Finally a true alternative to iphone. July 18, 2010
Reviewer: Steve Forlini
I've been holding off my upgrade for a while waiting for the next iphone (iphone4) or android to hit ATT. I went to the ATT store early this morning to finally decide between the iphone 4 and the captivate. I loved the feel of both units, but the captivate's curved body feels sleaker in the hand. While I was very impressed with crispness of the iphone screen; I powered on the captivate and I was even more blown away by the vibrance of the super AMOLED screen. I have spent all day playing around with the phone and have not noticed any sluggishness whatsoever; which was something I feared when looking through online reviews.. I mean c'mon it has the fastest processor out there. Also I read a blog that was spreading a rumor that the Galaxy S phones have a death grip like the iphone 4.. this is completely false as I live in New York where the iphone 4 has problems and have not been able to replicate the effect using multiple grips. So in conclusion I can't say that the phone is an iphone killer for sure.. but it is in my book. It all comes down to personal preferance. I have used the iphone os before and compared to the customizability of Android it comes off as old, locked-to-a-grid and bland. For your referance, I'm 20 years old; and I'm loving where ATT is going with android.
Things I've noticed:
Doesn't have computer software support yet, unless you search for the Samsung Kies software on your own. It detects my device and is compatible.
At first I thought that the USB wouldn't snuggly fit the phone but then I realized that I didn't open the sliding door all the way. But it fits perfectly fine when it is open.. my bad.
The ATT stock apps can not be deleted from the apps menu, but they can be removed from the home screens. It kind of increases the number of items in the menu by alot, but atleast some of those apps I might actually use.
You can download full office productivity suite in the Android Marketplace for FREE. It is called "quickoffice for captivate," and it syncs with your Google docs account and dropbox. I think that it is only free for certain phones as it is named "quickoffice for captivate" on my phone, but on my friend's droid it reads just quickoffice and costs around 10 bucks.
I love using this phone for taking video, in good light of course ;). The sound quality comes through very clear as long as you don't block the mic at the bottom.
An amazing phone with some features you might not know about August 1, 2010
Reviewer: M. Stevens (Tuscaloosa, AL) -
If you're looking for a capable and versatile smartphone, then you absolutely must consider the Captivate. I think most of the other reviewers have covered the basics of how the Captivate compares to the iPhone (and beats it), so let me mention a few features that you might not know about.
1. The phone supports syncing with Exchange out of the box. Not only does it sync e-mail, but it also handles contacts and calendar. I use it for my work e-mail, and it performs flawlessly. Needless to say, you can also connect via POP3 and IMAP.
2. VPN access is also available for those who need to connect to their corporate networks.
3. The basic browser is quite capable, but if you want something else, then you can choose Dolphin Browser, Opera Mini, or Skyfire, to name a few.
4. Although MS Office documents and PDF's aren't supported out of the box, Quickoffice for Captivate and Adobe Reader are free downloads.
5. Google Navigate offers free voice-guided, turn-by-turn GPS navigation. No need to pay AT&T for their service.
6. Wi-fi access is silky smooth. To enable it, pull down the notification drawer at the top of the screen and touch the wi-fi button. Wi-fi will turn on, and if you have never connected to an available network, a list of what's available will appear. Choose the network you want, enter any required login information, and click Connect. That's it, and, from then on, the phone will automatically connect to that network if it's available.
7. I want to mention a little-known app called Google Shopper. Install it, and you'll be able to shop for books and CD's by simply starting the app and pointing the camera at them. The app scans the cover or barcode and shows you prices from online and local merchants. Much faster than having to manually look up titles while you're standing in a bookstore aisle. College students wondering how badly the campus bookstore is ripping them off on textbooks compared to other sellers will appreciate this app.
8. And I can't forget to mention the Captivate's voice recognition capabilities. You can search by voice, and, if you switch the default keyboard from Swype to standard Android, you can use voice dictation for almost anything that you can type. And while it does make mistakes, they don't happen often.
9. Google Voice is available for the Captivate, something Apple will probably never allow on the iPhone. Need separate phone numbers for work and personal use? Then Google Voice is what you're looking for.
9. And finally, if you need or want Push-to-Talk similar to the service that Nextel offers, well, there are several free apps for that. They will only connect you to other Android users running the same app, but, for a business needing to have this functionality and interested in getting several Android phones, then such a solution is worth looking at. The apps are still a little rough around the edges, but give them a little time to mature.
My point here is that, although this is one beautiful phone, it's also extremely good at handling business tasks. Yes, it handles Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter beautifully, but it will also keep you in touch with colleagues and clients as well, if not better than, any other smartphone out there.
Can't Find Any Better Android Device July 18, 2010
Reviewer: TechGeek (D.C.) -
Yes Friends!! after having my hands on DroidX, Nexus One.... I would say this is the best available Android Device with 3 perspective
1. Screen Clarity
2. Great User Interface
Apart from that, here are some Pros:
1. Excellent Bluetooth Connectivity
2. Moto Blur like feature is cool
3. DLNA ( Which mean you connect this device to Samsung DVD player and Bingo...it integrates all the music and videos straight to the TV)
4. TV out capability is very good if not execellent
5. Phone and Speakers are astonishing ( YEAH!! No Antennae Reception issues)
6. 5MP is very good
7. Phone is even lighter than Droidx and Nexus One ( Was surprised with this result)
8.16 GB INTERNAL STORAGE
9. 512 Mb RAM, that mean any updates more than FROYO is possible (Remember do not buy any Android device less than 512 MB).
