Display and Multimedia
Among smartphones, there's simply nothing more impressive than Samsung's 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display. Color purists might find the intense and vivid colors a tad Disney, but they're bold, beautiful and make movies and photos look better than they are. Blacks are inky and the display is bright enough for outdoor viewing. Our only wish? That Samsung had increased resolution from the standard 800 x 480 used on smaller screen phones. But we can live with the large, easily readable text as a consolation.
The display and fast CPU mean this phone is a perfect mobile video player. You've got the usual YouTube Player plus Adobe Flash 10.2, dLNA for streaming content over your home WiFi network, Samsung's MediaHub (TV and movie rentals and purchases), AT&T U-verse Live TV (a $10/month streaming TV show service powered by MobiTV that's quite sweet) and you can play locally stored videos on the phone's 16 gigs of internal storage or on a microSD card. There's plenty of ways to waste the day away in style. Speaker volume is loud and fairly clear except at the highest volume settings, and audio quality through HDMI and headphones is good.
Rather than a standard micro HDMI port, the Infuse 4G uses a small dongle adapter that plugs into the micro USB port. You'll plug the charger into the adapter, plug in your standard HDMI cable and you're ready to watch content on an HD TV, monitor or projector. The phone's display is mirrored on the TV, and movie content from YouTube and MediaHub play through HDMI but not from AT&T Live TV (we assume due to a licensing agreement).
The 8 megapixel rear camera takes excellent photos and sharp 720p video. If you own a Samsung Captivate, you'll notice the improvement, and the Captivate took pretty decent shots. There are plenty of settings and the camera even handles dark shots well thanks to good imaging technology and a single LED flash. The camera focuses quickly, even in poorly lit locations (much faster than the T-Mobile LG G2x which hunts in the dark).
The front 1.3 megapixel camera is handy for video chatting. Alas, unless this phone gets a Gingerbread update, we won't see Gtalk video chat, but we did test Qik video chat which worked fine other than local echo of our voice when we chatted sans headset.
Performance and Software
The Infuse 4G runs on a 1.2GHz Hummingbird ARM Cortex-A8 family CPU with PowerVR SGX 540 graphics. It scores 1145 on the Quadrant benchmark, but experientially feels quite fast. The phone handled both 720p and 1080p playback fine, and we didn't suffer any odd lags or slowdowns as we did with earlier TouchWiz Android phones like the Captivate. Adobe Flash 10.2 playback was par for the course among single core Android phones, and that means occasional lag on webpages loaded with Flash banner ads and YouTube embedded content. YouTube videos played well over HSPA+ on the Infuse, despite the occasional page scroll and pinch zoom lag on heavy Flash pages.
The phone has 16 gigs of internal storage and a microSD card slot (AT&T includes a 2 gig card). Froyo (Android OS 2.2.1) powers the phone and Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 UI jazzes things up. We like TouchWiz but don't love it. It no longer slows down the phone or causes compatibility problems with third party apps, but the large and overly colorful icons are a bit cartoonish, and Samsung enlarges menu fonts which is absurd on a 4.5" display. For example, when looking at the Android settings menu, we see only 4 items vs. 6.5 on the Dell Streak in landscape mode. We do like Samsung's added widgets and apps, including social networking that integrates with contacts (Twitter, Facebook and mySpace), Write and Go (a notepad app that can send text as social networking status updates), a Diary with scrapbooking elements and Media Hub for TV show and movie rentals and purchase.
AT&T has controlled their bloatware a bit, and finally allowed installation of non-Market apps. That means you can install Amazon's app market, beta apps and apps that are available directly from developers' web sites. AT&T pre-installed apps include AT&T Live TV, AT&T Navigator, AT&T Family Map, YP Mobile and a bar code scanner. Surprisingly, there are no 3D games pre-installed, a rarity on a high end, fast smartphone.
Despite the demands of a fast CPU, big display and 4G, the Infuse 4G's beefy 1750 mAh Lithium Ion battery had no trouble making it through the work day and into the next morning with moderate use. Nice.
There's a lot to like in Samsung's summer blockbuster for AT&T. The Infuse 4G is like having a mobile cinema in your pocket, and despite the huge 4.5" display, the phone is incredibly light and slimly pocketable. Indeed, nothing quite compares to the Super AMOLED Plus display (except the slightly smaller 4.3" Droid Charge's Super AMOLED Plus display). Colors jump out at you, blacks are deep and brightness levels and evenness are superb.
The phone is no slouch on performance with a 1.2GHz Hummingbird CPU with hardware graphics acceleration and 4G HSPA+ that delivered very good downloads in our area. The trio of a fast CPU, huge display and any form of 4G usually signal poor battery life, but thanks to the unusually high capacity standard 1750 mAh battery, the Infuse had no trouble lasting the day and then some. Our only complaints are middling reception and occasional watery voice in calls.
Pro: Huge and glorious 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus display. Fast, slim and lightweight. 4G speeds are actually pretty good. Attractive phone. Plenty of internal storage. Very good camera.
Con: Reception isn't among the best, voice can sometimes sound a bit underwater.
Price: $199 with a 2 year contract.
Websites: wireless.att.com, www.samsungmobileusa.com