization. The launcher includes 4 buttons on the bottom of the home screens but unfortunately they are not programmable. So for me, one of them is the email client which I don’t use because I prefer the gmail ap so is a waste. Dumb. The application launcher does not by default sort the applications alphabetically but you can change that. The calendar ap is basic. I was hoping it would be the same one I like from the Galaxy tab I have but it is not. The contact ap has a nice feature to be on top of a contact and simply slide to call them. Nice. The contacts ap does not support favorites unfortunately. An odd omission. The music player is basic. Nothing special. No music matching, o lyric display, no internet radio, no cover flow. Like I said, basic.

The phone does not include bluetooth tethering for some reason. The standard USB and WIFI tethering options are there but Samsung call them Mobile AP (access point).

The 3G radio itself seemed to be slower than either my Motorola or HTC in speeds. No idea why.

The 32G Class 10 card that the Motorola wouldn’t work with works perfectly on this device. The speed of the card is working perfectly according to SD tools.

This phone interestingly supports video out using either a composite cable that plugs into the audio jack or it can output in HDMI format using a proprietary cable that plugs into the micro USB port. Wow. Impressive! (Caveat I have not tried either).

The on screen keyboard works fine and the chosen default font is ok. A little small but not bad enough to make me wanna root the phone.

The built in SMS ap is very basic but at least it does support threaded SMS. When a text message comes up and the screen is locked the lock screen shows a nice jig saw piece to show you the number of messages waiting for you and you drag it over to an open hole and the screen unlocks and displays the text message. Nice. The default lock screen is quite difficult to use. You have to drag it all the way up or down or out to unlock and all the way up or down is difficult with one hand.

The battery status increments in 1% steps, unlike the Motorolas that increment in 10% steps. Battery life on this phone is amazing. By my calculations standby on data could be as much as 31.7 hours. With WIFI tethering on battery life could be about 7.1 hours. Stunning in comparison to my Motorola or HTC phones.


January 15, 2012 - Posted by | Android

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