Home' LAPTOP Magazine : September 2010 Contents SMARTPHONES
Attention AT&T Android fans: the Samsung Captivate
(part of the Galaxy S series)is a seriously powerful
and beautiful device. It sports a dazzling 4-inch Super
AMOLED screen and a zippy 1-GHz ARM processor,
as well as seven customizable home screens. And,
like the iPhone 4, this device can record HD video.
Other features, however, aren't fully baked yet,
such as the Samsung Media Hub.
With its 4-inch display, the Captivate strikes a
nice balance between the 3.5-inch iPhone 4 and
4.3-inch Droid X. It's slightly taller and thicker
than Apple's device. Unlike the Evo 4G and Droid
X, there's no HDMI output, although you can use
DLNA to wirelessly stream HD content. (Samsung
sells a separate TV-out cable.) There's also no
The Super AMOLED display wowed, thanks to
its super-high contrast and incredibly wide viewing
angles. Plus, Samsung's technology now plays
nicer in direct sunlight. But the iPhone 4's display
(960 x 640) was brighter and reproduced colors
The Captivate features Samsung's Touchwiz
3.0 interface with a total of seven home screens
and blue animated wallpaper. Swiping to the
left presents a Feeds and Updates widget that
aggregates the latest 16 social networking updates
from Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. From this
widget you can reply or retweet messages. Daily
Briefing delivers weather updates, news from AP
Mobile, stock info from Yahoo Finance, and your
daily calendar in one handy widget.
To the right is a billboard for AT&T services
(including AT&T Music, AT&T Navigator, Mobile
Video, MobiTV, and Yellow Pages Mobile), most of
which are either too expensive or inferior to free
apps available elsewhere.
Unique to Samsung Android phones, the notifi-
cation drawer always shows shortcuts for toggling
Thanks to its jaw-dropping display and good performance, this
Android phone gives AT&T customers a worthy iPhone alternative.
voice sounded clear, and we didn't experience
any reception degradation, regardless of how we
held the device.
Thanks to the power-efficient Super AMOLED
screen, you should be able to make it through a
full workday of use on a charge.
The Captivate offers a bigger screen than the
iPhone without the bulk of the Evo 4G or Droid X.
We'd like the Captivate even more if it had a camera
flash and mobile hotspot app, but overall it's a very
capable Android phone.
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on and off, as well as a silent
and vibration button.
In general, we liked the soft keyboard on
the Captivate; it's plenty large and allows for
accurate typing. You can switch to the standard
Android keyboard or use Swype, which lets you
draw a path from letter to letter with your finger.
It involves a learning curve, but it helps you type
Samsung packs the Captivate with its own 1-GHz
Hummingbird processor and 512MB of RAM. You
also get 16GB of ROM, which can be expanded
to 32GB. A six-axis accelerometer is meant to
enhance gameplay, but Samsung doesn't include
The Captivate features separate Gmail and
e-mail applications, which is frustrating. Business
users will appreciate the built-in Exchange support.
The text messaging app, which wraps your texts in
little conversation bubbles, worked fine.
In side-by-side testing with the iPhone 4, the
Captivate offered comparable speeds over AT&T's
3G network. In the same location at the same
time, the Captivate downloaded ESPN.com in 9
seconds versus 10 seconds for the iPhone 4, and
the two devices loaded Yahoo.com in 10 and 13
In general, pinch-to-zoom actions were fast and
smooth, but double-tapping to zoom stuttered (as
with other Android phones). You can't force desktop
versions of sites to load, but such browsers as
Dolphin will do the trick.
Unfortunately, this Android phone doesn't offer
a mobile hotspot app. Android 2.2 software will
allow physical tethering via USB once that becomes
available for this device.
There are 80,000-plus apps in the Android
Market, but you can't sideload apps; this is an
AT&T restriction. Samsung bundles a handful of
apps, including Calculator, Memo, Mini Diary,
Voice Recorder, and Where.
The music player interface looks and feels like a
high-end PMP. The device also supports 5.1-channel
sound. The speaker sounded tinny, but produced
a decent amount of volume.
In addition to a 5-megapixel
camera, there's a great Pan-
orama mode, and a slew
of dedicated scene
Night, Portrait, Sports,
and more. Too bad
there's no flash.
Callers reported that our
Samsung $199 (with two-year contract)
CPU: 1-GHz Hummingbird Operating System:
Android 2.1 Memory: 512MB RAM, 16GB ROM
Expansion: microSD up to 32GB Display Size/
Resolution: 4 inches/800 x 480 Camera: 5-MP
Wireless: 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0 Talk /
Standby Time: 6.5 hours/24 days (3G) Ports:
3.5mm headphone, microUSB Size: 4.8 x 2.5
x 0.4 inches Weight: 4.8 ounces
Sharp, vibrant Super AMOLED screen
Helpful Daily Briefing feature
Excellent HD camcorder
Good audio player and sound quality
Strong call quality
Camera lacks flash
No mobile hotspot app
Can't sideload apps
LAPTOP | September 2010
features a large
touch keyboard in
that's easy to use.
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