T-mobile Finally Gets a Great Android Phone! July 16, 2010
T-mobile, the first carrier to even have an android phone (the G1), blew its lead with the OS on a stream of mediocre handsets. While the other carriers got newer and better devices, T-mobile lagged behind, until now. Finally, at long last, a quality handset has arrived: the Vibrant. With its good looks, blazing fast speed, and quality OS, T-mobile customers can finally upgrade to a great phone.
-The first thing you notice about the Vibrant is its big beautiful screen. The 480x800 AMOLED screen is sharp and beautiful, easy to type on, and shows plenty of detail.
-The phone itself is thin and light, with a nice curve near the bottom to hold onto.
-1 GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor is faster in benchmarks than a 1 GHz Snapdragon and offers enhanced graphics procesing
-The buttons are not buttons but touch sensitive surfaces, like a flat screen TV.
-16gb of onboard storage is awesome. Add a 32gb microsdhc card and you've got 48gb, more than the iPhone.
-3G connection takes advantage of T-mobile's ever expanding 3G network, currently the fastest of any carrier in many cities.
-5 megapixel camera takes decent pictures and records video at 720p.
-The big compromise here is the camera. While the EVO and Incredible have 8MP cameras, the Vibrant has only 5MP. Flash and Front Facing Camera are glaring omissions from this otherwise high end phone.
-The plastic feels a bit cheap, but this is the case with most phones these days.
-Garish T-mobile and Samsung logos detract from the smooth appearance.
-Android 2.1 is stock on the phone with a promised upgrade to 2.2 in the near future. The latest versions of android are fast, more battery efficient, and have fewer "force close" errors. Some highlights include animated wallpapers, 7 home screens, and support for flash in web browsing.
-The interface is fast and smooth.
-Samsung has managed not to screw up the interface to this phone like it did on the Behold 2. The customizations are useful and unobtrusive.
-2 backplates (shiny blue or shiny purple) for customization.
-Nice gelly earphones are higher quality than most phones.
-Charger is a solid usb/wall combo.
-Avatar movie shows off the phone's beautiful screen.
-Free Sims 3 game is a fun way to kill some time.
-2gb MicroSD card is a bit lame compared to the 16gb internal memory, but easily upgradable.
Overall this is a great phone. Some hardware compromises prevent it from being the best Android phone ever, but it is still the best Android phone for T-mobile, and is the phone many customers, including myself, have been waiting for. The phone looks great, is blazingly fast, and has plenty of bells and whistles.
Goodbye Pullout Keyboard, Swype on the Vibrant is incredible! July 16, 2010
Reviewer: Amy Gray (San Diego, CA) -
I was a die-hard pull-out keyboard junky, but using Swype on the Vibrant changed my mind forever. I could type 30+ words per minute on my G1 (my previous phone), and I'm a tad slower on the Vibrant using Swype, but that's just because there's a little bit of a learning curve. I'm convinced that I'll be just as fast on the Vibrant by this time next week.
In all respects, this phone is an incredible leap forward from the G1, and is light, sleek, and fast. The 7 customizable home screens make it easy to categorize my apps and widgets. The camera on this phone, in comparison to the G1's, is extremely usable and the results are comparable to point-and-shoot photos, even without a flash. Who likes "flashy" pictures, anyway? The screen is everything everyone has said. Coupled with the speedy processor, I can flip through photos in my Picasa or Flickr accounts in a flash.
I'm not jealous of my friends' iPhones anymore.
One of the best phones you can buy, but...e July 31, 2010
Reviewer: ViBu "Striderhayasa" (Philly) -
I'll try to keep this as brief and to the point as possible.
The Samsung Vibrant -
The form factor - great as it's not too big, not too small with a 4 inch screen. If you're coming from a nexus one or a droid then you may not like the amount of plastic that's in the phone or the light feel. But even though it's a plastic build, it's a compact solid build. At first glance it will remind you of a Iphone. Again, it may be a turn off depending on your tastes.
Screen - hands down one of the best portable screens you'll ever see. Uses Samsung's Super AMOLED technology which they seem to be keeping for their own products these days. Avatar as a pack in for the device is a great move. Seeing the clarity of that film running on a Vibrant is awe - inspiring. The screen is responsive and accurate. I've had no problems with it in that regard. Resolution is 480x800.
Software - the Vibrant is running android 2.1 which is good, but 2.2 on this phone would have been amazing. But to be fair the update is coming in september. It runs with a custom user interface (ui) layer on top of android called touchwiz 3.0. It adds some interesting features to stock android but at the end of the day, I found it to be totally unnecessary. I've found similar and better features in the Android marketplace for the solutions that Samsung has tried to incorporate here. There are some glaring missing features though. The user dictionary that's standard in stock android is missing here. Also the ability to add custom ringtones to your contact list entries is also missing. Both functions can be easily added by downloading User dictionary from the market as well as Ringo Lite. The phone ships with Swype virtual keyboard and its enabled by default. It also ships with Samsung's own keyboard as well as the stock android keyboard. Swype has been my keyboard of choice since it was in beta. it's very intuitive and is a great choice by samsung.
