The Samsung Galaxy S line has received a lot of attention as of late, having released a variation of the device on all four major US carriers in a short amount of time. I have been using the Verizon branded version which they branded the Samsung Fascinate. Samsung opted to go against the trend with Android devices on Verizon including the DROID branding. They also have installed an OEM skin, TouchWiz UI, over the Android 2.1 OS. By doing that they have taken out Google Search and Google Maps, replacing them both with Bing Maps and Bing Search. What were my thoughts about using Bing services instead of Google? How does the Fascinate fare overall? Continue reading to find out!
As mentioned previously the Samsung Fascinate comes with TouchWiz UI which includes Bing Maps and Bing Search. I want to talk about the OEM skin before I get into Bing. Samsungís TouchWiz UI is nothing too extravagant or mesmerizing. It includes the stock widgets you have come to expect in an Android device (social media, calendar, favorites, and the like). One thing I was not fond of is how it can turn what would normally be a standard Android look and feel into something that looks and feels like you are playing with a device for tweens. The unlock screen has a puzzle overlay and to unlock the device you have to move a puzzle piece into its proper place, kid friendly. All of the icons in the Applications folder, no matter what they look like, have a colored square added behind them to make for a more unified, colorful look. At the same time, however, it makes you feel like you are playing with a toy not a smartphone. The Super AMOLED screen is one of the best screens on the market, yet the only time you get to truly see it in action is when you are watching videos or playing games. The screen quality should be used throughout the entire device, every chance they get, instead of in select instances. Speaking of the screen, it really is amazingÖcolors are bright, vivid, and sharp. Putting it next to an iPhone 4 with a Retina display it holds its own readily (decision would have to go to the iPhone 4).
Bing, ah yes, Bing! With Android being a Google product it is always big news when a carrier or device manufacturer decides to take out Google products and replace them with Bing, as was the case with the launch of the Fascinate on Verizon. Overall the integration with Bing Maps and Search isnít all that noticeable. There are products from Google Labs which are missed in Bing Maps, but from my experience Bing Maps is a capable product. Although I did have a hard time getting GPS to lock onto my location in a timely manner. For the average consumer they wonít be able to tell the difference. Bing Search is a service which I have never really enjoyed using, but for all intensive purposes on a mobile device it gets the job done.
With a 5MP camera and a HD (720p) capable video camera the Fascinate stays competitive with the rest of the Android lineup on Verizon. The quality if pictures and video is on par with any other Android device on market with similar specs. The 1500mAh batter that the Fascinate comes with does a good job at holding its own when powering the 1GHz processor and the AMOLED screen. I could get through a single day of use, which is typical for most current advanced devices.
Those who are die hard Google users have plenty of choices out there besides the Fascinate to get their fix. For those who prefer Bing, or just donít care what service they use the Fascinate is a valid option. The TouchWiz UI needs to be ditched, or changed drastically. The FroYo update for the Fascinate needs to be released soon, with the GPS bug fix. At the end of the day the Fascinate is a capable phone that has some quirks that some may like. I, however, did not like the Fascinate enough to consider it as a daily device.
If the Fascinate is something that interests you head on over to Verizonís website for more details and info.
Mon, Oct 18, 2010