Review of Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate

The latest addition the Samsung Galaxy S line is here on Verizon wireless and it’s called the Fascinate. This phone is worthy addition to the ever expanding Android line up that Verizon has going over there. I’ve gotten my hands on all of their Android phones so far and you’re going to have some tough decisions to make when it comes to choosing one surely. I own the Galaxy S Captivate for AT&T so I also included a bit of a comparison as well in here because I wanted to see what the differences might be between the two phones. The Fascinate though is a great phone, the interface is quick and responsive and has some of tweaks by Verizon, but that’s to be expected. The 1ghz processor does a great job of handling anything you can throw at it, never once did I run across any problem with the phone slowing down or lagging even when I had many apps running. So read on to learn more about the Fascinate…


Here’s a quick unboxing video to start with:

The Fascinate comes in a nice little black box under a slip cover.

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Included with the phone is documentation, charger, USB cable and battery.

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The phone itself looks thin, it has  4” super AMOLED screen and it’s running Android 2.1. Below the screen you’ll find the now familiar buttons for Menu, Home, Back and Search. Normally I’m not one to complain about the version of the OS, but it would be nice to have seen Android 2.2 on here really.

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it comes with a 5mp camera and a flash, something the Captivate from AT&T was missing. The back of the phone is smooth and very glossy and kind of slick or slippery. It’s lightweight actually, it weighs about the same as the Captivate.

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On the top you’ll find an audio jack along with a USB port hidden behind a sliding door.

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There’s only two buttons on the Fascinate, the left side had the volume while the right has the power/lock button.

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When you take the back cover off you’ll find a 16gb microSD card installed for you already.

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Specifications:

Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate

Powered by Android 2.1, the Fascinate is equipped with support for Google Mobile Services, including, Gmail, YouTube, Android Market and more. Additionally, the Fascinate boasts a brilliant four-inch Super AMOLED touch screen display, Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application Processor, and an integrated entertainment, multimedia, messaging and social networking experience.

Key features and specifications:
– Android 2.1 platform – With support for Google Mobile Services including Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk and Android Market
– Full HTML Web browsing capabilities
– Preloaded with Bing Maps and Bing Search
– 3G Mobile HotSpot capabilities – Allows customers to transform their phone into a wireless modem for up to five compatible Wi-Fi-enabled devices
– Super AMOLED Screen Technology – Brilliant display makes watching movies, viewing videos and playing games come to life like never before, even in bright light and outdoor environments
– Advanced touch screen gestures capabilities, including multi-touch pinch to zoom, double tap to zoom and horizontal swiping, which provides easier and quicker access to many applications, including location-based services, Web browsing and digital photos or videos
– Multiple file formats supported, including DivX support
– Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application Processor – Produces amazing graphics, faster upload and download times and HD-like multimedia content
– Six-axis motion sensing using an accelerometer and geo-magnetic sensors to provide a smooth, fluid gaming experience when the user is tilting the device up or down or panning the phone to the left or right
– Virtual QWERTY Keyboard Featuring Swype Technology – Input text faster and in a more intuitive way with one continuous finger motion across the screen keyboard
– Full suite of messaging options – Text, picture, video and voice messaging; corporate and personal e-mail accounts supported
– 5. .0-megapixel camera/camcorder – Auto-focus and LED flash with HD video recording and playback (720p) capabilities to capture photos and videos for playback on your HD television
– WiFi Connectivity (802.11 b/g/n)
– Stereo Bluetooth Technology – Support for headset, hands-free, stereo, phonebook access, object push for vCard and vCalendar
– Corporate Email – Supports Android Éclair Exchange ActiveSync e-mail to synchronize corporate e-mail, contacts and calendars from office e-mail accounts
– Music and video players and 3.5-millimeter headphone jack
– 2GB internal memory expandable to 32GB, 16GB microSD included with handset


I reviewed the Galaxy S Captivate for AT&T not long ago and I liked it, I’m an AT&T customer so I went and bought myself one and figured I’d run a brief comparison with it to the Fascinate. During my comparison I noticed a little something which I’ll point out shortly.

Here’s the two phones together, just some assorted shots. One is AT&T and one is Verizon so what’s on the phone is different as expected. The Fascinate is just slightly bigger than the Captivate. Honestly though I like the styling of the Captivate better, I like the wedge shape of it really.

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The first major difference I noticed was the keyboard, I actually like the look of Fascinate keyboard better, but the Captivate has a bigger keyboard which I like better.

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The keyboard though on the Fascinate is nice to use, same as any other Android phone really and it comes with Swype pre-installed for you.

I set both phones to full brightness for the display and as I was taking pictures I noticed something, the Captivate is brighter. Captivate on the left, Fascinate on the right.

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Here’s a closer picture, same as above the Captivate is on the left, the Fascinate on the right.