The Vibrant also ships with a version of Rock Player. This is significant. Rock Player allows standard and some not-so-standard video codecs to run natively on Android phones. Xvid, divx, wmv, mov, mpeg 1/2/3, FLV...its serious. Android always had terrible video codec support but now, the days of encoding video are over thanks to Rock Player. The player is also available in the marketplace but doesnt seem to be as polished. The GPS software is glitchy. There's a fix for it that has been discussed on many forums but Samsung is preparing an update for it.
Camera - the good news is the Vibrant takes great photos and videos. Videos can be recorded in "720p" but the phone doesnt have a flash. This was a major concern for me initially until I actually used the camera. In well lit areas, the Vibrant took great images. Night time shots were great too if ample light was available. If not, there's a night mode. It works for the most part but it left a good number of my pics a tad blurry.
Video worked as one would expect. I was happy to see consistent smooth framerate and no pauses or glitches in the videos I took with the device.
Hardware - this is what ultimately sold me on the Vibrant. It has a 1ghz Hummingbird (Cortex A8 core) cpu developed by Intrinsity with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU (graphics processor). What this means is this CPU/GPU combo gives the Vibrant better graphics/games performance than any other smartphone of its class. I didn't quite believe it at first coming from a nexus one with Android 2.2 (which I still own) but after comparing the Vibrant to the Droid, the N1, the Incredible, Iphone 3gs, and the DroidX, I noticed 3D intensive games ran smoother on the Vibrant. Consistently so at 60 frames per second. I did some research and found out why. That material is too much to post here. I'll leave it to you to Google it. But in short, the Vibrant is capable of processing 90 million triangles a second.
The Droid with a TI OMAP3430 CPU and a PowerVR SGX530 - 7 to 14 million triangles a second
Nexus one with a Qualcomm QSD8x50 (snapdragon) and a Adreno 200 - 22 million triangles a second.
Iphone 3gs 600mhz cortex A8 with a Power VR SGX535 - 7 million triangles a second.
Also, the Vibrant ships with 16gbs of internal storage and can use 32gb microsd cards. 1.7 gbs of that storage can be used for apps which is more than enough space and eliminates the need for saving apps to sd card. Avatar is a little less than 2gbs on the sd card that ships with the phone but it can be transferred to internal memory and run from there.
The phone lacks a trackball but there are virtual arrow keys in swype and the Samsung keyboard that help to make up for the loss. The camera is a 5 mega pixel camera without flash as was mentioned. The face buttons are virtual buttons and work most of the time but there were times when the phone didn't seem to recognize my press. I'm not sure if this is from Android or the phone itself, but its worth mentioning.
Phone - I've experienced no problems with phone calls on the device. Calls were clear on my end and the other end of the line. bluetooth worked as it should and pairing a headset was as easy as one would expect. There's no noise cancellation mic but the speaker on the phone is very loud for videos, music and speakerphone.
Battery life - This has been a topic of great debate and for good reason. My Vibrant has lasted an entire day with moderate use on a 1500mah battery. A day and a half with light use. It lasted about 6 to 7 hours with heavy use. That's watching Avatar for a bit, surfing the web, taking calls, downloading from the market, playing games here and there. It lasted my entire shift at work with me constantly configuring it, running it, using it. By comparison, my Nexus one with Android 2.2 cannot last the day with moderate use. I can get 5 hours out of it maybe 6 before I have to recharge. Heavy use with my n1 will net me four hours maybe 5. To be fair there might be a particular app or even Android 2.2 causing the drain because it wasn't that bad when I first bought it, but it is what it is at this point.
Final thoughts, the Samsung Vibrant is one of the best Android phones released thus far but it has some issues that are strange and keeps it from being the best. Missing utilities that are standard in stock Android and have been since Android debuted is very strange. No flash will undoubtedly turn off a few people as well as the lack of Android 2.2 in an environment that calls for it. But what the Vibrant does well, it does extremely well and solves some key issues for some older Android devices. Internal storage that's more than enough to hold any apps you desire as well as gbs worth of content, a screen that's drop dead gorgeous and easier to navigate, fantastic video codec support and a better cpu/gpu combo for superior performance especially with gaming. The Vibrant is the best phone you can buy at Tmobile if you don't need a physical qwerty keyboard. I'm happy with the device and eagerly await Android 2.2 for it.
Amazing phone: fast, beautiful, very well equipped July 17, 2010
Reviewer: B. Hansen
I had been waiting for this phone since it was rumored to be coming to T-mobile, so my expectations were very high after reading so much about it. Amazingly, it has surpassed all of my expectations. The first thing that hit me was how sharp and, well, vibrant its huge screen is. The colors are extremely rich. And once I started playing with it, I was very impressed with its blazing speed. I've installed my favorite podcast app, BeyondPod, and the podcasts download much, much faster than on my G1. Videos look amazing, especially Avatar, which was included on the 2 GB SD card that came with the phone. The phone also has 16 GB of internal memory. With a 32 GB SD card, the phone's memory can be expanded up to 48 GB. I was concerned about not having a physical keyboard, but Swype makes typing with the onscreen keyboard astoundingly efficient. In fact, with Swype both my typing speed and accuracy have gone way up. I'm using it to type out this review. An amazing thing about Swype is not only how fast I can slide my finger across the keyboard to type, but how good Swype is at getting the word right even when I miss a letter or two. Another thing that was a very pleasant surprise was that after I entered my Google account info, not only were my contacts, calendar and email all synchronized automatically, but when I opened the wonderfully done Gallery app, all of my photos from Picasa had also been synchronized. The gallery had a nice thumbnail of each photo, and selecting one of the thumbnails caused the full resolution photo to be downloaded and displayed. The galley app also does a great job showing off the Vibrant's graphic capabilities with a dynamic, 3D display that organizes the photos into piles that can be easily expanded or "restacked". All of this is done by the phone itself. The Vibrant doesn't need any bloated desktop software or paid services to keep it synchronized. Setting up additional email accounts was also a snap. As I type this review, I must comment again how great Swype is. It actually makes typing fun!