10. 3G speed in my area came to about 2.4 Mbps, which is about .3 Mbps faster than Nexus One ( when compared simultaenously)
11. Faster Wifi
Now here are few Cons:
1. No out of market App support ( off course this affects only small community of users, and blame it on At&t here)
2. 5 MP Camera is excellent, but a Flash would have been a Bonus.
3. No Notification Light, although the LED slot is visible ( not sure if this is a defect in my phone or it is standard, I will check back with Samsung and Update the review)
4. Wait for FROYO until September 2010.
All in all, if you are confused between iPhone4 and Captivate; My first and last choice will be Captivate coz of excellent Large screen and Freedom from iTunes. 4 Inch screen make Iphone4 look like a Baby. I am just surprised that Samsung has come up with such a Beauty!! and Nokia's, RIMs are still wondering 'WHAT WILL CONSUMERS LOVE??'
Fix the bugs and this is a 5 star August 28, 2010
Reviewer: MS "I have a Gadget Probelm" (Atlanta GA) -
I have owned a lot of phones. This one is awesome except for a few bugs in the phone that are extremely annoying. IF and when Samsung implements a fix, it gets a five star:
1) AGPS - the GPS as shipped does not use AGPS (cell phone towers) to find an initial position. using Google maps can take 15 minutes to estimate where you are. There is a fix out there on the internet, but you need to be a little techno to be able to implement it
2) GPS reception and lock. Even when you do eventually get a GPS lock (this can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes) the lock comes in and out. The GPS is almost completely unusable. After having several other phones and stand alone GPS devices, this is a huge disappointment. Please note: these are two separate GPS issues. Hopefully there will be a fix out there.
3) Laggy response. The phone os slow to update whenever you need to write something to memory. You will see this for example when marking an email as read or opening an email. You can see a 5 second delay. Again - there is a fix out there on the internet, but you need to root your phone to implement it, void your warranty, risk getting in trouble with the Phone cops etc. Note - when not writing to disk the phone is awesomely fast
4) Other little annoyances - long hyperlinks in an email aren't recognized i.e. when I get an electronic boarding pass emailed to me, the phone does not recognize the link and I can't use it.
5) No Skype - not Samsung's fault, but Skype has an exclusive relationship with Verizon. Still sucks to be a consumer.
6) Every once in a while, my email accounts just disappear. I have to reenter all of my details and download all of my email again.
Phone still gets 3 stars - it is awesome. Read all of the positive reviews and I agree with those. Just beware of the bugs. Hopefully they will get fixed.
Update - Jan 4 2011
A quick update on the bugs mentioned above:
1) AGPS seems to be fixed - there is a Samsung app in the market to restore settings.
2) GPS - GPS lock and positioning is still horrible. There was an update pushed out with "enhancements" but still the same problems. It still can take 10 minutes to get a GPS lock.
3) Still laggy response. It can take 10-15 seconds to open an email.
4) Still a problem
5) Skype is now released and works on all phones EXCEPT for the Captivate (and other Galaxy S phones). It is supposed to work for the next update (Andriod Froyo) but not Froyo update yet from AT&T
6) This problem appears to be fixed.
For the people with a Phone that shuts down frequently. I had this problem with my first phone. I returned it and got a new one and haven't had the problem since. If you get this problem just return it before the 30 day exchange period runs out.
Also - Samsung (or AT&T) appear to be pretty slow in updates. This phone still has "Eclair". "Froyo" which fixes a lot of bugs and adds features was released in May of 2010. We are still waiting....... The GPS problem has been known since the phone was released in July of 2010 and we are still waiting for a fix.....
THE iPhone 4 alternative August 5, 2010
Reviewer: Zooguitar (Los Angeles, CA) -
I'm a lifelong Apple user (Apple IIc, original 1984 Mac, various Macs through today), but I could never really wrap my hands around what I thought was too high a price for what the phone offered. Still, after playing with so many iPhones belonging to friends, and considering the ease of integrating it into my regular Mac lifestyle, I was ready to buckle down and buy the iPhone 4.
Thank goodness for product delays! I ended up doing more research with the time, and it turned out that the Samsung Galaxy S (Captivate for AT&T) was truly a great phone. You're getting a screen and processor that are indistinguishable in performance to the iPhone 4. The interface is practically the same as the iPhone. But you cannot beat getting an iPhone like device WITH expandability! I love the fact that my Captivate can store more (thanks to a 16GB SD card I bought for $25) than the top of the line iPhone, and still cost less. Plus, I can replace the battery easily without breaking warranty. Lots of programs to help you sync your iTunes library (and if you use Gmail, it's even easier to sync the rest). I would recommend the Galaxy S HANDS DOWN to anyone considering an iPhone.
Plays Xvid/Divx video. Need I say more?????????????? July 21, 2010
Reviewer: Mayvin "Reviewer" (New Jersey) -
In addition to all the positives mentioned by other reviewers this phone will play videos in XVID/DIVX format (without conversion)which is the format most of my videos are in. Not sure if any other android phone has this capability.
Ive been missing this since my Treo broke on me and resorded to a using a laptop to watch my videos.
It's so simple. Connect phone to computer, phone shows up as a thumb drive, copy file to phone music folder and you are done.
Also, important is the intangible that ATT does not offer insurance for the Iphone while it does for the Captivate.
