John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Samsung Galaxy Captivate Glide SGH-I927

I love my keyboards. On screen keyboards take little to no time to drive me nutz. So unfortunately, that means the devices I’m going to love are limited. My last phone the Motorola XT860 is a slider and on paper the specs are almost identical to this phone. What drew me to this one is I was wondering if interoperability might be better between my Samsung Galaxy 7 Plus tablet and this one than with the Motorola. And so I thought I’d play. The Motorola is also not the most stable phone ever. The physicals on these two devices and even the specs are almost identical. The major difference being weight. The Motorola weighs in at a hefty 184 grams Vs 150 for the Samsung. The Motorola definitely feels like a much more solid phone. The Samsung feels more plasticy and cheap. The screen on the Samsung is bright and vivid. Maybe even a little more so than the Motorola.

The keyboard on the Samsung is not as good as the Motorola. It’s more flat, harder to touch type on. And the spacing and unusual placement of keys means this is going to take more getting use to than normal. They have included a home, back and arrow keys too, very nice. The arrow keys themselves are in such odd places that I often end up hitting them in error and find myself messing up.

The power switch on the Samsung is on the side Vs the top on the Motorola. The top is much better so it doesn’t accidentally get pressed. The Samsung is way to easy to turn it on in your pocket and waste battery.

The back of the phone is flimsy and cheap. But removing it is easy. The back is heavily textured making it easy to hold but the many raised edges are easy scratched revealing white plastic any time it’s dropped. The SIM card and uSD card can be removed without removing the battery. The uSD card slot is one of the better ones making it easy to install and remove.

The Samsung properly supports a Class 10 uSD card. The last three Motorolas were all unstable with the class 10 and I had to buy a class 4 because of it. Yay!

The Motorola has a nice standard microHDMI connector. The Samsung uses a proprietary pig tail but at least it is cheap and easy to find on ebay as are spare batteries. The video out unfortunately is only 720p Vs 1080 on the Motorola. There are actually 2 different pig tails on the market. One is called an MHL and are cheaper. I bought one of these and while it worked it was intermittent. Would drop out, crashed the phone if connected at boot etc. Now there may have been something wrong with the one I had so I can’t say for sure. The second device is called an HDTV adapter. It looks a lot like the same one I have for my Samsung Galaxy Tab but with a different connector on it. Even this one is a little buggy to say the least. Booting worked ok with it connected but things did not work properly when it was there at boot time. The cleanest was to follow the EXACT order (HDMI cable, turn on TV, Power to the adapter, then plug into the phone) in the instructions and only after a clean boot of the phone. When it worked properly audio came out properly on HDMI cable, the phone did not constantly go into lock mode etc. But to say this is buggy would be an understatement. The Samsung web site is not helpful at all in telling you which options work with this phone. But I found the same (poor documentation for the accessories) problem for my Galaxy Tab 7 Plus.

The micro USB jack is hidden behind a nice sliding cover. One of the best designs I’ve seen ever.

From a camera point of view they are again almost identical, the Motorola can do 1080p video while the Samsung can only do 720p, so a downgrade.

As expected Bluetooth tethering does not work on the Samsung. It seems only Motorola support this handy feature. Pooh.

Bluetooth mouse including press and hold work properly on the Samsung (unlike on the Motorola). You can even drag the mouse to slide left and right (again unlike on the Motorola). So it works much better than on the Motorola. Right mouse button as usual does not work and is the equivalent of the back button. This could be convenient. The Option button on my keyboard worked properly on the Motorola. No such joy on the Samsung. So you need to press the button on the phone if you need the options menu. As usual, one step forward (or three in this case) and one back.

USB OTG (USB) works with a standard micro USB OTG jack which is cheap about $5 on ebay. This allows you to plug in a keyboard/mouse/USB key. All of which work well. The media scanner (which populates the music and video ap) supports USB storage. Yay!

Samsung have added support for a new standard called WIFI direct. It allows two devices to connect over WIFI to send files much more quickly between each other without an access point. While this sounds like a great idea on paper and I was looking forward to playing with it, I ran into a couple issues. First the DLNA client does not recognize the WIFI direct connection making it useless for this purpose. Second when I sent a large file between the two they connected all right, but as soon as the phone sent into standby it turned off WIFI thus severing the connection and terminating the transfer. So a great idea messed by poor execution. Did they even try to use this before they shipped it? Took me about 5 minutes to figure out they had botched it. And this was between two Samsung devices. So they couldn’t even get that right. Disappointing. I have to admit this was one of the things I thought would improve going to both Samsung devices. NOT. And to top it off you also can not use Allshare (the DLNA client) when you have the wireless access point running. So the ONLY use you get of Allshare is when both devices are connected to an access point. Shame. Potential wasted.