Setting up a secured wifi connection was also a snap. The web browser is excellent. Adding system controls such as wifi, Bluetooth, etc. to the pulldown notifications shade is an excellent feature added by Samsung. The stock widgets, such as Daily Briefing, Dual Clock, etc., are very nice, although I miss the calendar app on my G1. I'll get another one from the Market.
Having seven home screens is very nice, I like that I can jump to any one of the home screens by tapping on one of the seven dots that run across the very top of the screen.
I don't have any issues with the phone, but there are some minor nits. For example, my network connection generally seems to be stronger than what the bars indicate. Also, I miss having a trackball, but I'm finding out that with such a large, responsive and accurate touchscreen, a trackball isn't really necessary.
Whatever you want to call it, a smartphone, superphone or a handheld computer, the Vibrant is an outstanding device.
Finally a great Android Phone for T-Mobile July 16, 2010
Reviewer: Quikster (Charleston, SC) -
Great Phone. I had all kinds of issues trying to order the Nexus One and finally gave up. I've been waiting for something good to come out on T-Mobile since May.
This phone has a beautiful display and is supper fast. Only issue I've ran into so far is apparently none of the sales staff know to give it an Android Internet plan instead of a smartphone internet plan. Not really sure what the difference is, except one stops working after a few hours, and my brother had the same issue on his Nexus One he ordered online, so it's not even just the sales staff at my local store.
-Swype is super fast for input once you get use to it.
-Camera seems to take decent pictures and video with a decent selection of control over the functions.
-Really bright, huge, and responsive display. Some of the older displays can be a little unresponsive and sluggish like the Nexus One, MyTouch, but this one seems as good or better than my old iPhone3g
-Really light weight, but feels solidly built
-no flash on camera, may affect other people, but I never use those pitiful things so doesn't really matter to me
I look forward to spending some more time with the phone this weekend and figuring it out better, but so far it has been fantastic. If you need a T-mobile phone and want Android you should definitely look at this phone.
Great experience, but a few fatal flaws August 20, 2010
Reviewer: James Jurack
- Screen: The 800x480 Super AMOLED screen is huge and beautiful.
- Android 2.1: The best mobile OS out there except for Android 2.2, which is promised to be coming to this phone soon.
- Battery Life: My phone would be unplugged from 7am to 10pm every day, with moderate use throughout the day, and would never drop below 40% by the end of the day (though don't trust their notification bar icon -- its only possible levels are 100%, 70%, and 10%).
- The Form Factor: Surprisingly light and slim for such a powerful phone, especially one with such a large screen and long battery life.
- GPS: Most users (myself included) have noticed a VERY long time to sync to GPS. Samsung has promised a software fix in September, but if you use your phone for navigation frequently, you'll likely be out of luck until then.
- Compass: Any app that needs to know which way you're facing (Google Street Maps, Layar, Google Sky Map, Wikitude, etc.) just plain does not work. The compass is painfully slow to respond and inaccurate when it finally does. As with GPS, Samsung has promised a software fix, but if the problems stem from hardware it may not be much of an improvement. Only time will tell.
- TouchWiz 3.0: This is Samsung's skin on top of Android. They've replaced the home screen and notification bar, and their associated icons, as well as many of the stock Google apps (contacts, calendar, etc). I find everything about TouchWiz uniformly ugly. The icons are garishly colored. The tab layout of their stock apps is ridiculous - they take up an inordinate amount of the screen's height and are an ugly metallic blue color that clashes with just about everything else. The stock apps also leave out several features: for instance, you can't change the alarm noise for calendar alerts.
TouchWiz does has ONE nice feature: they include a power management widget in the notification bar, allowing easy access to changing these frequently tweaked settings from any app, without having to bail to the home screen every time.
Ultimately, if your personal aesthetic sense happens to be less offended by TouchWiz (or if you can find suitable replacement apps (I recommend LauncherPro for the home sreen)), and if you don't care about GPS or Compass, the Vibrant is an outstanding phone.
For me, though, the GPS and Compass were dealbreakers, and I personally don't have an optimistic view on the promised software fix. Maybe I'll try it out again when that's out -- though the G2 may be out by then, and it will have HSPA+.