Definitely Magical September 9, 2010
Reviewer: Pyanfar Chanur (USA) -
I've had the Captivate (or "Galaxy S") for a month now, and the whole time I've been bursting at the seams to review it...but first I had to take a little bit of time to separate what's great about the Captivate that's specific to the phone, versus what's great about a Droid-based smart phone in particular.
First off, the Android OS is really very enjoyable. The top-level screen can have 5 pages of whatever you like and the Applications page neatly organizes installed apps separately, to page through them as well. If you're not familiar with this concept, think of the top-level screen as being similar to the Windows or Mac Desktop and the Applications area as being similar to the Start Menu/Launch Bar of your favorite computer OS.
The best thing about the Captivate is the hardware: the screen really takes up almost all of the phone's face, and it's vivid, colorful, and bright. The battery cover is a slick one-two slide that makes it easy to access without being the first thing to fall off if you drop the phone. The 1GHz processor inside the phone makes apps speedy, and I even find it to be fairly nimble about data use, easily grabbing onto my favorite Wi-Fi networks when I'm in range, then switching seamlessly over to AT&T's data network when I'm not.
Then we have the good things about the Captivate: calls are clear, I've had strong and clean reception even when I notice a drop in bars, and on those rare occasions I step into a dead zone, it seems to try its very best to hang on to the call...I can't explain it in technical detail, it's just the gut impression I get when I've driven or walked through areas that typically give me trouble on any phone and against all odds I stay connected (my office, for instance, is up against a cliff wall that closes further in near the top of the building). One complaint about this phone (and many smart phones) has been battery drain, but I find it manageable: if I choose to use the Power Toolbar (built-in and easy to add) and Advanced Task Killer app (a separate download, and a must for any smart phone owner), I can go 2 or 3 days on a single charge. Usually it's easier to top it off at the end of the day or leave it plugged in when I'm not going to be using it for a while. While the Captivate seems very wide, it is also very slim and thus surprisingly light. I added the carbon-fiber hard case to the outside and it still weighs noticeably less than an iPhone 4.
Using the Captivate is fairly simple: the connector port for the charger or a data cable are one and the same: a "micro" USB connector with a tiny sliding door to keep dirt out. I much prefer this to the plastic peel-away tab that usually comes off in your hand if you're not careful. The charger that comes with the phone also pops apart into a data cable, allowing you to detach the AC outlet prongs and connect to the computer. And last, the navigation buttons are just four touch-sensitive spots along the base of the screen, with a slide rocker on the left side of the phone (for volume) and an unlock button on the right. I've heard people say it's hard to pinch a button on one side without accidentally hitting the other (such as turning down the volume when you go to unlock the phone), but I haven't had this problem.
More on the OS: using Android 2.1 (soon to be FROYO), I find myself discovering neat little features that I enjoy. For example, some of the wallpapers are interactive with the touch screen. When I'm playing music, if I need to pause, I don't have to unlock the phone: a tiny CD logo appears in the top with controls for pause/next/back. The "Swype" feature of the OS is extremely responsive. I didn't have to adjust any of this - the sensitivity really seems balanced between "must mash to get a response" and "breathed on it and accidentally deleted something". Unlocking the phone requires a tap of the button and a swipe along the touch screen. Even the tilt--a feature that began to annoy me in my Nokia phone--seems to both be quick to respond and easy to correct if you didn't mean to rotate the screen.
Much as I enjoy this phone, all is not perfect. The buttons sometimes don't respond properly. There are times I have to tap twice, and there are times I try to hit 'back' and accidentally hit 'search' instead. I'm not sure how much of that is in the programming, the hardware, or my thick thumbs. The Search window is extremely handy, but it doesn't always frame the search properly. For example, I might be in an app that has a long list of items on the screen, and search will zoom down the list straight to the item I'm looking for...and then in another app the search might launch a web browser and search the Internet for what I typed in. I haven't really learned a good way to scroll down a long screen: often I have to just flick downwards again and again until I get where I'm going. And probably the most annoying feature is the actual call interface. I haven't taken that final step to voice-activate my favorite call list, so when I manually drill into my contacts or favorites to find someone to call, it seems to require more steps than it should to place a call: find the contact, tap their picture, tap the "phone" icon, if they have two numbers associated with them you have to specify which, and then you get to tap "call".
The biggest drawback--and controversy--surrounding this phone though has to do with apps. I've been very happy with my selection from the Android Market thus far, but I understand AT&T prevents you from "side loading" other programs. Apparently if you want something the market doesn't have to offer, you need to download an SDK (a developer's kit for programming mobile apps), "root" your phone, and follow some very specific steps to get it to work...some of which may brick the phone. That's not bothered me here or there, but what has bothered me is my complete inability to remove all the AT&T garbage that's been loaded on the phone. For example, I like the Android Music Player app, but I really don't want the AT&T Music app that promises to guzzle data and stream all my music (and requires me to pay a monthly fee). There are Navigation apps that function this same way: now that I have Google Navigation, I'd rather yank the AT&T stuff off...but I can't. I can either ignore it...or go the "root and try not to brick" route. I've been an AT&T customer for almost 10 years now, and what I always liked most about them was my freedom of choice.
