The Samsung Galaxy S goes under several names in the US, and T-Mobile's version is called the Samsung Vibrant. Poised to release tomorrow in a race with the Samsung Captivate (ATT's version of the Galaxy S), the Vibrant is T-Mobile's first Android superphone.
The smartphone has an 800 x 480 Super AMOLED display that measures 4 inches. Despite the smaller size vs. the 4.3" Motorola Droid X, EVO 4G and the HTC HD2, it's not a much smaller phone, though it is light at 4.16 ounces. The phone has a plastic back with a pattern effect that you can see as you turn it in the light, much like other high end Samsung phones. To be honest, the phone looks incredibly thin and elegantly designed, but the plastic doesn't exactly look expensive and it gets messy with fingerprints rapidly. Being an even thinner version of the iPhone 3GS design with a curvy back and nearly nothing to hold onto on the sides, it's an easy phone to drop.
The aptly named phone has an incredibly vibrant display and colors seem to pop a bit more on the Vibrant than they do on the AT&T Captivate. The display is viewable outdoors, though we found the Captivate's faded less.
The Samsung Captivate, Samsung Vibrant and the iPhone 4.
Call quality is good but reception isn't stellar. If you live in a good reception area you're set, but in weak areas, the bars do jump and the phone gets a few -db less than our HTC HD2. With a decent signal, the Vibrant managed a very impressive 5,200kbps down and 1800kbps up according to the Speedtest.net app. We do have HSPA+ in our area and it really rocks.
The Vibrant runs Android 2.1 Eclair, with only minor Samsung customizations (no TouchWiz madness here, and that's a good thing). We're not sure HTC and their Sense UI have anything to worry about, but it's a decent enough UI. We cover the enhanced UI and applications in our video review.
The web browser identifies itself as a mobile browser by default, and that means you see mobile versions of sites like the New York Times. We tried enabling desktop and iPhone mode, but the browser crashed and continued to crash on launch each time at those settings, so we had to hard reset to get it working again. The Samsung Captivate has the same problem. Bummer.
Here's our 13 minute video review of the Samsung Vibrant. We compare it with the Samsung Captivate, HTC HD2, Droid X, EVO 4G and iPhone 4, take a look at the customized home screen, video playback (the movie Avatar is included and we play that along with YouTube), the web browser, navigation and more.
Our full review will be out in a few days. Please feel free to post questions.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview