UPDATE: This "first impressions" review was written after a brief time with this smartphone. A more complete version based on extensive testing is available here:
AT&T's latest Android OS smartphone offers a 4.5-inch touchscreen, larger than the 4.3-inch displays on some of its competitors. Other cutting-edge features include a 1.2GHz Hummingbird processor, HSPA+ support, and an 8-megapixel camera.
I've had the new Samsung Infuse 4G for about 36 hours now, and I'm ready to make some preliminary observations.
BUILD & DESIGN
Right out of the box, the Infuse is unlike most smartphones. Broad, long, and thin, its design is clearly all about the screen. I'm sure some people will be disappointed that the resolution on the 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display is "only" 800 x 480 (WVGA), instead of the new vogue 960 x 540 (qHD). Realistically though, the screen looks beautiful as it is, and I could hardly ask for better.
In fact, using it is enough to make me a convert to OLED screens: not only does it have fantastic contrast and colors, but the greenish tint I observed in my last OLED-based review unit is entirely absent. On top of that, it has superior performance in direct sun, not just compared to older OLEDs (which struggled in sunlight), but also to most LCDs.
I feel like if they made this thing much thinner, I could peel fruit with it. Not only is it one of the thinnest smartphones on the market (just 0.35-inches), but the large, flat footprint makes it feel even thinner in the hand. You might think that due to its size, the Infuse would be unwieldy to hold. Surprisingly, this isn't the case: it's width is quite manageable, although people with smaller hands might find it less comfortable. And yes, it feels a bit strange to put it up to your head to talk on it.
There's been a rumor going around that starting with the Infuse, AT&T would start to allow "sideloading," which is installing applications from sources other than the Android Market. I can confirm that this is indeed the case: the Infuse now loads non-Market apps with no more hassle than any other Android device. This means AT&T users can finally load apps from other sources, including the Amazon app market, without having to hack their devices first.
The broad, flat design also provides room for a surprisingly large battery: 1750 mAh, much higher in capacity than most phones, which run from 1200 to 1500. And the difference shows, since the battery performance so far has been stellar: even after a fairly robust day, with Wi-Fi running constantly, music playing, some streaming video, a little GPS, and lots of web surfing, the battery was still showing 32%.
So far, the Samsung Infuse 4G is showing a great deal of promise. I'll have a lot more to say about it in the full review, including performance benchmarks, more battery testing, and discussion of who the design is aimed at, and why. Stay tuned.
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