There have been some complaints about the fact that the Captivate's camera lacks a flash. It is a shame that this feature is missing, but apart from that I have to say that the pictures I have taken with the phone have been excellent, better than the first digital camera I purchased years ago and definitely better than the last phone I had, which did have a flash. The interface for the phone is dirt-simple, and can even lock in standby mode, in case you want to tuck it away for a bit, but be ready to shoot with a tap of the unlock button. The Gallery app in the Android OS does a snappy job of both organizing my groups of pictures and in making it easy to flip through: clean thumbnails tell me at a glance which collection of pictures I'm looking at so I can select the group I want to view.
If you're in the market for a smart phone and you'd like to try the Droid OS, I can't say enough about the Captivate. It's got a brilliant screen, speedy hardware, and runs the OS quite smoothly. If you're an AT&T customer, you should be prepared to ignore (or deal with) the pre-loaded apps. Either way, this is quite an excellent smart phone, whose benefits far outweigh its drawbacks.
USEFUL TIP: when connecting to a computer, it's not immediately obvious how to make it work, and a lot of people are having problems. When you connect the cable, the "Smart Phone (Kies)" option doesn't appear to work. Instead, you have to choose "USB (mass storage)"...which then still doesn't make the phone's files and folders show up in Windows--in Windows 7 it will just tell you a Samsung Captivate has been connected to the computer, but you can't "see" it. You have to take one extra step: from the main screen, access the pull-down menu. You will see "USB Connected" in the list of notifications. Tap that, and you'll get a prompt to "Mount" the phone. The moment you do this, everything works: the phone maps two drives (one for the phone's memory, one for your memory card) and you can access files and folders just as you do on a USB "thumb" drive.
My FIRST Android phone and I love it! Just returned Iphone 4. July 25, 2010
Reviewer: mld "mld" (San Diego) -
First, let me say that I switched to ATT because of the Iphone 3. I then switched everything to Apple products. So yes I am a MAC fan after the iphone. Naturally I wanted to get my hands on the Iphone 4 from my 3GS. I ordered the phone via the APPLE website. The phone came a few days after the launch date. I used it for a few days and started to notice it dropped calls every other minute! YES I did have a case. I went to the store and they switched me to another iphone 4. Again, the phone dropped calls but not as often. It does something totally different like calling another number while I was on the phone or switching the screen. I was told it has to do with the proximity sensor. Anyway I went to the store and tried to return that phone as well. I had the TOUGHEST time returning it because I told them I do NOT want another iphone. The ARROGANCE of APPLE is completely amazing! Anyway at the same time, the Samsung Captivate came out! What PERFECT timing! Thought I had to leave ATT to get a decent android phone somewhere else! Being a long time Iphone user, I was a bit apprehensive about getting the Captivate. I WAS WRONG! The phone is AMAZING! I am not very tech savvy but was able to figure it out! I love the screen. LOVE the free apps! There are tons of them. OK they are not iphone apps but for me, they do the job! The phone feels wonderful in your hands. And WAIT, it has not dropped calls for me even ONCE! Isn't that what a phone supposed to do first, make a call? What a concept! I am still learning but I am so glad I made the switch!
Not quite there ... October 19, 2010
Reviewer: A. D. Ladner (Gulf Stream, Florida USA) -
Oh how I wanted to love this phone! I'm a consistant anti-apple guy, and when my old Blackberry died, I figured this was the item. Great reviews and features, and not tied to iTunes.
I won't list the good points, read everyone's reviews. For ease of use, Android beats iOS4 hands down on most functions. Love the context menu button.
1. GPS not good. I was sitting next to my wife who was using an htc droid incredible, she was getting voice navigation and this phone hadn't found gps signal yet.
2. The on/off button and volume controls are perfectly positioned so that the left hand is forced to touch them in landscape mode! I can't tell you how many calls and internet sessions I disconnected.
3. When the screen dims, the "real" buttons at the bottom are not lit, so it's a guess where the "home" and "back" (etc) buttons are in the dark.
4. Compass was unreliable. (Yes I did the figure of 8 wiggle)
5. NO FLASH! Half of the pictures are poor (the others are great).
6. No voice dialing, wait for Android 2.2 Froyo (what the hey?). How are you supposed to drive safely without it?
7. I barely make a whole day on the overnight charge. (No video, No music, and not really a lot of internet)
Summary: The phone went back during the 30 day "trial period". The problems were mostly hardware, and I'm not sure why that should be. Why the vendors can't implement Android 2.2 more quickly is a mystery to me, again a hardware (developer) related problem. As for me, I'm singing the AT&T cell phone blues.
Horrible May 8, 2011
I'll keep the review short and to the point: This was my first android phone, I was very excited to have received it on my birthday, and having been a fan of previous samsung phones, I assumed it would be a smooth transition into this one. I was very wrong. While the look, features, and display of this phone are sleek and praiseworthy, I have to say that I have never been let down more when it came to actual functionality. The Swype texting is genius, and I found that this was perhaps the buying point for me. Soon after, however, I was plagued by a number of different problems, one after another, that would prevent me from using the phone to the extend it should have been used. Horrible lag time, freezing, dropped calls, bad phone quality in good-reception, and crashing are just a few of the problems that I encountered when trying to use this. This phone could not hold a call to save its own life, and while most of the apps work fine, sometimes the phone will just refuse to open and play some of them. Frustrating and unnecessary. I managed to overlook this a bit because I typically send SMS messages for contacting, and fortunately, there are some spots in my house where the call will come through and sound fine. Texting worked fine, until just today when I discovered that the phone will only send text messages I send, not receive them. This is unacceptable. For the price of this phone, I would expect to have at least the most basic of features working.. I am now left with basically a wifi-enabled game device.. which would be neat, if I didn't already have an ipod. As mentioned before, I have had great experiences with past samsung phones, particularly the samsung propel which I am wishing I had kept at this point.. I never expected to face this many issues with an android device, but if this is how they all perform, then I'm going to ditch the captivate, stay away from android, and substitute perks for functionality.
