Dec 10, 2010

Samsung Intercept (Virgin Mobile) review

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Here’s my second device review so far from this blog, and this time, I have the Samsung Intercept for Virgin Mobile. It is $249.99 without contract, which is always good as it means you will not be locked down for two years on one carrier. Another great thing about this is that you are not required to pay every month, I talked to a Virgin Mobile representative yesterday and she said that I have 90 days before I need to top up my account again.

Another cool thing about having Virgin Mobile is that you can get as low as a $25 plan. That $25 will give you unlimited text and data, and 300 minutes.

So, enough with that, let’s get on with the review of the device after the break!

Design

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I think the Samsung Intercept is one of the better designed Android phones out there. In my taste, it is definitely better looking than the Evo 4G, Optimus S, and on par with Samsung’s Galaxy S line.

In the front, you’ll see a 3.2 inch touchscreen, a low-res screen (only WQVGA), and below that you’ll see four capacitive buttons, and below those buttons are three hard buttons, the call button, the trackpad, and the end call/wake/power key. I was a little confused with the power key at first, because from my old phones before, this key will take to to the home screen if you’re anywhere on your phone. Pressing the end key on this device anywhere will turn off the screen. On more common Android phones, this button is usually placed on the sides or at the top of the device, but with the intercept, it is the power key. These buttons by the way are rested on a brushed-metal like plastic, which I think is the best feature on the design. I wish they could have made the device with this finish.

But what they’ve done with the back though is not that bad. The back has a matte finish plastic which is really soft to touch, and what is surprising about the back is that I thought the Samsung Nexus S is the first one that had what the Engadget editors call as a “back booty”, but it turns out that the Intercept also has one. I think it was made to raise the speakers a little bit, so that sound coming through it will not be blocked when rested.

Keyboard

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The Intercept’s keyboard is spacious enough, although they don’t feel that good to type on, specially the lower row keys, and specifically the small space key that is oddly paced between the V and the B. I honestly am still getting used to the arrangement of the keys because at the moment, they are not where I want them to be, and I sometime prefer the on screen keyboard.

But I have seen and used worse keyboards over the years and this is not in any way the worst.

Performance

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Not really being a high end phone, the performance on this device is not really the best, but is not that bad. I have played with Angry Birds with this device and sometimes it runs smoothly, but other times it just is plain unplayable. I also changed the launcher to LauncherPro and have enabled the 3D drawer, and runs surprisingly smooth, as this device only can run Quadrant’s 3D benchmark at 4FPS.

Loading websites on the browser is also not laggy, pinch to zoom works on desktop sites, but for sites that is formatted for mobile, you actually can’t zoom in anymore. Not really an issue, but something I noticed.

Regarding the Intercept’s low-res screen, if the pixel density is an importance, then this device is not for you. I for one is not really bothered, I really didn’t even know that it was only WQVGA until I looked it up.

Conclusion

I know how I am ranting about how I want to have a Windows Phone so bad, but I’m quite happy to own an Android phone for now, and just wonder how mature the operating system really is. I’m still figuring out what are the apps to download, how to root the device, and side load applications. And by the time when I think Windows Phone 7 is already mature enough (and affordable enough), then I am ready to switch. But for now, Android FTW!!!


 
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