So before I start, mods feel free to combine this with the ongoing thread. I think it might be cleaner to have a thread for each review. I have broken my review into several sections.
Previous Phones: iPhone 4(a week and forced by my company, not my choice), D1(for almost 20 months) , Palm Centro, Palm Treo and a series of Nextel theft-deterrent bricks.
Alternate Phone Considered : HTC Thunderbolt
Purchase Date: 5/14/2011
Key Apps: Launcher Pro, Widgetsoid, Keyboard from Gingerbread, NoLED and LTE Switch.
Accessories: Hard case/holster (found here, but bought it separately without the car charger). It has a kickstand, as well.
- The phone has a very standard, but sleek, Samsung design. Very slim, jutting out towards the speaker. Also loving the physical buttons and the camera looks cool(Dodge Charger/Transformer logo-like). For some users the plastic-feel is an issue. It feels really light and almost flimsy. My added case increases weight, but still way lighter than the Thunderbolt. I enjoy the lightness but can see how some would want a heavier phone. In terms of sturdiness, no damage from a few falls(with case on).
- Power button on the right side of the phone is a key difference vs. other phones, and something to keep in mind. Not happy with the omission of an LED indicator. Come on Samsung, is it really that expensive or difficult to have one? Learning to live without one. NoLED, from the Market, helps.
- The 4.3 inch SUPER AMOLED screen is all it is hyped up to be! Loving it and it was one of the key factors that put this phone in my A list. Colors are super bright, even in the sun. Read some reviews saying it is unnaturally bright. Not really noticing that. Seems more like Charge-hate than anything else.
- Screen is made with Gorilla Glass, so a screen protector really isn't needed. The standard Verizon screen protectors also inhibit some of the brightness.
- UI is horrible and to be honest it can be choppy with some of the stock widgets. Orange and brown colored windows/messages aren't that bad, but I hope to get rid of them soon. Also, I can see how 512 mbs RAM can be a limitation. I had to switch to Launcher Pro immediately to prevent any issues(also can be used to hide bloatware). Launcher Pro has been good and haven't had too many performance issues with it. Had one Launcher Pro FK/phone restart. It happened while I was away from my phone, so not sure what causes it.
- Reviews have noted the keyboard isn't particularly great. Keys have quite a bit of space between each other, which lead to errors. I downloaded the gingerbread keyboard or use Swype so I don't have to deal with it.
- Haven't used the messaging for more than 10 texts until I got my old friend Handcent downloaded. Lot's of orange and brown otherwise.
- I am at the edge of a 4g zone in Northern VA. I get around 8.5 mbps down/ 5 up. Haven't tried it in DC yet, but have heard it is around 10-13 mbps. Haven't had the issue of 4G/3G/1X fluctuation. Over the last 3 days, it has dropped down to 1X about 3 times. Most of the times it drops in my office building, where my D1 use to always drop down to 1X.
- No problems with it so far. 8 megapixel camera has yielded some beautiful pictures. Flash has been good too. Haven't dabbled with the video much.
- There is a noticeable difference in battery life 3G vs 4G. I have been running 4G and Launcher Pro, with a decent amount of streaming radio and getting about 3-5 hours of life. I am sure the lithium ion battery will hold more of a charge, no pun intended, after a few weeks.
Overall, I think its a pretty good phone. I am waiting to see how some of the hacking methods pan out, before I attempt it. That should get rid of any lingering UI/performance concerns, which honestly aren't that bad with Launcher Pro. Thanks guys and gals, I hope this helps!