Samsung Crapdivate - How I wanted to love this phone. October 26, 2010
Reviewer: Captain Scarlet (Utah United States) -
I would love this phone if not for the following. I got this phone a week after it was released. The first issue I had was that the phone would not pull an updated from the AT&T Server. I would hit update phone and would get the error message "Unable to connect to the AT&T Server", I would then try again and would get the message please try again in 24hrs!!!!!! (this is forced by AT&T, you only get one shot per 24 hour period to update your phone!) Anyway I took the phone back to the AT&T store and was told that the reason I was getting that error was because there are not updates at this time. I said ok sounds reasonable. However a day or two later my buddy at work got the same phone, and when he tried to perform an update he would get the message "no updates available at this time"! So that is really when my nightmare started. I have been on multiple phone calls with AT&T and Samsung to try and fix this one issue none of which has resulted in anything other than frustration. Finally I got AT&T to send me a warranty phone (refurbished I might add!!!!) and pulled it out of the box put my sim in and turned it on, tried to perform the update and....... You got it same problem!!!
The next issue is that the phones GPS doesn't work, I won't go into this as this is well documented on here.
Another issue is that the phone will shut itself off randomly. It can be anything from 10 mins to 3 -4 days. This sucks as I use the phone as an alarm clock for work, also my 10 year old daughter has type one diabetes and needs to contact me at times regarding carb ratios, low blood sugar, and insulin shots, it is critical that I have a phone that works! How can I trust a phone that shuts itself off whenever it feels like it? I called AT&T warranty on this issue as well, you won't believe what the rep told me..... Well it's a phone sir if you want an alarm clock go and buy one!!!!!!! I was a little upset by that comment.
Pretty much all of my issues have occurred after the 30 day return period. I have researched all of these issues online and have found that they are all common to this phone. Samsung and AT&T are ignoring all of these issues and seem to be turning their backs on their customers. I know that I am just one person and others love the phone, however I would suggest researching the following on google before you purchase, if you feel comfortable after you research then have a nut:
Samsung Captivate Random Shutdown
Samsung Captivate GPS Issue
Samsung captivate unable to connect to at&t server
I so wanted to love this phone and honestly if it were not for the above issues it would be a wonderful phone. I walk away from this purchase feeling cheated, ignored and ready to leave AT&T as soon as my contract ends. Bottom line, BUYER BEWARE!
An almost perfect phone September 14, 2010
Reviewer: John C. Mayson IV "John Mayson" (Austin, TX USA) -
I am a gadget geek and a huge Apple fan. Despite this I have resisted buying an iPhone or any other smart phone for that matter. I was working overseas and my initial plan was to buy an iPhone upon my return to the US. However it was because of my trip that I decided against the iPhone. Android was my next choice and of all the Android phones I looked at, the Galaxy S (aka Captivate) was clearly the best.
I am not an iPhone hater, but I am going to compare and contrast this phone to the iPhone because I believe many who consider this phone also consider the iPhone and I want to share why I think this phone is the smarter choice.
I don't have a clear answer as to who calls the shots, but neither AT&T nor Apple will unlock an iPhone allowing it to be used on another network. This might make sense if the phone stays in a single country. However when traveling I need the ability to swap out the SIM card so I can have a number local to the country I am in. I met a lot of expats where I was working and none of them owned an iPhone for this very reason. It didn't matter if they were from the US, UK, or Germany, they didn't want a phone locked to a single carrier back home.
My second issue with the iPhone is I can't easily use my Google Voice number with it. I can with my Samsung. It's really nice having a US number I can use anywhere in the world there's wifi or 3G and not having to pay hefty international roaming charges.
Even if you don't plan to leave the country there are plenty of reasons to buy this phone and not an iPhone.
1. It integrates very well with your Google account. I instantly had my contacts, calendar, and email available to me.
2. The audio quality is very good. Others cannot believe I'm on a cell phone and I can hear them crystal clear.
3. While hardly a home stereo system, the built-in speakers are quite good.
4. You can use the phone like a flash drive and store any file anywhere you want. There's no clumsy iTunes interface that restricts what you can store on your own phone.
5. It plays every non-protected media format I throw at it.
6. At first I thought the voice recognition was just a "gee whiz" feature, but it's very handy when in the car to be able to speak a destination or business and have it find it. This feature works internationally.
7. I own an iPod Touch and so far every app I have on that I have found for Android.
On the downside.
I'm not 100% happy with the battery life. It's not any worse than an iPhone and I have adjusted my settings to squeeze more life out of each charge. I just wish it lasted longer.
The GPS is flakey. It drops the satellite too often and takes too long to find them. I'm told Samsung is aware of the problem and is working it.
UPDATE!! I had been able to use Google Voice from outside the United States. This is no longer the case. This isn't a fault of the phone, I can't dial out on my laptop either unless I am VPNed into the US. However it does make the Android platform that much less desirable. Other VOIP services are available, but none work as well as Google Voice.
