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The Verizon Fascinate (the Samsung Galaxy S) launches Wednesday in stores. The phone, like the Android platform in general, is not without its detractors. However, its top hardware all but guarantees that it will be a hot seller on America's largest network.  (Source: Engadget)
Bleeding-edge Android smartphone goes on sale Thursday at stores

Samsung's Galaxy S may be late to the Android game, but it quickly established itself as the Android phone to beat, selling one million units in the U.S. alone in its first 45 days of availability on Sprint and AT&T.  Likewise, the "Fascinate" on Verizon may be off to a late start versus its brethren -- the T-Mobile Vibrant, the AT&T Captivate, and the Samsung Epic 4G (Galaxy S Pro) -- but seems destined to be a hot seller in its own right.

Verizon, the largest cellular service provider in the U.S., aired a commercial last night revealing that the Fascinate would hit stores September 9th, the same date previously rumored based on leaked shots.  That commercial was followed by an official press release from Verizon today, listing the price as $199.99 USD with new 2-year contract and $100 mail-in rebate.  The release also revealed that the phone would launch online a day early on Wednesday, September 8th.

The phone packs an LED flash that its GSM brethren the Vibrant and Captivate lack.  Unlike the Epic 4G, however, there's no pull-out keyboard and no 4G modem.  Also missing in the Epic 4G's front-facing camera for video calling.

The phone packs a pretty standard 512 MB of RAM, a microSD slot, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1, and an AGPS radio.  While the phone's screen size 4-inches isn't the biggest on the market (see the 4.3-inch HTC EVO 4G or Motorola Droid X) and its resolution (800x480 pixels) is also less than amazing, the screen is an AMOLED, which means it should deliver sharper crisper images versus WVGA TFT LCD displays in phones such as the Droid X.

Where the phone stands out is its GPU – an Imagination Technologies PowerVR SGX 540, a step up from the PowerVR SGX 530 found in the Droid 2/Droid X and the PowerVR SGX 535 found in the iPhone 4.  Samsung's CPU, the 1 GHz Hummingbird Cortex A8 ARM processor, appears to be a top performer in terms of raw performance.  Benchmark site GLBenchmark shows the Hummingbird processor outperforming similarly clocked ARM processors in the iPhone 4 and Droid 2/Droid X.

Of course the GPU/CPU advantage is largely subjective in the majority of performance scenarios and most users will see little difference overall.  For those who game heavily on their smartphones, though, it may be a deciding factor.

Reportedly, the phone will get an even bigger boost when it gets an update to Android 2.2 Froyo later this month or early next month, which features Just-in-Time compilation of Java code..

The rear-facing camera is a solid performing 5-megapixel design whose shots rival 8 megapixel units due to the quality of the image sensor.  Early customer reviews report that the phone can get up to 2 days of use out of its 1500 mAh, which is significantly better than the HTC EVO 4G, which gets at best a day on a charge (barring significant process/OS tweaking).

Despite its solid hardware, some aren't impressed with the phone.  In its review
Engadget disliked the look of the phone and some English grammar errors in the GUI.  Despite praising the hardware, and being "particularly impressed" by the 720p video, the site concludes its review on a resoundingly negative note, writing:

When it comes to Android on Verizon, there are some seriously excellent choices, and what it has to come down to is: is the Fascinate at the top of that heap? From where we stand, the answer is an obvious "no." It's not that the device isn't a solid phone or a reasonably capable Android representative -- it's just that Samsung and Verizon have made far too many compromises on this device to class it with something like the Droid Incredible or the Droid X (though we have complaints about the latter device's software as well).

The conclusion goes on to blast the Android OS in general, writing:

Unfortunately, the Fascinate (and perhaps the entire line of Galaxy S phones) are a byproduct of Google's ongoing fragmentation issues and seeming lack of focus for the Android platform. As partners scramble over each other to differentiate their products through often meaningless software tweaks, the end user suffers by being served with rushed, incomplete devices made more complex and less stable by companies that should be concentrating on making great hardware instead of "fixing" Android.

Despite this criticism, Android is currently the top selling smartphone OS in the U.S.  While there are indeed some issues with individual OS distributions (and iOS is not without its own issues), the platform has proven the favorite of the majority of American customers at the moment. 

While the phone may lack the looks and polish of the iPhone 4, according to some, the Fascinate appears to be destined to be a top seller for Verizon.



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Not impressed
By cknobman on 9/7/2010 10:31:28 AM , Rating: -1
Been to the stores and played with several variants of the new Samsung phones and I dont see what the hype is about.

Build quality is not on par with HTC and Motorola phones.
Samsung UI is ugly and a ripoff of iOS, plus the home screen transitions are choppy.
Super AMOLED screen while colors are beautiful and bright, makes the pixels looks gigantic. Ive never looked at a premium class smartphone with more visible pixels before. Very dissapointing.
Battery life sucks big time.

