Samsung Galaxy S Captivate Review

A couple of month’s back I was invited to attend the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate and Samsung Galaxy Tab. Although the party was awesome, I didn’t get a chance to see the products in action at the party. The lovely people at Rocket XL, hearing that I didn’t get a chance to try them out, were kind enough send me the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate to try out for a just over a week.

I’ll admit I’m an iPhone guy and to try an Android phone was exciting to me. I’ve heard such great things about the Android phones from some of my colleagues at the office that I had to really give this mobile phone a good run. I replaced my iPhone with the Galaxy S Captivate and this became the main form of communication for me during that time.

I’m going to keep this review as simple as possible and avoid getting too technical. I think the average person will be best served this way. I’ll try to avoid comparing it too much to the iPhone as this isn’t the intention of this review.

Samsung Galaxy S Captive 7

Right out of the box the phone has a great sleek look to it. Coming from an iPhone, I had to get use to having the ON/OFF button on the side of the phone instead of on the top. This was hard to get use to for a few days as I would always go towards the top of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S Captive 5 Once the phone was turned on I was amazed at the size of the screen. It was wonderful to look at a phone with such a great size screen. The default wallpaper was a gorgeous European street scene and made me want to just get on a plane and travel there (ok that is for another review ? ). There were 4 separate buttons on the bottom of the phone, your settings (depending on which application you were in I figured out ), the Home button, the Return button (usually moves you back to your last screen), and your Search key.  Pressing any keys would cause the phone to vibrate to let you know that the key was pressed.

I then quickly moved onto the Android Apps. I’ve heard great things about them and I wanted to test drive a few of them on my own. The first App on my list was HootSuite. As expected there wasn’t any difference to using the App itself. What was different with using an Android Apps was where the Apps are located and stored. You have to actually go in the Applications button to view all Apps, but the interesting thing is you can move them to any Home screen afterwards.

LIKES

Ok now for what I truly liked about the phone itself.

Being an amateur photographer I quickly had to try out the 5.0 Megapixel camera. The cool thing about the camera was that it offered you preset settings like most point and shoot cameras do.  There is a setting for Macro, Landscape, Action, Candle, Fireworks, Backlight, etc. Who would need a point a shoot with these settings. All of my Vancouver Christmas Market photos were taken with this phone.

As stated earlier the screen size is bigger than my current iPhone 4. Though not as crisp in my opinion, it still was great to be able to have a great size screen to view websites, watch videos, and even use for taking photos.

Great push content, from emails via Gmail or Exchange, my notifications was quick and easy. Also once I was signed onto Twitter view HootSuite, anytime a Tweet would come in for me, I was notified on the phone. A great feature I thought.

Loved, yes LOVED, the fact that you could turn the phone into a wireless hub and have up to 10 other wireless devices hooked up to the phone and using the data plan. Warning this does drain the battery very quickly.

DISLIKES

The initial set up was cumbersome. By default the auto correct on the keyboard wasn’t set up and I had to find it through the Settings to turn on. This in itself wasn’t easy to find and I found click through too many screens to make it happen. Once the auto correct keyboard was set up, I still found that I would have to correct the corrected words far too often and really slowed down my productivity when responding to emails, Tweeting, or even searching the web.

Even though I loved the camera, the lack of a flash in this day and age was disappointing. Even the Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant  (its predecessor has a flash).
Lack of a front facing camera was disappointing. As per the same comment above about the Flash, the Galaxy S Vibrant has a front facing camera.

Most of the Android Apps that I wanted were actually paid Apps. Even though the iPhone version was free, the Android version had a cost associated with them.  Though this isn’t due to the phone itself, I was disappointed to see that from Android.

Deleting an App was very time consuming. From my Home Screen when I dragged the App to the bottom of the screen, which reveals the trash can, the App actually doesn’t get deleted, but is just removed from the Home Screen area. To delete the App itself, you have to go into your Settings and follow about 4 steps to actually “uninstall” the App.

No software to hook up to my computer within the box itself. I found out that I couldn’t just hook up the USB to my computer to get my contacts and calendar to sync. I even tried going to the Samsung’s webpage to see if I could download some software, but I couldn’t easily find any and since I only had the phone for a short period of time I didn’t continue to search for it.

I also wasn’t able to install any music on the phone to test out that functionality due to the same reason above.

Battery life wasn’t the greatest and found out that I needed to recharge the phone after 12 hours of use. Granted this could have been because of the push content, or the fact that I was using the phone more than normal thus draining the batter.

OVERALL

Once I had all the settings to my liking, which took about 2 days or so, it was actually a nice phone to use. I started to understand the Android OS and was able to quickly maneuver myself around it quite nicely. I did find the phone to be a little wider than my iPhone, though not a huge issue for me, it might be an issue for someone with smaller hands.

I was sad to see the phone go away. I truly liked the camera settings the ability to have mini wireless hub created with just one phone.  For me these were two of the biggest selling points. I think it would be great to have someone be able to create a phone that has the ease of the iPhone and some great features the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate.

Here in Canada you can currently get the Samsung Galaxy S Captivate through Rogers for as little as $99 on a 3 year contract or $549 on a no term contract.

The iPad Envy

Yes it’s true, I’m officially envious of everyone with an iPad. There I said it!