FURTHER UPDATE!! After owning this phone for a month I've downgraded my rating to three stars. I love the Android operating system. It blows away iOS. But I have too many hardware issues with the phone. The battery life is absolutely pathetic. A few hours and it's dead. I have a battery saving app and keep wifi, Bluetooth, and GPS off unless I need them. I updated the phone which was supposed to fix the GPS issue. Now it doesn't lock on at all. If I weren't traveling so much I'd be tempted to return the phone, or at least demand a replacement battery. And lastly, I can't always answer the phone. I swipe to answer and it instead drops the call or just keeps ringing. I'll keep swiping and swiping until it finally goes to voice mail.
Divorcing with reason: non-functional GPS February 16, 2011
This phone is very attractive in all ways, but one.
After a three week device honeymoon I'm filing for divorce.
The reason I'm giving is that its GPS is dangerous to use for any serious activity such as driving.
Even next to the divider on 8-lane highways, the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate will suddenly place you on nearby local roads. In New York City, you'll hear unremitting barges of "turn left", "turn right", "make U-turn", as the device's idea of its place on the map skids around in the pattern of a native cockroach. This does not make for a companion that you'd live with if you need GPS. Otherwise, the phone is excellent.
My references for this petition are a Nexus One Android phone and various other GPS devices. Moreover, it is well-known by now that there is no solution to this problem, at least none has been offered. I did my half-day long due diligence on geek forums too late. Just Google "galaxy S gps" or read the Wikipedia entry and you'll understand my grounds. The various fixes don't seem to fix anything.
I bought this phone 37 days ago, one week beyond the 30 exchange period. Now, it wasn't easy, I talked to several people at AT&T and amazonwireless.com, but in the end a supervisor at amazonwireless.com was gracious enough to grant me divorce: I'll replace the Samsung Galaxy S with an HTC Inspire. I'll pay about the same as I'd paid for the Samsung Galaxy S (south of a hundred dollars). So I'm not joining the hordes of irate users, but I'd be wary of Samsung phone love. I'm relieved that amazonwireless.com was willing to help me.
The following announcement that's floating around the internet might be useful to buyers of Samsung mobile phone technology:
SEOUL, Korea - December 28, 2010 - Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a leading provider of advanced mobile technology, announced today that it believes that global positioning satellites providing signals to its Galaxy S devices are defective. "After months of testing and re-testing our hardware and firmware, we have concluded that there is no need for what has been referred to as a "GPS fix," as it is not our technology that is deficient," said Won Hung Lo, chief mobile device architect.
AT&T's Best Android at the moment November 18, 2010
I have recently moved to a Samsung Captivate from an Apple iPhone 3G. I won't go into all the frustrations I had with the iPhone 3G that made me decide to ditch it. I will say that I was not going to gamble on the iPhone 4G after seeing the antennae issues it had/has and how Apple operates by releasing new devices and slowly choking out the old devices with so called Operating System "updates". Each Operating System update I moved to on the iPhone 3G slowly killed it. And once you move forward on updating it you cannot move backwards unless you hack the device. I have a feeling this is by design to get people to move to the latest Apple device.
I did some heavy research to find that Android is a very capable operating system that allows much more customization compared to what I had. Over the past year I am glad to see some Smartphone challengers to iPhone. I really wanted to give an Android phone a try for a change especially since it came with a 30 day return period.
I have had my Captivate for 1 week now and I know for sure that I am NOT returning it within the 30 days. I like this phone a lot. I am keeping it.
Things I like on the Captivate:
- Absolutely no dropped calls. Phone quality was very good.
- Thin and light with a nice size 4" screen.
- The AMOLED touchscreen is amazing.
- I can turn WiFi and/or Bluetooth on/off with one swipe and button push! Love It, so fast and easy!
- Fast processing, very responsive due to that 1 GHz Hummingbird processor.
- The music player is incredible. The overall graphics and the 5.1 surround setting - brilliant.
- Widgets! You can manage power and settings by adding widgets to your home screens - awesome.
- More Widgets! Your social networking, weather and news on your home screen updating when you want.
- 16 GB onboard memory for storing stuff.
- Expandable up to 16 GB memory on microSD card.
- Impressed with the camera even though there is not LED flash with it the pix are really sharp and clear.
- Can load your own Ringtones, Alarm Tones, and Notification Tones - awesome.
- Ringer and tones come across loudly if you need it compared to other phones I have had.
- Ability to manage certain settings and services in order to extend your battery life between charges.
- Able to sync the bluetooth with my Ford Sync radio in the car so I can be hands free through the car radio.
Some challenges with this phone:
- No LED flash for the camera, but the camera quality is amazing anyway.
- No front facing camera, but is there really much of that going on now anyway (bandwidth issues / adoption).
- You will need some moderate literacy with technology see my tips below on those topics.
- Can't delete some of the bloatware applications, but they are hidden down in the application pages.
- Single Phone speaker is located in the back of the phone (would rather have 2 of them at the bottom edge).
- Phone speaker is a little weak. Makes playing music without headphones not worth it.
- Conference calling with the speaker could be challenging if you are in a loud room.
- Can't really manage my Yahoo mail account from the messaging app - like move messages to folders and such.
- Really need to manage your settings to make the most of battery usage, but there are tools available to help.
Tech Tips for some of the features (do Google searches or YouTube searches on these for more info):
When connecting your phone to your computer via USB a little icon will show at the top left corner, touch it and swipe down. You will see the storage area listed, tap it and then click "Mount". Now your computer will see your phone storage. It took me a while to figure that one out. Once mounted you can even use Windows Media Player to sync and manage your music or any other 3rd party application out there like Doubletwist.