Bye Bye BlackBerry July 22, 2010
Reviewer: Eric Laffoon "ubergeek" (Portland, OR USA) -
I actually went to the store and got this the morning it came available. I have been using BlackBerry phones the last few years as well as Archos media players. I also work from home and am a software coding geek. I got the [[ASIN:B002OL2PLU Archos 5 32 GB Internet Tablet with Android]], which I highly recommend. (especially if you don't get this phone) What I noticed is that I stopped carrying my BlackBerry around the house all the time and started carrying my Archos. BlackBerry is awesome and the new 9800 slider with OS 6 looks very nice... but I'm over 50 and like a bigger screen. I'm waiting for a good 7 inch tablet with everything. Phone wise switching from a BlackBerry to Android was unnerving. I'm not interested in an iPhone. I like expandable phones and I like T-Mobile as the most cost effective carrier. What follows is why I was comfortable switching.
I had hacked the Android Market onto my Archos and was familiar with lots of apps. I just got the Android Kindle app and Fox News released an app. Hint, they have iPhone and now Android... No BlackBerry. Why do people have BlackBerry phones? Well for one thing a physical keyboard has always been faster than a touch screen, and more accurate. For another thing being able to use your own domain name email easily and pack up to 10 accounts on your phone with push mail is what makes it king.
This is where it gets good. I tried a program called K-9 Mail on Android some time ago and didn't like it. It's an open source email program. Now this phone does easily allow you to have more than just gmail and does a fine job... but K-9 Mail has improved a LOT! It now does push mail from IMAP accounts. Let's face it, if you are using a phone and a PC for the same account it better be able to do IMAP. I tried to get in on the recent Swype beta. I never got my email. There is another very nice keyboard worth trying called Swift Key. Lately though I've been really falling in love with Swype. It seems I can type as fast or faster than with my BlackBerry 9700 but also as it does on the fly correction and learning I type more accurately. I find myself annoyed on my PC that it is so damn dumb now. That's the big two. As for security and stability I can't give the long term, but reading on developing Android I'm convinced it's closer to BlackBerry than iPhone.
Of course the rest of this phone is truly awesome It's blindingly fast and I'm giddy thinking how much faster it will be with Froyo. It's got gobs of memory so I don't find myself worrying about killing programs. I took the screen outside right away to see if I could read it and I could! Unfortunately the one downside to this screen is that you should carry a cleaning cloth because in sunlight you will see smears instantly.
I was using Twidroyd on my Archos and tried the new Twitter client and was unimpressed, but I tried Tweetcaster which was a pig on my Archos and this phone handles it great. If you like to game you will love this. It has 3x the triangle rendering speed of any other phone! Get a Wii remote and the Android software. I even tried an AV cable from the 3.5 mm jack to play video on my TV. For some reason it looked like it wasn't getting sync right because it was all garbage. I don't know if another cable might have fixed it but as I saw some video it seems more software or something, but I read this works on European phones and there was a place to select NTSC. Maybe I needed to set my TV to standard definition? What really impressed me was I have a portable HD recorder and I had made videos in 720p at 30 fps as My Archos can play these files and output them to TV through the dock. To my delight they play flawlessly on this phone. That's no small feat on an 800x480 screen. Everything on this phone is snappy!
My worst moment was answering my first call when I didn't realize you swipe, not click, the green image. I got the second call. I also use the Google Maps Navigation and downloaded the text to voice. Awesome! Unfortunately it took me to a place several blocks from my destination. I read about it online and while an OTA fix is on the way I followed the instructions to change settings and make GPS work right. I got an instant lock from in my house. My best moments were using my phone to record sales in my booth in Portland Saturday Market where several guys were talking and one asked if it was an iPhone and the other said it was better than an iPhone because it was Android. Perception is an interesting thing.
One last note, the battery is supposed to be really good on this, but it's really just okay... if you're not a habitual geek reading Twitter, browsing the web, showing people videos and taking pictures. The remedy is extra batteries. I couldn't find them on Amazon but on ebay I got 2 batteries and a wall charger for $14 with free shipping. I paid more than that for one BlackBerry Battery. Finally for those who say this is small and cheap feeling, it is svelte and sexy. It does lack a flash, but I got the best pictures of my cats without redeye ever. This phone could be more perfect if it came with a supermodel for a personal assistant, but short of that there isn't much to complain about. I love it!
Best phone, best price, best network. T-Mo is running as fast or faster than my Clear connection in Portland!
Just a few little issues holding back an otherwise AMAZING phone July 26, 2010
Reviewer: MadJoe (Littleton, MA) -
First things first, this phone is amazing! The screen is crystal clear, and as the name implies; Vibrant.
Pros: Amazing screen, blistering fast processor, Android, lots of storage, perfect fit for my hand, headphone jack, battery life (for a smart phone), and possibly best of all, not trapped to AT&T.
Cons: Signal strength, pre-loaded unremovable bloatware, slippery case, & FINGERPRINTS everywhere.
