Samsung Vibrant (Galaxy)

NAME: Samsung T-Mobile Vibrant


PRICE: $199.99 w/ contract


FUN FACT: Comes preloaded with a bunch of media games and toys, including Avatar


THE BACK STORY: The Samsung Vibrant is the first of the Samsung Galaxy S imprint of phones—a group of Android phones releasing over the next few weeks (same idea as the HTC Droid group)—to hit retail. It's a cool touchscreen phone with all kinds of social networking, media, and messaging capabilities. The other big networks will have their own versions soon (AT&T's Captivate comes out on Sunday), but keep reading to check out our review of the T-Mobile's version, the Samsung Vibrant.

DOPE:
Good screen display: Samsung's 4-inch super AMOLED screen displays rich colors and superb HD-video quality. Gaming apps run smooth and the 720p video recorder produces sharp footage.

Responsive: The SWYPE virtual keyboard on this phone is precise, and is definitely the most responsive and accurate SWYPE keyboard of any T-Mobile Android phone that we've tested. The built-in accelerometer is on-point as well and quickly responds by rotating the screen from horizontal to vertical when you tilt the phone.

High-powered speed: No lag times here. The 1Ghz Hummingbird processor and powerful GPU make web browsing and navigating through menus a breeze. T-Mobile's 3G is fast, and the speed isn't that far off from what we've seen on other 4G networks.

Ready-to-communicate integration: Simple email synchronization automatically links personal and social-networking accounts to your phonebook. The customizable widgets and swipeable homescreens (up to seven) accommodate managing and sending messages.

Pre-installed goods: It's only fitting the phone comes with a pre-installed copy of James Cameron's Avatar (which looks and sounds surprisingly good on this sized screen), The Sims 3 Collector's Edition, Slacker Radio, and MobiTV. Yay for free stuff.

Upgraded TouchWiz 3.0 interface: Samsung's UI gets a user-friendly facelift with quick actions like swiping left to text and right to make calls. A nice alternative to the popular HTC Sense.

Samsung Captivate (2)

NOT SO DOPE:

No flash = blurry snapshots in low light. It does have editing options, but that doesn't help the five-megapixel camera in dark environments.

Toying with all the multimedia features eats up the battery life quickly. You can barely finish Avatar in one sitting. But that's fairly common with these types of phones.

You have to press the power button to get the phone out of sleep mode. This gets annoying because of the way the power button is placed on the phone.

HD is absent from YouTube, MobiTV, and other online video services. Not a deal-breaker, but would've been nice.

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FINAL SAY: The Vibrant is an impressive first look at what the Galaxy S brand brings to the Android market. Judging by the specs and its sleek design, many will be quick to label it an "iPhone clone"—but it's not. The Vibrant's messaging and multimedia features are more polished and user-friendly. If you're looking for a jack-of-all-trades phone, the Vibrant is a step into the right direction.

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