You can make short clips of MP3 music from your libraries using iTunes by setting start and end times for the riffs or part of the song you want to capture for a ringtone, alert tone, or notification tone. Do that, then copy the bits of music to the appropriate media folder on your phone and you will now have sweet Ringtones, Alert Notifications, and Alarms... Search for how to make MP3 ringtones using iTunes. It is easy. Search on where to store them on an Android device and it will tell you the folder structure. There is also an Android marketplace application for this as well.
Manage your battery. Go to Settings, Applications, Running Services on your phone to turn off stuff that is running and eating up your battery. The services wont start up again until you launch the needed application. Then remember to go in and turn the service off. Or get an application in the app store to help with this.
Bottom Line for me is this phone is great. If you can get over some of the minor technology hurdles (there are not many) this is an amazing phone that looks and performs great, handles phone calls, takes great pictures, has a killer music player, has tons of storage space, and can be customized to your liking. I think the minor technology hurdles for some of the functionality are well worth the price for having the versatility of this phone. I was growing tired of the Apple operating system on their iPhone and the way things are so structured. Everyone's iPhone is the same, whereas with an Android phone you can customize what you want on your Home screens.
Note: I have gotten over the inability to manage my Yahoo e-mail folders on the Captivate (maybe there is an Android marketplace app for this), I can't do this functionality with my work Blackberry and Corporate Lotus Notes either so just a minor annoyance I can live with.
Note: The next Android Operating System update v2.2 called Froyo as of now is not yet released for Captivate, but once it is released it will make the Captivate even better.
Would be 4-5 Stars if the GPS worked. October 19, 2010
Reviewer: Jan (Brookings, OR USA) -
The bad GPS is a "known issue" with numerous news articles and blogs all over the techie side of the internet. There are several supposed fixes out there. Apparently they worked for some users, but not me, and not many, many other users if the comments are to be believed. However, ATT/Samsung released an operating system update on September 22 that has now disabled access to the GPS settings, so you can no longer even try the "fixes" that were floating around.
Samsung released the Captivate in the EU months before the US, and knew about the GPS problems then. They've known in the US for a while now too. I think they've known since something like May or June 2010 based on the stuff I see on the internet. Still no fix and now it's October 2010.
Why GPS? Well many of the coolest apps use the gps. Google Maps, Google SkyMaps, Google Earth, Yellow Pages, UrbanSpoon, Weather apps, etc. GPS is now integral to the smartphone experience, and everyone else's GPS works.
So to me, the major finding about the Captivate that prospective buyers should know is that many (if not most, hard to tell) users report worthless GPS. To contrast, with my wife's BB Torch, both on ATT (not that that should matter), standing side by side under clear sky, she gets a location in about 3-4 seconds. I never do no matter how long I wait.
It's real shame because this phone is so strong in so many other ways. The great screen, snappy performance, clean flexible OS, great sound quality, etc are all for naught.
A few other niggles that might be important to some users (Yes, you can "root", "jailbreak" or otherwise get around some of these, but I am referring to the phone as shipped and intended for use, for the average consumer):
Limited to Google Android App Store, and you must create a gmail acct to access that.
Can not remove bloatware, some reports that it is running in the background using up battery life and slowing machine. Can be fixed with an app.
Voice dialing limited to Gmail address book, doesn't work on phone's native address book. Limited voice dialing with bluetooth, although Froyo (Android 2.2 OS update) which is supposedly coming some time or another is supposed to fix that.
Hard to hold phone and use camera. Hard to keep fingers out of image. Camera non-intuitive. Ships with image stabilization off. Turn it on asap.
Overall design is just a little too slick and slippery. Hard to hold.
On the plus side: Sound quality is great, push email is great, screen is great, snappy performance, many fantastic free apps. It would really be great if the GPS worked.
Amazing Phone August 10, 2010
Reviewer: I. Mohammed (Chicago, IL) -
Just like any other At&t user I had the option of the iPhone 4 or the Samsung captivate. For me it was a no brainer, I get an android device that is as good if not better than the alternative. Highly recommend this phone.
I should however point out that the gps takes its time to start. I have heard that a patch will be coming out soon.
p.s. The display is amazing
-- 6 Month update - 12/2/10
By now its confirmed the device has the following issues which Samsung most probably will never fix.
1. GPS is broken - absolutely not reliable at all.
2. The device shuts down randomly
3. After sales support is horrible
4. After a while the phone is super slow
All the above are known issues and most probably hardware related. You can research more on XDA forums. I installed a custom rom and now the phone is a lot faster. The other issues still not solveds.
Would I buy it again - Definitely not. My first Samsung device and most probably the last.
Terrible Warranty Administration March 29, 2011
Reviewer: Tom Monaghan (Fort Worth, TX United States) -
Samsung copped out on repair of 4 month old phone. Claimed "corrosion voided warranty." Phone spent 2 months in high humidity of Key West, FL.
Phone went to "Green Screen of Death" during upgrade to Android 2.2 one month after return from Florida.
Does the FTC need to force Samsung to disclose this design weakness? Will discontinue touting this phone to friends. Would have been a great phone if it were built properly.
To remain on ATT I will need to spend more $ on an HTC Inspre. Really dissapointed in Samsung's rigid and unrealistic customer "service", (Sic.)