Battery life on the Samssung is much better than on the Motorola. On the Motorola I would struggle to get 12-15 hours out of it. I get well into the 20s on the Samsung. Impressive. What a difference. A spare battery is much less important on this phone. Still want one just for piece of mind.

Sometimes it’s little things that make the difference. On the Motorola there is an LED that turns green when there is an email, blue when there is a text and red when the battery is VERY low. The Smasung unfortunately does not have any LEDs meaning you need to power it on to see if there is a message waiting. Very unfortunate. I miss it. There is an ap called NoLED or Missed Message to make up for this.

The screen on the Samsung is the same size as the Motorola but it is lower res 480 x 800 Vs 540 x 960. The positive side of it is text is larger and thus no need for root. It’s a bright and vivid screen.

The Samsung like a number of the newer phones has internal storage. This ends up being used by programs for data. There are a number of positives with this design. First it keeps the SD card from becoming cluttered. Second when you remove the SD card the programs all run just fine. It is a design point I wish all the phones would use. On this one it’s 8G Vs 13G on the XT860. But it’s plenty. You can use it to store content (music/videos/pictures) but I use it only for program storage, ringtones and pictures you want to use for wallpaper.

The slider on this phone definitely feels better than on the Motorolas. A nice snap to it.

Like the last Samsung I played with you have to use a PC to upgrade (and even check) the firmware. I hate this trend. The Motorolas on the other hand do it over the air. It uses a program called Kies which can also do content management. But it does that pretty badly. I’d skip it for content management.

It does however mount a web server (called Kies Air) that you can use to put files onto the phone wirelessly as well as see call logs, send and read text messages etc. You start Kies air on the phone and that’s it. It shows up as a uPNP device (this can be disabled). There are a couple of annoyances to Kies Air. First of all the program insists on asking once a day for authorization for access. Second, by default it also times out to save battery life even on AC power. There are limited settings for the program. For example it would be nice to have the option to start Kies Air when on AC or on WIFI etc. It also lacks an exit which on the previous version leaves an icon in the tray in spite of doing nothing when off WIFI leaving little choice to remove it but start a task manager and manually terminate it. Now the icon is gone but the program remains chewing memory in spite of doing nothing ant auto starting when WIFI is restored. Overall I love the functionality of this program. I just wish for some improvements.

The Allshare (Samsungs DLNA client) is much improved on this device. And I was able to play a video without interruption, even after the device went into standby. Woohoo.

This is definitely a low end device. Don’t be expecting any indestructible Gorilla glass. So better be careful with the screen. It will likely scratch easily.

This device like a number I’ve encountered lately includes MTP which means instead of the internal storage and SD card showing up on your computer like a drive, it shows up as a device. One of the benefits of this is it doesn’t need to unmount the SD card from the phone when the PC is connected.

One thing that always irks me with all of these sliders is they detect the rotation of the device but choose to totally ignore it when it comes to the homescreen unless the keyboard is out. WTF.

Overall the UI is the smoothest I’ve ever seen. The Motorola was good but there were occasional lags. The Samsung UI also includes nice features like the homescreens slide right into each other from end to end. Rather than feel like your at the end of the world. Just a continuous smooth transition. Same thing with the Apps launch screen.

Video playback is very good, especially if there is hardware support. I had an MP4 file that was not supported by hardware and playback was awful. But this seems to have been an isolated thing. I was even able to playback a movie and stream the audio through bluetooth, completely in sync!

Motorola designed a desk and car dock for the XT860, unfortunately there are no docks for the Samsung.

The Samsung is the first phone that having wifi on did not interrupt bluetooth playback. A problem I’ve never understood.

As with past Samsungs the 3G data radio is no where near as fast as the competition. I get around 2Mb/s Vs 3Mb/s on the Motorola. This is something Samsung need to work on. No idea if the much better battery life and slow speed might some how be connected.

Overall the music on this device is much better than on the Motorla, although the UI is very different. I found the Motorla would constantly forget where it was when you stopped and started albums you were listening to. Quite annoying. The Samsung connects with BT quicker and starts right where it left off. A welcome fix. Funny when you comments and compliments start with the lack of a bug 🙂

Here’s a bizarre one … the video app does not include a delete function. WTF. I tell you, one thing I have come to learn is all these smart phones are a collection of unfinished, imperfect programs. The one you like the most will be the one that irritates you the least. I must also admit, as they have got better and better, I am doing more and more with them and demanding more! HDMI out on a phone? Who would have thought.

So all in all I like this phone. Samsung have done a pretty good job. It’s collection of bugs are things I can live with. In spite of being a step down spec wise from the Motorola I prefer it. The better battery life, smoother UI and better Bluetooth functionality mean I prefer it. Samsung have been promising an ICS upgrade to the OS for this phone for quite a while. I’m looking forward to trying it!


May 13, 2012 - Posted by | Android

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