Hands-on Review with Samsung Fascinate

When Engadget reviews a mobile product they don’t pull any punches. Still, the Samsung Fascinate came out with few bruises from its handling—but bruises nonetheless. It looks like a solid Android phone that didn’t do much to make itself stand out in looks or design—but held the day in technology. In the Engadget review Joshua Topolsky said,

In terms of raw specs, the Fascinate looks lustworthy no matter how you slice it. Like the other Galaxy S phones, the device houses a 1GHz Hummingbird CPU, 4-inch 800 x 480 Super AMOLED display (capacitive touch of course), 512MB of RAM, a microSD slot expandable to 32GB (it comes with a 16GB card), along with proximity and light sensors, and an accelerometer. Additionally, the device packs in WiFi (802.11b/g/n), Bluetooth 2.1, and an AGPS radio. Of course there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack and Micro USB port, but other than that, the phone is fairly no-frills. You won’t find a hidden HDMI jack somewhere on this device.

The device also boasts that capability of 720p video from its camera and sported a fairly decent camera with a flash.

Battery life, however, left a bit for the reviewer to note at length. As with many Android phones, the battery only lasts as long as the draw and the Fascinate can be made to draw a lot. However, it stood up fairly well against its competitors. Under normal operation, it appears to last the day without a problem—and doesn’t drain too much more quickly than comparable smartphones in the same family under heavy voice and data use.

One interesting revelation is that the default search engine for the phone isn’t Google—in spite of its Android OS—but Microsoft’s Bing. From the review,

The phone does not use Google as its default search. And it doesn’t utilize Yahoo! either. No, the Fascinate search engine defaults to Bing. Bing is used for the homescreen widget. It is defaulted to in the browser. It is present across the device… and there’s no way to choose a different search engine. Like, you know — Google. When we pressed Verizon reps about this, they let us know in no uncertain terms that the stock engine is Bing without a second choice.

Apparently, this can be changed, but only through some well researched configuration options.

While the phone rates as a solid Verizon handset, the review didn’t give it the highest marks. Against its contemporaries its design is too staid and unremarkable, and while the technology inside keeps up with the race to the top, the failings in the OS and other glitches kept it from getting an all-star rating.

The entire review is too long to really build the gist of here, but those looking to buy a Galaxy S family phone or something similar would probably benefit from a read through. Especially for those who expect to put a lot of use out of the navigation and OS, which seems to be the sticking point of many mobile handsets of its kin.  Samsung is looking to become a dominate player in Android devices, revealing its GalaxyTab tablet at IFA last week.