I would strongly discourage anyone buying this phone for use in any but the driest climates, (e.g. desert.)
jury is still out - lousy GPS; keep your charger handy November 5, 2010
Reviewer: D. Lawson
I love the look and feel of this phone; great screen, nice still camera, video camera, android alternative to iPhone, etc. I've had it for about 4 months.
There's basically one reason I gave this only 3 stars at this point. I travel a lot and need a GPS device. The GPS system on this phone is laughably inaccurate; it has difficulty fixing a proper location and as a result it is constantly rerouting you as you head toward your destination. Virtually impossible to use in an unfamiliar city location - hmmmm, isn't that precisely where you need to use your GPS? I'm hopeful that Samsung will develop a fix for this. Otherwise, this alone will be enough for me to get rid of the phone after my contract expires. In the meantime I'll go back to carrying a separate GPS device.
11/28/2010 update - A firmware update was released that's supposed to fix the GPS issue. I installed the update - it doesn't. Still pretty much worthless as a navigation aid. One other thing I should have mentioned in my initial review: with its large, beautiful screen, this phone uses a lot of energy. Most days, where I go to the office and am not using frequently during the day, I usually just get to the end of the day and the battery is depleted. On days with heavier use, such as when I'm traveling, I need to re-charge during the day. A car charger accessory is essential.
Big Disappointment February 19, 2011
Bought this for my wife last May. We've finally given up and are paying to do an early upgrade to something different. (Small price to pay -- otherwise she's going to break it in half and stab me in the head with it.)
I'd read great reviews of the phone. The specs look great, but we found it buggy, unreliable and often non-functional. Even after doing extensive troubleshooting, trying hard resets, etc., it has problems maintaining a wifi connection, often refuses to retrieve e-mail (even from Gmail), and frequently shuts itself down inexplicably. Google Voice, which is supposed to be a baked-in feature, doesn't work that well. And the notification system doesn't do a very good job of actually notifying you that something needs your attention.
Even at maximum volume, the ringer is difficult to hear. The function/navigation buttons at the bottom are sluggish to non-responsive. The screen responsiveness is lacking. And Samsung/AT&T don't seem to care about pushing out software updates or upgrades. We've been waiting for months for Froyo hoping it would solve some of the problems, but we're unwilling to wait any longer.
On the plus side, since it's unable to check e-mail and such as that, the battery life is much better than on my iPhone.
Maybe our kids will be able to use it to watch movies in the car or something.
ADDED JUNE 22, 2011 --
While my wife was using the Captivate, she consistently bumped up against her data cap on our AT&T plan, and sometimes went over. She's now using her iPhone 3GS FAR more than she EVER used the Captivate (web, Facebook, etc. -- she's on it all the freakin' time now) but we have yet to get an e-mail that she's nearing her data cap.
In part this is because the Captivate's wifi didn't work well at all, so all her usage defaulted to the cell network rather than our wifi, but she didn't use it that much because the Captivate was so buggy and unreliable. So there must have been something else at work with the Captivate that was eating up data.
I don't suppose it's possible to give the Captivate negative stars, is it?
Don't get this phone if you need it to also handle navigation January 5, 2011
Reviewer: Alex P.
I had high hopes for the Captivate. I had to upgrade from my Motorola Backflip which if you think the Captivate is memory bound just look at the Backflip. Having seen a Captivate from a person in the seat next to me on the airplane I knew it was the phone I wanted to move to.
It wasn't until I got the phone that the one feature I depend on as a road warrior, GPS, doesn't work well on the Captivate. Getting a GPS lock takes time. Tracking while moving in a vehicle and it can't keep up. I tried all the "settings" people posted which basically only helped the initial lock time from minutes to less than a minute. Tracking is useless. Since I truly love the other features of the phone I sprung for a GPS dongle which hopefully will resolve my GPS issue. But a phone as expensive as the Captivate it should have GPS working out of the box. Even the Motorola Backflip GPS works better than the Captivate which is sad. On the Captivate I tried Google Maps Navigation, Waze and CoPilot Live which all worked just fine on the Backflip on the same streets I've tried the Captivate out on.
Otherwise all the great things people have posted about the screen are true. Memory wise it is way better than the Backflip and the processor is loads faster. Photos are amazing even without a flash. Haven't done a video yet.
But I can't recommend this phone due to the poor quality GPS. Even rooting and installing Android v2.2 (Cognition ROM v2.3b8) made no difference to navigation. The lock is slightly faster but it just does not keep up on the road. You need a GPS dongle (see below) to get navigation to work. I used the Google Navigator application but Waze and CoPilot Live both exhibit the same behavior with the built in GPS.
[Update: Jan 7, 2011] Received the GlobalSat BT-395 from Amazon and it works with the Captivate! Download the free "Bluetooth GPS" application from Android market and use that to connect to the 395. This has made the Captivate function as a navigation device... finally. Though I do have the downside of having to carry yet another device in my jacket pocket and remember to charge it up every so often.
I also happened across an issue of Consumer Reports yesterday that ranked the Captivate right behind the iPhone 4. This is another reason I've stopped relying on Consumer Reports. They rated the navigation on the Captivate as "Very good" when it is not.
[Update Jan 19, 2011] Knocked it down to one star because GPS does not work for navigation on Android v2.2 using the Cognition ROM. I do not recommend people go down this path unless they are highly technically skilled. But it doesn't fix anything. The lock time is faster than stock but navigation is still too far behind to be of any use. This looks like a hardware problem. Avoid this phone if you need to use GPS for navigation (unless you invest in a dongle like I did).