Tuesday, July 27, 2010

AT&T's Much Needed Android Smartphone: The Captivate

samsung captivateAT&T has finally come out with a much-needed Android smartphone. As one of the four major cell phone providers in America, AT&T was the only network truly lacking in the Android smartphone area. They no longer have this problem though thanks to the new Samsung Captivate. The Captivate is part of the Galaxy S series by Samsung and is by far AT&T's most dominant and feature-rich Android device. It has some really exciting features and is a great alternative to the iPhone 4.

The appearance of the Captivate is really nothing special, but the design is clean, simple and it gets the job done. The device is fairly large at 4.18 x 2.5 inches, but it is quite thin. It is only 0.39 inches deep and easily slips into your pocket. The Captivate is a very well constructed phone and feels very solid in your hand, but at the same time, it also feels sleek and modern.

The front of the smartphone is mostly taken up by the extraordinary 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen. This screen supports 16 million colors and a WVGA resolution of 480 x 800. The Captivate’s touch screen is one of the best-looking touch screens to be seen on a smartphone. It is truly brilliant. The coloring is incredibly vibrant and has a great sharpness that makes texts incredibly easy to read. Samsung’s decision to use the Super AMOLED screen presents several advantages. It has wider viewing angles, improved responsiveness, and also consumes less power. The scrolling experience on the Captivate is very smooth and supports the pinch-to-zoom feature. The display also possesses a six-axis accelerometer, which is quite useful for gaming. It is even quick to change the screen orientation whenever the phone is rotated.

The Captivate has four buttons on the front of the phone located below the screen: menu, home, back, and search. All four buttons are touch-sensitive. On the left side there is a volume adjustment button, and on the right is the power/lock button. Conveniently located on the top of the phone is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro-USB port, and as usual, the camera is found on the back of the device.

As mentioned earlier, the Captivate is part of Samsung’s Galaxy S series and therefore runs Android 2.1 with Samsung's TouchWiz 3.0 interface. Samsung has worked really hard to re-vamp this program. They have enhanced the functionality and given it a more polished look. They also added new widgets including one called Feeds & Updates and another called Buddies Now. The Feeds & Update widget streams updates from Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. It has the capability to display content from one, two, or all three of the social-networking sites at once. The Buddies Now widget allows you to immediately call or text the contacts from your Facebook, Twitter, or MySpaces pages or comment on any of their updates. There are also a number of other Samsung and Android widgets and other shortcuts available.

The Samsung Captivate also comes equipped with a variety of features including: speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, and a full range of wireless options for Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G, and GPS. It also gives you access to AT&T's Wi-Fi hot spots and a hot-spot locator app. The Captivate is also compatible with Gmail, POP3 and IMAP, Microsoft Exchange, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

This magical little device also provides quite a nice list of available apps including a Write and Go app. The Write and Go app lets you compose a message on a notepad then send it to yourself whether it be by way of SMS, an e-mail, or a status update. Other apps include: Mini Diary app, Mobile Banking, Where, Yellow Pages Mobile, instant-messaging clients for Google Talk, AIM, Windows Live, Yahoo, a calculator, a voice recorder, and a memo pad. There are also several AT&T-specific services, such as AT&T Music and Video, AT&T Radio, AT&T FamilyMap, and AT&T Navigator. There are even more apps that you can obtain through the Android Market.

The camera on the Captivate is 5-megapixels and has an HD video camera. You have the ability to adjust the white balance and even add effects. The camera also offers lots of editing options like ISO settings, antishake, and blink and smile detection. One odd thing about the Captivate’s camera is that it is strangely missing a flash. This causes outdoor and night photos to be fairly poor, and the night setting doesn’t do much to help the situation. Despite the camera being a disappointment, the HD video camera is still very impressive.

The Captivate comes with a 1,500mAh lithium ion battery with a talk time rate of 5 hours and 50 minutes and up to 12.5 days of standby time. The battery should be able to easily get you though a whole day of checking e-mail, playing music, and browsing the Web. It’s well equipped with Samsung's 1GHz Hummingbird Cortex A8 processor. Every once and awhile there may be a very brief delay when exiting out of an app, but as a whole, the smartphone is extremely quick.

The Samsung Captivate is currently available from AT&T as of July 18 for $199.99 with a two-year contract. This is really a good buy with all the features it has to offer!

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