Russ recently got himself an iPad, which to be perfectly honest was what I was thinking of getting him for Christmas – but don’t tell him that. And though at first I wasn’t 100% sold on it, it has grown on me with every use. I’m surprised how easy it is to work with and all the amazing Apps that the App store offers. I’ve been trying so hard not to take over Russ’ iPad even though Russ keeps telling me that I can add items to it.

At first Russ wasn’t so sold on the iPad. He was starting to find it limiting to what he wanted to do, he wanted to surf like he did with his netbook. After realizing that the Apps truly make the iPad, he was happier. There are still a few things Russ is getting used to with it and as am I.

I’m really trying very hard to restrain myself from going out there and actually purchasing one for myself. I’m going to try very hard to wait until the next version is released hopefully next year sometime.

Words With Friends – Free iPhone App

Words With FriendsI’ve never been a Scrabble player in my life. I never got the game to begin with, but a couple of months ago I thought I would try Words With Friends Free iPhone App.  This game is a Scrabble like game where you play on your iPhone with other users.

I have yet to actually win a game with the friends I’m playing with as I think everyone is just that much smarter than I am. One day I’m sure I will be able to beat someone as I’m learning new words along the way and thus this game has become an addiction for me. I can’t get enough of it and trying to come up with words based on my letters is always a challenge.

I do think my weakness in the game is that most of my words are always 3 letters long and I need to strive to change that. I don’t have a technique yet, but I know some of friends always go for the huge word score counts or try to make sure that I’m not able to place any letters on the higher score areas.

Now since I am playing the free version of the game, it does get annoying to suffer through the ads after each and every move you make. If you can’t bare this, you can purchase the ad free game at $2.99.

So if we are not playing, hook me up. You can find me by searching for GusF.

iPhone 4 Launch and First Impressions

About a week ago, the day after the iPhone 4 was launched in Canada, I decided to line up outside the Apple Store to see if I could get my hands on the coveted smart phone. I got to the store at about 8:45am and there was already a line up of about 50 people and I thought I would stake my claim in line. Of course by this time I had already tweeted that I was in line and Lesley Chang came by to join me in line and get her own iPhone 4.

@lesleychang and I waiting for our iPhone 4's

The Apple Store staff were amazing as we waited in line. They came by and offered us all drinks and some food to eat prior to the store opening. When the store finally opened they came by everyone in line to see if we wanted the 16 gb or the 32 gb version of the iPhone 4. When we asked the staff member if this meant they had iPhones in stock, they said it meant we were guaranteed one.

Of course the night before, on launch day, they couldn’t activate everyone’s phone that were in line, so they were given a card to use on the Saturday and were given priority access. Also if you were in line wanting to get yourself the unlocked version of the iPhone 4, you were allowed to skip the line and go directly into the store. That said after 4 hours of waiting, I finally got in and got my iPhone 4. Since I wasn’t changing anything on my plan, the process was quick and within 1/2 hour I was out the door the lovely phone.

First Impressions

I’ve only been playing with my iPhone for about a week now and only have the iPhone 3G to compare it to. With that said the difference is amazing.

The phone feels slightly heavier even though it is thinner than the iPhone 3G and 3GS. I’m not sure if it’s just because it’s flatter than its predecessors, or if it’s because of the new aluminosilicate glass. This also makes the phone feel so much slicker in my opinion.

The picture quality is outstanding. Everything is much crisper and brighter thanks due to the Retina Display. Websites are displayed amazingly.

The 5 megapixel camera with flash finally brings the iPhone up to standard. There is no longer a need for a point and shoot camera. The quality is great and the LED flash allows you to take photos in low light.

Flowers Beautiful Life

The front facing camera is also nice and even though I haven’t tried out the Face-to-Face feature, I have taken photos with the front camera. The quality isn’t anything great as it’s not 5 megapixel quality.

Having the ability to take 720 dpi video is also great. The only problem I’ve found with the video is that when you upload to YouTube directly from the iPhone, the HD quality is lost. Hopefully they will be able to fix this soon. In the interim I’ve been using the Flickr App as it allows you to upload the HD quality of the video.

The battery is also amazing. I can go 2 days without recharging my phone. I wouldn’t last 24 hours on my iPhone 3G recently and this is a welcome change to say the least.

As for Antennagate, I haven’t experienced any drop calls nor experienced loosing bars while holding the phone.

The only problem that I have experienced so far is during a speakerphone call. People seem to have a problem hearing me and I have to really put the mic very close to my mouth which I think defeats the purpose of the speakerphone. Granted I haven’t tried Face-to-Face yet to see if this is also a problem. Hopefully I can test that theory out soon with someone.

Sending Multiple Photos on the iPhone

Most days I don’t pay too much attention to TV commercials, but the other night while watching Fringe the iPhone commercial caught my eye. In the commercial they were clicking through multiple photos and sending them via email. That surprised me as I never knew you could send multiple photos through the iPhone.

To share you photos open up your photo album.

Multiple photo sharing on iPhone

At the bottom left you will notice the share button, click this and start selecting your photos by touching the appropriate thumbnail and a check mark appears to let you know it has been selected.

Multiple photo sharing on iPhone

Click on Share and you can send all the photos selected via Email or MMS.

Multiple photo sharing on iPhone

There you have it. A great and simple way to share multiple photos in quickly and with easy instead of sending multiple emails with one photo attachment at a times.