Sunday, 21 August 2011

Samsung Captivate Review

Pros: Vibrant, high-resolution screen, Easy-to-navigate menus, Fast 1 Ghz Hummingbird processor

Cons: AT&T won't let you side load apps to the phone; camera lacks a flash.

The Samsung Captivate is undoubtedly AT&T's best Android phone to date. It delivers great performance, tons of features, and an easy-to-use interface.

Part of the Galaxy S series, the Captivate is by far AT&T's most powerful and feature-rich Android device, boasting a gorgeous Super AMOLED touch screen, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and some great multimedia features. It won't win any beauty contests, and we wish AT&T would stop restricting app access, but overall, the Captivate delivers and is a great alternative to the iPhone 4.

Similar to many of today's touch-screen smartphones, the Samsung Captivate has a slate design that's not particularly sexy. In fact, its design is rather lackluster, but the look is clean and simple. At 4.18 inches tall by 2.5 inches wide by 0.39 inch deep, the device is a bit of a handful, but Samsung managed to keep the handset pretty thin, so you can still slip it into a pants pocket. The front of the device rocks a 4-inch Super AMOLED capacitive touch screen, which supports 16 million colors and a WVGA resolution (480x800 pixels). It's one of the best-looking screens we've seen on a smartphone, showing off rich and vibrant colors and a sharpness that makes text easy to read. Aside from the brilliance and crispness of the display, there are a number of other advantages to Super AMOLED screens, including wider viewing angles and improved responsiveness. They also consume less power.  The Captivate's touch screen was responsive and fast.

Like the rest of the Galaxy S series, the Captivate runs on Android 2.1 with Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface. The latter is definitely improved from previous versions, with some enhanced functionality and a more polished look. There are a number of other Samsung widgets, as well as Android widgets and other shortcuts, all of which can be added to one of seven home screens. But , we missed some elements of HTC Sense, such as the Leap screen, which provides a thumbnail version of all your home screen panels, but for the general consumer, TouchWiz does a good job of making Android quite easy to use, almost to the point that it doesn't even look or feel like an Android phone.

Also, for those worried about the TouchWiz interface interfering with future Android updates, Samsung has already said that the entire Galaxy S portfolio will be upgradeable to Android 2.2 and that it has tweaked the interface to make it easier to adapt to future updates. However, the company also noted that without really knowing what Google has planned down the line, there may be a time where updates can't be supported because of hardware limitations or other factors.

When wondering about its features Samsung Captivate is easily AT&T's most feature-rich Android phone. It's a quad-band world phone and offers a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, and the full range of wireless options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS. Unfortunately, you can't use the smartphone as a mobile hot spot like you will with the Samsung Epic 4G, but you do get access to AT&T's Wi-Fi hot spots and a hot-spot locator app is included on the phone.
The Captivate is compatible with numerous e-mail accounts and social-networking sites, including Gmail, POP3 and IMAP, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. The Captivate also offers the Write and Go app, where you can compose a message on a notepad and then select your delivery method, whether it be an SMS, an e-mail, or a status update, so you don't have to find and launch each individual app and are lot many more to flip around.

There are also a number of AT&T-specific services, such as AT&T Music and Video, AT&T Radio, AT&T FamilyMap, and AT&T Navigator, on the device, but just be aware that most require an additional monthly fee after a limited complimentary trial period. More apps are available from the Android Market, but once again, AT&T has blocked the ability to install third-party apps on the Captivate by removing the Unknown sources option under Applications settings. This is quite annoying, especially when other carriers don't put the same restrictions on their Android phones.

The Captivate doesn't come with as many entertainment extras as the Vibrant, but you do get the same music and video player with 5.1-channel surround sound, MobiTV, and a dedicated YouTube player.

If you'd rather shoot your own movies, the Captivate offers HD video capture via the 5-megapixel camera, which is just ok when it comes about indoor clicks. Like the Vibrant, the Captivate doesn't have an active front-facing camera for video calls. The Captivate's Web browser is quite good and offers multiple windows and Flash Lite support. YouTube videos took several seconds to load and played back without interruption, but when switching to high quality, the audio and video didn't quite sync up.

Samsung ships the Captivate with a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a rated talk time of 5 hours and 50 minutes and up to 12.5 days of standby time. In our battery drain tests, it was able to get 6.2 hours of continuous talk time on a single charge.

For Further Reading,
Electronics, Mobile Phones


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