Overall not what I was expecting considering all the hype around these things. A super fast proc and graphics card are not enough to make me overlook obvious flaws that would be staring me in the face very time I use the phone.




RE: Not impressed
By Quadrillity on 9/7/2010 10:38:33 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Build quality is not on par with HTC and Motorola phones.

Motorola? Are you kidding? My Captivate is a great quality build.
quote:
Samsung UI is ugly and a ripoff of iOS, plus the home screen transitions are choppy.

People need to shut up about apple. Apple isn't the holy grail of everything technology related. I have no choppiness issues.
quote:
...makes the pixels looks gigantic.

What?... You can't even distinguish pixels on my phone until you zoom in on text far enough that a single letter takes up the entire screen. You are spreading FUD.
quote:
Battery life sucks big time.

Evidently you don't have one, because you have no idea what you are talking about.


RE: Not impressed
By Gungel on 9/7/2010 10:54:37 AM , Rating: 3
I have to agree with you, the Samsung Galaxy phones are stunning. I really don't know what the other guy is talking about. Nothing choppy at all, the home screen is as smooth flowing as it gets and the screen is simply stunning.


RE: Not impressed
By cknobman on 9/7/10, Rating: -1
RE: Not impressed
By InvertMe on 9/7/2010 1:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
and making up faults doesn't mean they do exist.


RE: Not impressed
By Gio6518 on 9/7/2010 1:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
As far as the pixels go YES it is very obvious when looking at the screen (at least on the EPIC 4G).


i have 2 epic 4g phones in my house and neither experiences the issues your claiming........

check your running apps, maybe you have some that are running constantly, draining battery, using up memory, etc.

quote:
Apparently you fail at reading comprehension.


i'm thinking you failed, even your spelling is atrocious


RE: Not impressed
By theapparition on 9/7/2010 11:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
I think Samsung was very smart in making a class of phones that overall are quite similar and available on a variety of networks. The phones are certainly not without thier problems though.

The released versions do have build perception issues. Not neccessarily that they are poor quality, just that they are cheap feeling. In fairness, the Droid Incredible is solid but also feels somewhat cheap with that flimsy back cover. But overall I'd agree, build quality is nowhere near HTC and especially Motorola. Some hate Motorola, but they build most of thier phones like a tank. The Fascinate does feel better than the Vibrate, but still is cheap feeling.

The TouchWiz UI is aweful. Much worse than NinjaBlur, which itself is not in the same league as Sense. As for the homescreen transitions, couldn't agree more. However, there are fixes for the "lag bug" that signifigantly improves Galaxy S performance. Only problem is that the average consumer (majority) won't know to do this and would be left with a sour impression of the phones performance. Here is where Samsung needs to get thier act together, big time. They've always had pathetic support, and leaving some things in almost an unfinished state is not helping improve thier perception.

SuperAMOLED looks great. Colors are oversaturated, which average consumers prefer. Contrast can't be matched. But the pentile matrix ruins the overall effect. This is where the screen could improve.

Battery life is actually quite good, until you try using the power of the PowerVR 540. 3D games look great, but be prepared to watch you battery meter drain.

Also, no notification LED. Are you kidding me? I have to unlock the phone everytime to check if I have a message.

And Jason, again would you stop with the OpenGL benchmark trying to compare CPU. As I was reading, I thought you finally got it and separated out the GPU. But no, further down you still talked about the CPU. The CPU in the Galaxy class phones use the exact same Cortex A8 as the Droid2/X (although the OMAP has better memory access). Quandrant scores higher on the Droid2/X devices. So at least if your going to be fair, post a range of benchmarks with a disclaimer that benchmarks results are somewhat chaotic and favor specific platforms.

I've extensively used a Vibrant and briefly used a development sample Fascinate. The Fascinate did feel better, but the software was similar. GPS on the Fascinate did work better than the still barely functioning one on the Vibrant.

So as good as the Galaxy class of phones look on paper, I think Engadget summed it up quite nicely. Not in the same class as the Incredible or X for the Verizon network. Here's an example of how on paper everything can look better, but the finished product is not quite there due to bugs or rushed hardware/software.


RE: Not impressed
By JasonMick (blog) on 9/7/2010 12:28:20 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
I think Samsung was very smart in making a class of phones that overall are quite similar and available on a variety of networks. The phones are certainly not without thier problems though.

The released versions do have build perception issues. In fairness, the Droid Incredible is solid but also feels somewhat cheap with that flimsy back cover.


The Incredible is made by HTC, not Samsung.

quote:
Also, no notification LED. Are you kidding me? I have to unlock the phone everytime to check if I have a message.


