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Galaxy S Vibrant
Type: Smartphone
From: Samsung
Usage: Mobility
Galaxy S Vibrant
With a shape that's very similar to a larger, thinner iPhone 3GS, the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant is noticeably brilliant, literally if not figuratively.
Posted September 07, 2010
In terms of design, Samsung has definitely taken a less-is-more approach to the Vibrant - aka the Galaxy S Vibrant in Canada - in that it's conservative, elegant and functional. It also 'pops' likes nobody's business.

It comes with 16GB of storage out of the box - more than enough for most users, but expandable nonetheless by way of a MicroSD card.

Samsung has gone with a glossy plastic enclosure that is black and metallic gray up front with non-textured, carbon-fiber sensibilities on the back. Close inspection reveals a front-facing camera for video calling (reportedly over 3G and not limited to Wi-Fi calls) and a rear 5 Megapixel autofocus camera - but no LED flash, despite the trend for such inclusions, but photo quality proves to be decent in well-lit conditions.

The Vibrant can also record and play back video in 720p HD mode and it is also one of the few Android smartphones to support DivX playback.

The thing's whopping 480x800 Super AMOLED screen is the biggest and currently exclusive features of the Samsung (Galaxy S) Vibrant. In fact, its large, well-saturated screen is the first thing you notice. It's what "pops," as they say. It's a brighter-than-usual screen of minimal reflectiveness, all the while boasting less-than-usual power consumption – "Super" AMOLED has a number of benefits over previous AMOLED screens, and that's a couple of them.

The device also employs Samsung's TouchWIZ screen skin, a proprietary interface that usurps the Android OS 2.1 skin. Many manufactures like to inject original navigation systems (icons, button, widgets, etc.) to make each line of phones unique despite the common OS. This can be a hassle, of course, when Google updates Android and 3rd-party manufacturers are left to scramble out an updated overlay to go along with it, which doesn't always happen in a timely or bug-free manner. Just sayin'.

Be that as it may, the TouchWIZ is as subtle as an overlay can get. It bundles useful features such as a task manager (a necessary tool on any Android device), Daily Briefing (which pushes weather, news and to-do information) as well as Samsung's own app store.

With a 1GHz Hummingbird processor and impressive GPU performance, the Vibrant has the muscle and speed to handle the most demanding Android apps and games as well as manage the constant multitasking and fast-app switching that all modern smartphones are expected to do on a regular basis.

Reception and call quality was generally good while the speakerphone function is loud and clear. Battery life is very impressive, managing three days of mostly Wi-Fi usage on a single charge with a few calls and media playback using the YouTube app.

All told, this a powerful and efficient smartphone with a stunner of a screen in a slim and elegant form factor. Running a reasonably new version of the Android OS, Samsung also promises compatibility with future OS updates - which isn't always the case with other Android phones, oddly enough, and a very important feature considering how quickly a smartphone can go obsolete within its excruciating 3-year contract.

Available as the Samsung Vibrant through T-Mobile at US$49.99 on a contract or $399.99 without. In Canada it's known as the Galaxy S Vibrant available through Bell for C$149.95 on a contract or $499.95 contract-free.
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4 (out of 5)