As for the pros, I can't say enough about the screen, or Android. You just have to experience them for yourself. But for the cons, I have to address each since this phone would be, hands-down, the best on the market today if not for them (hence the 4 star rating). First off, the Signal Strength. My last phone was a G1, and in my neighborhood I had reliable, steady signal (3-4 bars) and full 3g connectivity with it always. The Vibrant occasionally has 4 bars, and usually has 3g, but it jumps between 0 and 4 bars, and 3g and Edge sporadically when in my hand, or just lying on the table. I haven't had any complaints from anyone not being able to reach me, but the signal jumping is still concerning. As is the bloatware. Installed on my (my - as in MINE - as in I own it; not T-Mobile, not Samsung) are a few "Pay as you play" apps (meaning monthly, or per-use charges apply if you are foolish enough to use them, or some child gets their mitts on your phone and accesses them, etc.) that I can not remove from MY device. They are not essential to the operation of this device, nor are they essential to the T-Mobile network, so there is no reason I can see that they need to be unremovable. Thirdly, the case, while some consider it "cheap" feeling, is very smooth and feels very good to hold in the hand, but is slippery and hard to hold on to if you lose your concentration for even a second. The good news, for us G1 upgraders, is that the G1 pouch fits the Vibrant nicely (not perfectly, but good enough). Last is the finger prints. This beautifully smooth case, and gorgeous screen that makes you want to touch them, retain your finger grease like nobodies business! I suggest picking up an invisible shield cover since you'll be polishing it constantly, which will dull the shine on your case eventually (but, again there's silver lining: the Vibrant comes with 2 back shells, although one is purple).
Not deal breakers, but annoying none-the-less.
An amazing phone once you iron out the quirks September 15, 2010
Reviewer: Saji Samuel "Chitown" (Chicago, IL USA) -
Truly an iPhone competitor if not better. Having upgraded from an iPhone 3G to an iPhone 4 and finally to the Vibrant, I can confidently say I have found a phone that meets all my expectations. The iPhone 4 is a work of art, no denying it. Its the ultimate hardware device, but the Apple iOS simply doesn't match up to Android - it lacks an important factor, customization and flexibility. Android's open source model has changed the game. Its been 1 month since I made the transition to the Android platform and I do not miss the iPhone 4 or the iOS. The migration was painless; the same apps I have became accustomed to on the iPhone can be found in Google Market App, many of them free. Some of the most helpful apps I use today can only be built on Android given its open source nature and flexibility. And for the tech savvy user, you will appreciate the easy nature of rooting the Android OS which opens the door to even greater customization and flexibility options. There has been much talk of GPS and lag issues with device. This is not hardware related. With the amazingly active Android developer community, free fixes and tips have been released that have effectively corrected the problem. This would never be possible on the closely guarded iOS platform.
The Vibrant as a hardware device is beautifully built, not as sturdy as the iPhone 4, but nonetheless well designed. Its form factor and weight makes it disappear into your pocket and when its in your hands, it feels comfortable and well balanced. The screen is a must see, movies and games look gorgeous. The processor is super fast and multi-tasking between apps is a breeze, after the Samsung Galaxy "lag fix" has been applied. Google term to get more information.
A few other advantages:
- T-mobile plans are cheaper than ATT and Verizon. You maybe able to get additional discounts if you work for a large company that offers corporate discount packages
- Replaceable battery
- With T-mobile's less congested network, download speeds top over 1.5MB or higher in larger metropolitan cities. AT&T doesn't even come close. Call quality is great and I have yet to experience a dropped call.
- The phone uses a standard size SIM card (iPhone uses the new micro SIMs), and can be easily unlocked with a simple (free) app, great for international travelers. Micro SIM are difficult to find in international countries
- Finally as an added bonus, T-mobile is one of the few, if not the only wireless provider, to offer free tethering along with its unlimited data plan. Apps are available to make the configuration process easy, but upcoming Froyo release will have tethering built into the OS.
Great hardware, bad software, and little support from Samsung December 21, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Dailey (New York, NY) -
I'm pretty happy with the phone's hardware. It's durable, lightweight, and the screen looks fantastic. Battery time ranges from 8-24 hours, depending on how heavy your usage is.
The most pressing issue I've had with this phone is the lack of timely software upgrades from Samsung. I bought the phone in the summer of 2010. Samsung had insisted that they would upgrade the phone from 2.1 to 2.2. I (stupidly) assumed that they would follow thru with this. Every few months they promise an upgrade is just around the corner, but alas, there is no cake.
It's nearly 2011, and there's no update to Froyo in sight. Older phones, with older hardware, are running more up-to-date software thanks to companies who, relatively speaking, are on the ball (like HTC).
I'm quite disappointed in Samsung, and probably will not buy a phone supported by them in the future.
6 mbps! August 1, 2010
Reviewer: JOHN MCCREADY
8/12: Update, using speedtest dot com I got the download score all the way up to 6.23 mbps! Not on the device itself, but using the device as a modem for my laptop. The device is getting 3.5-5.5 mbps here at my office, but using it as a modem my Lenovo gets 4-6 mbps, and my Dell Latitude gets 1-3 mbps. Some day I'll have a computer geek explain why different devices are getting different download speeds from the same modem. All 5 of my computers and the Vibrant (over wifi) get .64 mbps on my $15/m DSL line.