No you don't have to. Your phone will vibrate or beep depending on what your sound settings for incoming messages is. This is pretty standard for smart phones (e.g. other Android handsets/the iPhone).

quote:
And Jason, again would you stop with the OpenGL benchmark trying to compare CPU. As I was reading, I thought you finally got it and separated out the GPU. But no, further down you still talked about the CPU. The CPU in the Galaxy class phones use the exact same Cortex A8 as the Droid2/X (although the OMAP has better memory access). Quandrant scores higher on the Droid2/X devices. So at least if your going to be fair, post a range of benchmarks with a disclaimer that benchmarks results are somewhat chaotic and favor specific platforms.


WRONG. The GLBenchmark splits CPU and GPU performance into different numbers. The results show the Galaxy S is a top performer in both areas.

For example:
http://www.glbenchmark.com/phonedetails.jsp?D=Sams...
GLBenchmark HD ES 1.1 CPU Skinning : 1672 Frames (55.7 Fps)
GLBenchmark HD ES 1.1 GPU Skinning : 1673 Frames (55.8 Fps)
GLBenchmark Pro ES 1.1 CPU Skinning : 1167 Frames (23.3 Fps)
GLBenchmark Pro ES 1.1 GPU Skinning : 1834 Frames (36.7 Fps)

AGAIN:
http://www.glbenchmark.com/tools.jsp?benchmark=glp...

GLBenchmark HD and Pro for OpenGL ES 1.1
.....
Two different versions for character animation:

GPU skinning (Matrix palette)
Software skinning ( calculated entirely on the CPU )

Please don't accuse me of misinformation, when it is yourself that is spreading it.

quote:
The released versions do have build perception issues. Not neccessarily that they are poor quality, just that they are cheap feeling.


Again I think that's subjective. Having touched and played with the Epic 4G and Captivate, I think they're on par with most Android phones including Motorola's and HTC's flagship models. The criticism at Engadget comes from a site that is infatuated with the iPhone 4, which it calls the "best smartphone on the market right now". Not surprising that they wouldn't like the looks of a non-Apple product.

quote:
So as good as the Galaxy class of phones look on paper, I think Engadget summed it up quite nicely. Not in the same class as the Incredible or X for the Verizon network. Here's an example of how on paper everything can look better, but the finished product is not quite there due to bugs or rushed hardware/software.


Engadget was blasting Android phones in general, while singling out the Galaxy S. Amazingly they had no complaints about the hardware, though they labeled it as pedestrian, curiously leaving off the fact that it has a better GPU than Droids/the iPhone 4. Their actual voiced complaints before the conclusion were minimal and all centered around a perceived "bugginess" of Android OS itself and lack of polish in look versus the iPhone.

I'd say that's highly subjective and in my experience incorrect.

I own an HTC EVO 4G so I'm not probably ever getting a Galaxy S variant, but from my time with them, they seem like they would be great phones to own.


RE: Not impressed
By fleshconsumed on 9/7/2010 2:19:17 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
No you don't have to. Your phone will vibrate or beep depending on what your sound settings for incoming messages is. This is pretty standard for smart phones (e.g. other Android handsets/the iPhone).


If true about lack of notification led that is actually a legit issue. When I'm at work I always set my phone to vibrate and often enough I miss a text message because I cannot feel it. Checking notification led is much easier than pressing power button every time. Similarly at home I don't carry my cellphone on me every time, instead I just leave it on the table. If I leave the room temporarily and miss a call/text, blinking notification led is much more convenient than constantly pushing power button. So yes, it is an issue.


RE: Not impressed
By Quadrillity on 9/7/2010 3:27:51 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if I would classify the absence of LED notification an "issue". More like, "I wish this was a feature of this phone". But it certainly doesn't present a problem. It would be more convenient though.


RE: Not impressed
By AznAnarchy99 on 9/7/2010 4:08:40 PM , Rating: 2
I dont know about the fascinate but the Epic 4G does have an LED to notify you of missed calls or texts...

And for the search engine, you can always download the other company's app to add it to your phone..

Im just touching the tip of the iceberg of my Epic. There's an app that allows you to choose between TouchWiz, standard Android, and other Home UIs that you downloaded so those who hate it can easily change it..


RE: Not impressed
By Alexstarfire on 9/8/2010 2:58:38 PM , Rating: 2
Not surprisingly you can download a third party app to use an LED as notification for texts, calls, and several other things. That is assuming the phone has an LED. My Captivate doesn't have one so I obviously can't use that feature. Not a big deal since an LED seems pretty useless for the Galaxy S variants. The camera is pretty crappy. My 3 year old phone has a better camera.


RE: Not impressed
By Quadrillity on 9/8/2010 6:41:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The camera is pretty crappy. My 3 year old phone has a better camera.


Really? I hate to say, but if you don't get good pic/video then you may have a defective unit. The photos and HD video on my Captivate is absolutely stunning. Most people can't believe it came from a phone.