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No issues with browsing the web, the Verizon network is nice and fast. The browser itself is the same as others, pinch to zoom etc.

So there’s a quick comparison, the phones are pretty much the same overall really.

The phone boots up nice and fast, in a few seconds you’ll see the main screen. The interface is quite different than the Captivate, I want to know what the combination clock and weather widget is, anyone know? It’s by WeatherBug, but I can’t find it, unless it’s some paid app that I may have missed, I hope it’s not something just for the Fascinate though as I want it for my Captivate. The touch screen is very sensitive with no lag at all, the panels slide fluidly and quickly when you swipe the screen. I didn’t really change anything on the screens, this is the way it comes out of the box. You’ll notice that Bing is the search provider on the Fascinate, and you’re stuck with it which is kind of sad really.

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The display is colorful and it just looks beautiful really. No matter what you’re doing pictures and text and very clear and video is smooth and clear. I’m truly impressed with the screen and many of the screens out there today on these type smartphones, it’s amazing how far phones have come.

The interface itself is different than others, Verizon has tweaked it a bit to be different and that’s not a bad thing.  I’m sure Android purists might complain, but different is good, if every phone looked the same the world of phones would be rather boring really. I had no issues using the interface at all

Under Settings you’ll find the usual stuff, but in color! I like the colored icons a lot, they look nice.

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Pressing the Applications buttons you’ll find three pages of stuff for you to explore.

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Sure there’s Bloatware on there, but not as much as what I found on the Captivate from AT&T

The first one you’ll see is the 3G hotspot which I already mentioned on Sunday in a post HERE.

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You’ll also find YouTube, AllShare, ThinkFree Office and a bit more.

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You’ll also find the calculator that changes when you rotate the phone and nice calendar and even a voice recorder. That’s just a few things on the phone, there’s also a handy task manager that comes pre-installed.

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Call quality and signal was very good for me here in Pittsburgh, but I’ve never really had any problems with Verizon here. The dialer takes up about half of the screen and at the top you’ll see choices for Dialer, Call log, Contacts and Favorites. Call quality itself is very good, people sounded fine to me and I was told I was clear to them as well. The built-in speaker sounds very good actually for both media and phone calls, so you can make calls via the speakerphone and hear people just fine. The volume is loud and there’s no distortions at high levels.

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Battery life is decent for a smarthphone really, you probably won’t have to charge it everyday, but every other day or every two days depending on usage. You should be able to get about two days use out of it, but of course that all depends on your usage. I would say though that I used it rather heavily with Wi-Fi and hotpots running along with gaming, phone calls and browsing the web. The Fascinate seems to last longer than the Captivate actually, even with the same basic stuff running like syncing and wi-fi.

The Fascinate has a 1Ghz CPU which can handle pretty much anything you throw at it including some Angry Birds and 3D racing games. Graphics are great and motion is smooth. Angry Birds by the way is an awesome little game, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the full version!

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No matter what I did with the Fascinate I had no issues with it slowing down at all, I ran many apps at the same time and nothing seemed to slow this phone down at all. In my time with it it didn’t lock up or slow down in the least, which is a good thing of course. The phone is snappy and responsive no matter what you’re doing or how many things your doing. Oddly the buttons at the bottom below the screen dim very quickly, but if you’re accustomed to Android you’ll know where they are and it shouldn’t be a problem.

Lastly here’s the camera. On the viewfinder you’ll find a camera button on the right side along with mode change and review. On the left side there’s a slide out menu that appears if you touch the arrow.

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On the left side is options for Settings, Flash, Brightness and Shooting Mode. Under Shooting mode you’ll find two pages a modes to choose from.

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Here’s all of the Settings, you can browse them yourself, but note there’s no options for changing picture storage.

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One the main differences between the Captivate and the Fascinate is the flash, the Fascinate has one! Sure it has a flash, but it seems overly bright, and it seems it flashes when it doesn’t have to when set to auto mode.

Here’s some pictures taken in brightly lit room with no flash, those I took with the flash were just really washed out. I guess the flash would work for distances farther than a few feet, but if you’re close up I wouldn’t use it at all. Some of the pictures look kind of washed out, but then some look very nice and vibrant. Overall they’re not bad a for a phone camera really.

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Here’s some of the special effects:

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The 720p video is decent, it makes a great little video camera for general usage.


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Conclusion:

The Samsung Fascinate is a great phone really, it’s a worthy competitor to the other Android phones that Verizon has in its arsenal. If you’re looking for a new phone you’re going to have some tough decisions to make if you’re partial to Android.

The phone itself is fast and very responsive, never once did it slow down and have any type of lag for me. Call quality is excellent, they’re clear and interference free. Battery life is very good for a powerful smartphone like this, you’ll average more run time than many others out there surely.