Lots of excellent reviews about the device's hardware, screen and interface; what none of the reviews mention is that you can get download speeds of over 5 mbps thanks to the T-mobile upgrade to 3G Plus (HSPA+). The highest score I've gotten so far is an average speed of 5.6 mbps, but for a moment there that test was showing speeds above the 6 mbps range, it just averaged out to a little under that. Technically the Vibrant is not a true HSPA+ device and cannot do more than 7.2 mbps, but 2-5 mbps is what I'm getting, and that is 6x as fast as the $15/month basic DSL line that I have at home and office. There is an app for tethering with your laptop (or desktop) currently so you really get your money's worth. Sprints 4G on the EVO is not any better than this, they charge you extra for it, and the availability won't be good for another year.
The day I got it I was downloading and installing up to 3 apps at a time and streaming Slacker Radio while checking out all the features and going through all the set-up; there was never a lag, it can do all of these things simultaneously without any problems, it blew me away.
Phone reception is fine in most places, but when the signal is not strong, I do notice that a left-handed "grip of death" caused additional signal problems; depending on how I hold it I can watch the signal drop from 3 bars to 0, I switch grips and watch it go right back up. Sounds weird, but apparently Apple is not the only one with the problem.
Great phone except for the GPS November 5, 2010
Reviewer: Mark K "Toaster" (CT, United States) -
The Samsung Vibrant is a great phone overall (besides the GPS).
- The screen is awesome. Great color, bright, and large. The phone has a setting that automatically adjusts the brightness according to the light in the room (there is a little sensor on the front of the phone at the top right of the screen). Once in a while this feature gets annoying, like when a shadow hits the sensor, but it can be turned off so you can manually control the brightness. The way things pop up and change screens is cool too, similar to what I've seen on an iPhone.
- The speed is awesome. This phone does everything fast.
- The battery life is good. As with any smartphone, it depends on how much stuff you have running in the background, and how much you use it. NOTE: The first Vibrant I received had an issue with the battery; it would only last about 6 hours without any use. I returned it and got a new one and the battery life was much better.
Another point worth mentioning is that the phone takes a while to charge, especially if you charge it using a USB port. The included charger puts out more juice and reduces the charge time a little. Buy a Samsung car charger for your vehicle. I found that a generic USB car charger did not put out enough power to charge the battery while using GPS (the charge % actually went down even though it was plugged in). I had a 1000 mA generic USB charger. The Samsung charger puts out 700mA, but for some reason it worked better.
- The charge port is on the top of the phone, which is a little weird if you're switching from a phone with the port on the bottom (I constantly tried using the phone upside down). This is something you'll get used to quick
-The wake/sleep button is on the right side of the phone and it's tiny. This is a button that you will constantly, and it was a little awkward for me. It's higher than my thumb normally holds the phone, and I often found myself using one hand to hold the phone and the other to press the button. This was one of the biggest annoyances.
- The charge port has a neat little door that closes to keep junk from getting in and make the phone look better.
- The main function keys (home, menu, back, and search) are not real button but touch controls at the bottom of the screen. They light up, but after you haven't touched the phone for a few seconds the light shuts off, so you have to remember where the keys are if its dark (or touch the main screen first).
- The user interface is nice. I liked the way the apps were organized sideways instead of up and down. You also have 7 home screens that you can configure anyway you please. It's plenty of room so you can have one page for each type of app. I had a page for web bookmarks, a page for games, a page for the most used apps, etc.
- There is an issue with Google contacts that have a birthdate attached to them. If the birthday does not include a year, you cannot open the contact (an error appears if you try to). I'm not sure if this is a Samsung issue or an Android issue.
- The speakerphone is average. Not the loudest I've heard, but not too quiet. It sounds clear. While on the speaker, I'll mention the annoying sound that plays every time you turn the phone on or off. It's a t-mobile jingle, and there is no way to disable it, but the way the speaker is designed you can hold your finger over it while power the phone on or off and it will be practically silent.
- The music player is not that great. It works, but I couldn't figure out a way to just make it play all the songs I have randomly. I somehow got the phone to do it, but I don't know how.
- GPS Navigation, the only really bad thing about the phone and the reason I returned it to get a myTouch 4G. The GPS will get a signal and lock on very quickly in most cases, but after that it never worked for more than 5 minutes before it started showing me on side streets near the highway (while I was on the highway). It would constantly re-calculate, and sometimes crash the phone making it reset. I went through 3 Vibrants trying to get one that worked, and it just doesn't. I got an update from T-mobile, which I assumed was for the GPS issue, and it didn't help. I travel for work and one of the great things about a smartphone is that you can look up restaurants or other locations, then click on the address and the phone guides you there. No such luck with the Vibrant. Personally, I think it's a hardware issue and that no amount of software updates will fix it.
