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 --
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
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
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:
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).
conclusion goes on to blast the Android OS in general, writing:
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
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
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.
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.
quote: Also, no notification LED. Are you kidding me? I have to unlock the phone everytime to check if I have a message.
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.
quote: The released versions do have build perception issues. Not neccessarily that they are poor quality, just that they are cheap feeling.
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.
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).
quote: The camera is pretty crappy. My 3 year old phone has a better camera.
quote: The Incredible is made by HTC, not Samsung.
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.
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.
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.