RE: Not impressed
By theapparition on 9/7/2010 10:13:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Incredible is made by HTC, not Samsung.

I know that. I was saying that "to be fair" the HTC device also feels cheap.

quote:
No you don't have to. Your phone will vibrate or beep depending on what your sound settings for incoming messages is. This is pretty standard for smart phones (e.g. other Android handsets/the iPhone).

You know what else is pretty standard, a frick'n notification LED!!! So what happens when you miss the beep, or leave the phone on your desk for a few minutes, etc. You might not think it's a big deal, but I do, and I'm entitled to my opinion.

quote:
WRONG. The GLBenchmark splits CPU and GPU performance into different numbers. The results show the Galaxy S is a top performer in both areas.

Are you for real? Seriously?

By your own link.

High-level 3D Performance
GLBenchmark HD ES 1.1 CPU Skinning : 1672 Frames (55.7 Fps)
GLBenchmark HD ES 1.1 GPU Skinning : 1673 Frames (55.8 Fps)
GLBenchmark Pro ES 1.1 CPU Skinning : 1167 Frames (23.3 Fps)
GLBenchmark Pro ES 1.1 GPU Skinning : 1834 Frames (36.7 Fps)

CPU Performance
CPU Performance: Float : 7968
CPU Performance: Integer : 27624


Do you see, 3D performance and CPU performance. Or are you being intentionally obtuse? Also, how are you attempting to use that benchmark to compare to other phones such as the DroidX or Incredible..........when they haven't even been tested yet. Yep, not in the database. Who's to say they won't score higher.
You'll also notice in the GLBenchmark results section that the iPhone 3GS scored higher than the iPhone 4G. We all know the 4G has superior hardware, yet the 1.1 benchmark doesn't seem to bear that out. Entire benchmark seems questionable to me.

For the record, the CPU skinning doesn't do the entire graphics calculation, just a portion of it. Hope you understand the difference. I sure hope you see that and this is put to rest.

But it's also quite convient that you always leave out the Quadrant benchmarks. So I'll post a link and the results.

http://www.droid-life.com/2010/08/20/droid-x-runni...

Linpack is another one, and surpise surprise, some phone models score better than others. Linpack was optimized on the Snapdragon core, so not surprising the Incredible and EVO do well on that one.

All benchmarks can be potentially misleading, so to only post results for the most favorable one is quite disconcerting. I'm not saying every single article has to show a full breakdown, but less sensational wording would be more appropriate.

quote:
Again I think that's subjective. Having touched and played with the Epic 4G and Captivate, I think they're on par with most Android phones including Motorola's and HTC's flagship models. The criticism at Engadget comes from a site that is infatuated with the iPhone 4, which it calls the "best smartphone on the market right now". Not surprising that they wouldn't like the looks of a non-Apple product.

I'll completely agree that Engadget is iPhone biased, especially now trying to make up to Apple, you'll never get a truely objective review. However, when they weren't too impressed with the Incredible, didn't like the X, and then go on to say the Fascinate isn't in the same league as the former two is still pretty telling. You could say all three are bad, but they went out of thier way say that it wasn't quite as good as the other two.

quote:
Engadget was blasting Android phones in general, while singling out the Galaxy S. Amazingly they had no complaints about the hardware, though they labeled it as pedestrian, curiously leaving off the fact that it has a better GPU than Droids/the iPhone 4. Their actual voiced complaints before the conclusion were minimal and all centered around a perceived "bugginess" of Android OS itself and lack of polish in look versus the iPhone.

In thier scathing review of the Driod X, they basically did the same thing. All thier compliants were Android based, most of which Froyo fixes. Not the hardware. Plus they always complain about fragmentation, which Gingerbread will fix (if it's even really an issue).

But here is my gripe with the Galaxy S class of phones. Out of the box, they don't feel like they should. They have bugs. Don't believe me, fine. Take a look at your Android discussion forum of choice and go to the approriate sections. You'll find plenty of problems, as well as user fixes. Samsung should have been fixing them. Galaxy S class phones have been around for a while now, and yet still little support.
As a former Omni owner, I can attest at how bad Samsungs support was. So while the 1GHz Hummingbird has the best GPU performance around, I would never recommend them to anyone until Samsung gets off it's arse and has a concerted effort to support thier hardware. Plus ditch TouchWiz. It's pitifull.


RE: Not impressed
By Lifted on 9/8/2010 3:06:08 PM , Rating: 2
nice.


RE: Not impressed
By Alexstarfire on 9/8/2010 3:08:15 PM , Rating: 2
Only bug I've heard of regards the GPS. Haven't used it yet, but when/if I do the issues won't affect me since I won't use it for navigation. I have never experienced any issues with my Captivate.


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