Lack of Support/Broken GPS January 17, 2011
Reviewer: Robert Kurzatkowski (Des Plaines, IL, US) -
The phone's hardware is amazing. The screen is beautiful and the camera/video recording are great. However, when one digs deeper, there are some major flaws with this phone that Samsung refuses to address. For many users, including myself, the GPS does not work properly. This was supposed to be addressed with the JI6 software update, which was a failure. It actually made my GPS more inconsistent. The volume buttons become loose after several uses. The beautiful screen has some serious flaws including a screen door effect. The company has also promised Android 2.2 repeatedly, stating that the update will come by the end of 2010. Well, 2010 has come and gone, yet there's been no update. The company only gives vague boiler plate responses - "Due to the complexity and unique functionality of each Galaxy S device, we are performing additional testing and are working to make the Android 2.2/Froyo upgrade available to all U.S. Galaxy S owners, including the Samsung Vibrant, as soon as possible." This statement is released, despite the fact that company has released the software update to all of its Galaxy S devices outside of the US. I'm sure it has nothing to due with the Vibrant + being released very soon. More like "due to the complexity of us releasing new, virtually identical phones with a higher markup, we won't keep your phone current." After this debacle, I will never buy another Samsung product. The company attempts to take advantage of open source software and treat it like closed source.
Can not recommend the Samsung Vibrant January 17, 2011
Reviewer: Hans-Erik Stegeby
Do not take me wrong. The Samsung Vibrant is a great phone. The screen is amazing, and CPU and GPU is wonderful, 13 GB space for data and 2 GB for apps. And so on. Samsung really know how to make good hardware. However their GPS and Digital compass is faulty most of the time.
However the reason I can not and will never recommend a Samsung product is because Samsung does not support their hardware with their software. They kept promising the next Android to be release to the phone shortly after the phone came out, which was in July of 2010. Then they promised that the upgrade would come in October, November, and last promise was in the end of the year. We have not yet received the upgrade, and Froyo, which is Android 2.2 has some important business aspects as well as features that will make the phone an even more amazing piece of hardware.
Samsung DOES NOT SUPPORT their phones. So if you are happy with just getting bug fixes or critical fixes pushed to your phone, and let it be outdated as soon as it comes out, you can get a Samsung product, if you would rather buy a phone that will get support for the two years you have your contract with T-mobile, you should look for another brand like HTC, Motorola or LG to mention a few.
Best phone I've ever used so far. July 22, 2010
Reviewer: andyjang8944 "Andy" (Los Angeles, CA USA) -
I won't write about phone specs of what it can do since EVERYONE probably heard/read it enough about the 1ghz cpu, 5m camera, etc. Yes, it does NOT have a Front facing camera and flash but no big deal. I'll get down to review. Phone is beautiful, with glamorous display. It looks better in person than watching a youtube video review about the display. It's thin, but sometimes it gets kinda warm/hot and that's the trade off. It is very light to hold and doesn't feel that cheap plastic feel for me at least. Touchwiz has pros and cons. It's nice but sometimes, it can get a bit laggy. No big deal since 2.2 Froyo update will be coming up in August/September or soon. That'll make it 2-5x faster. Camera is gorgeous but it wastes tons of battery, I heard up to 20% per hour or so...so just take a picture, and then exit the camera application. I don't use widgets since it's a battery drainer. People complain about the no flash for camera but there's a "night mode" where it makes it great for taking pictures so that's a definite plus. Four buttons on the bottom of phone are very responsive w/ haptic feedback. Swype keyboard is also very useful and works 99% of the time. One thing it needs about keyboard is international keyboard like Korean for me. The Android market kinda sucks to be honest, coming from the Apple App store. App store feels way more polished and cheaper with lots of more games and higher quality. The games on Android are more expensive and aren't that fun, also lower quality. THe battery icon is kinda off for the phone so a "Battery Indicator" App is very useful. People complain about the GPS not working but I found a solution for that. I will post the link on the bottom. Navigation works perfect but GPS location doesn't work indoor like apartment, it's kinda off by few hundred feet or so but works very accurate outdoors. I get 12+ battery life with these following settings. Have email accounts manual sync with auto sync off. Turn Wifi, Blutooth, GPS off, use and turn on only when you need it. I also use automatic display sensor but some ppl turn the brightness down but I'd rather have it auto so it's brighter in the direct sunlight. Another tip, I used the Application killer app but after researching, Android 2.1 already efficiently kills unused app so that is completely unecessary. Also, it screwed up my phone where my Wi-Fi wouldn't work and it kept on saying "Unable to scan network" so after hours of researching, you have to Factory Reset it and then wifi works again. So, do not download task killers. One more thing, with the Google Navigation, it's still on after you press the menu key so make sure to press the settings button and press "Exit Navigation" so navigation doesn't run on the background and make sure to turn off GPS after using navigation. 3G speeds work very fast for me in LA and preloaded Avatar looks amazing with the Super AMOLED. Vibrant will be the fastest phone with the upcoming Android 2.2 Froyo update so overall, this phone is highly recommended.
P.S- I have an iPod touch with iTunes as my major music source. After doing research, I wanted to sync my Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant with iTunes and found an easy solution. It's almost like direct syncing with an iPod. For those of you having music on iTUnes and wanna sync it to Vibrant, here's a useful site. It takes like 2 min to set it up. Very easy.