The Fascinate is only running Android 2.1 and that is a disappointment, it would have been nice to see 2.2 on here at launch. The search provider is Bing, and only Bing, I couldn’t find a way to change it which is odd, and something that I don’t think many people will care for. I don’t know why they locked the phone to Bing only, well I know why, it’s because of a deal with them, but I think the user should be able to have a choice here. We buy the phone, it’s our phone let us choose what we want.

9

Pros:
+Excellent call quality
+Slim and lightweight phone
+Great battery life
+Decent pictures and video
+Fast and responsive interface

Cons:
-Not Android 2.2
-Bing only search
-No dedicated camera button

Grades:
Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-10-10

To learn more about our review policy please visit this page HERE.

  • Henria O.

    Nice review of the Fascinate vs. the Captivate. I too like the size and shape of the Captivate better. To me, the keyboard size isn’t that big of a difference. However, I must say that color looks a lot richer on the Fascinate and the built-in flash is a big plus when taking photos. How disappointing that Bing is the only available search provider! And, too bad this phone isn’t offerend for AT&T.

  • Denis

    Very good review! Thank you. It helps me to choose what phone I want. Thanks again.

  • Asya

    Nice review for a great phone!

  • Melinda

    I tried this phone 3 times now. RUN people RUN! Verizon made me try 3 of them in a 10 day period. There was HORRIBLE feedback every time I talked (which was ear piercing) and people on the other end could not understand what I was saying. I literally had to call my clients back from a land line when I got to one. Several people told me they could not even understand 1/2 of what I was saying. Not to mention e-mails do not properly come through. The 3rd one I tried, in a 7 hour period of time, I missed 33 e-mails because they did not come through my phone. Yes, I had the phone set to check e-mails every 5 minutes and all of my settings were correct as well.

    I have spent hours upon hours either in the Verizon store or on the phone with technical support. No one was able to fix the feedback or the fact my e-mails were not coming through.

    Yesterday when I took the 3rd one back to the store, I had them re-activate my old blackberry, which is working perfectly as far as people being able to understand me, no feedback when I talk and e-mails are popping through every couple of minutes like they should!!! Sorry. Fascinate is HORRIBLE!!! My Dad also is trying this phone, he also is having e-mail problems as well. He has not talked to anyone on it (as he isn’t much of a talker when it comes to cell phones.), but his e-mail is not coming through either.

    I hope this information helps! Best Wishes!

  • Dee

    Well, I just got it over the weekend and I love it. Call quality is fine. Little by little I’m discovering new things.

    People need time to understand their phone. It seems overwhelming sometimes but that’s expected when you have soooo many features available.

    It sounds like Melinda’s phone is defective.

  • Chris

    Thanks for reviewing the phone. I’d like to make others aware that this phone (along with all the Samsung Galaxy S phones) is known to suffer from gps problems. Many users have noted that the phone either fails to lock on to a gps signal or provides an inaccurate location. Also, the gps functionality defaults to Verizon’s VZNavigator – a service you have to pay $9.99/month – instead of allowing you to use Google free (and arguably better) mapping application. Yes, you can download goolge maps and use it that way, but it’s still frustrating that Verizon set the phone to default to VZ Nav. And your review already mentioned that the phone defautls to Bing as the search app. I’d jsut like to further express that the lack of choice to use Google is unfortunate. And when will verizon stop forcing all their bloatware/crapware on these phones – which take up valuable system space. Why can’t we have an option to remove these unwanted apps?

  • allison

    I am on my second phone, which has the exact same problems as the first. It will not send and receive pop email (and I have two accounts), so I’m missing lots of emails. I’ve spent hours on the phone and in the store to no avail. Now, the pictures I’m taking are not being stored on the SD card. I sold my blackberry before these issues email issues got worse, so not I’m stuck I guess.

  • Bree Milam

    hey I have the fascinate and when i bought it the verizon guy changed my search provider to google on the spot and took bing off. im not sure how he did it but it looked easy.

  • Alucas38

    Great phone..but am disapointed that it doesn’t have self portrait setting..can see a lenses on the front …unless I am missing something

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000168771323 Maribel Lasso

    I have the “Samsung Fascinate a Galaxy phone” since the last May 13th the first time when I charged it up it became to warm up in an unusual way…….(my fault haven’t taking it to a store the next day)  The following week I made a call to a customer service for whatever company ( the ones that make you wait forever) and it warm up again I though that will blow up. I didn’t anything again…..I met other people with exactly the same phone they have the same or more problems. Now had passed a little more than 14 days. I took it to a provider and they said they can do nothing because them guaranty had passed…The cell phone is just extremely bad…..it takes forever to download a simple e-mail….I cann’t ger rid of Bing or Google…you cann’t get rid of other aplicatione you don’t need in your screen……….and it continues warming up……the technician at the store said it doesn’t….but they sale them…what else would say…PLS not buy this phone….don’t add a bad time to your lifes……

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