MY OVERALL CONCLUSION/LAST WORDS:
Pros: 1Ghz Hummingbird Processor with 512mb RAM (I think)
5MP Camera with Night Mode and other Modes (720P Vid Record)
Thin/Sleek/Slim/Light Design with 4'inch Super AMOLED Display
Samsung Touchwiz 3.0 with Swype
Avatar/Gogo/Sims3/Other Preloaded Apps
16GB Onboard Internal Memory with Expansion Option for SD Card slot
Android 2.2 Froyo Update in Near Future
Cons: No Front Facing Camera
Touchwiz slightly buggy/laggy at times
Battery Icon not accurate
Not the Best Battery Life
GPS requires manual fix by owners for some people
Could've used Metal/Higher quality materials
Android Market kinda sucks/Needs to improve
Not an HSPA+ Enabled phone for FASTEST 3G. (Still pretty fast atm though)
GPS Fix Link:
iTunes Sync Link:
Hope I helped all of you Samsung Vibrant users! Definitely Recommended.
Amazing Phone April 1, 2011
The Samsung Vibrant (Galaxy S) has been a necessary tool in my busy life! Between working, being a parent, going to school, and coaching, I need this phone to keep my life more organized and efficient. There are so many features I use my phone for besides just being able to talk to people. In a few minutes time I can check my voicemails, text messages, email, calendar, and even Facebook. I feel the thousands of apps available to me can be for entertainment purposes and useful tools. The calorie counter, GPS, weather channel, and dictionary are a few of the tools I use to be productive every day. For entertainment purposes, I can watch movies, download music, and play a multitude of different games. The phone also has a sleek look to it. The screen is clear, bright, and easy for me to read. I honestly cannot imagine not having my phone available to me. My life would be a little too chaotic without it!
Serious hardware issues. March 8, 2011
Reviewer: Robert P. Sterner
When I first got the phone the actual phone part died within 2 days. I couldn't make any calls or get data. I had to send the phone back to get repaired. Then, when I got it back the GPS didn't work. This was the case before I sent it back, but they didn't fix it. Apparently there is a severe defect in the assembly of these phones with the GPS. There is a metal piece internally that does not contact the actual antenna, resulting in horrible GPS performance. I got tired of how difficult it was to get Samsung to recognize the problem existed and decided to fix it myself. After taking my phone apart I made a simple 2 second fix that should have been done at the factory. After that my GPS worked fine. Couple this with an outright fight by the Vibrant community to get Froyo months after it was promised and I can say I will never buy another Samsung phone after buy them for 4 of my last 5 phones.
Love my Vibrant!!! February 3, 2011
Reviewer: Ed T (Texas) -
This phone has everything in a phone I could wish for. The Internet is really fast. The screen is so vibrant and colorful. Endless amounts of games and apps to choose from, especially with 2.2 now. I hardly use my laptop now that I have this phone. Very convenient to check all my cyberspace stuff on my phone at all times. All you have to do is just speak the website you want and the phone goes there. With swype keyboard I can send email and text faster than I ever could on my laptop. Screen is a very good size at 4 inches. Ive had this phone for about 1 month now and really love it! If there is one downside/con to this phone it is the battery. I got me an extra charger and have done a lot better that way. Overall I really recommend this phone, but get an extra charger and a case to protect it. I got this case (Amzer Luxe Argyle Skin Case for Samsung Vibrant T959 - Smoke Grey) and really like it.
Great phone but missing some key feature. December 30, 2010
-Best Screen at a Phone (Super AMOLED) Vibrant detail and very deep black kinda like Plasma vs LCD in TV comparing other phone. Much more vibrant details than Iphone, black level is very noticable.
-Light and Compact design, screen has gorilla scratch resist. My cat drop my phone ike 4 feet in hard wood floor it still no visible damage.
- Great sound, work flawless with buetooth stereo headset.
- Pack with Avatar whole film and Sims 3.
- Amazing Video Playback, especially with HD video.
- Catch good image and video for a phone, in good lighting like outdoor under good lighting condition it can cature some spectacular image and video.
- Screen resolutoin is lower than Iphone, not as sharp in text compare to Iphone, outdoor view bright sun viewis still not as good as LCD
- Not good battery life, had to charge every night. unless you not using the phone in anything just stanby, but stanby would die like 3 days if no charge.
- Still NO Update from Samsung in 2.2 not sure if T-Mobile delay or Samsung, Wish all Android phone get continous update like Nexus.
- Video playback not as good as the little brother Wave which has better video playback like support subtitle in MKV, the vibrant can't play many of MKV file which claim it can.
- GPS not working properly even after the restore appts, it still a big lag.
- Lack picture/video shuttle button, no camera flash.
- Lack Front Camera
This phone could easily be much better if just had this 3 feature such as front camera, back flash, and 2.2 out of the door.
cool phone but... October 6, 2010
Reviewer: not so much
I really like this phone with all its beautiful specs and fast processor. Its an amazing phone but its not as sturdy as other phones.
The problems i had with this phone:
1) Battery life is not the best. It wouldn't last for a day even at moderate usage. Also, the battery icon is a lie. it shows a full battery even at 80%. And it takes forever to charge. Sometimes, it would say that the battery is full charged but when you remove the charger it would show like 95-99%.
2) The back cover feels cheap. i have my phone encased in a rubber protector all the time. when i removed it i noticed that the cover was a bit wobbly on one corner.
3) The metal border was also a bit wobbly on the lower sides.
Its a cool phone but samsung should have made it more durable and less plastic-y. my 14 day was up so i couldn't return it anymore. I shouldv'e waited for the g2.