UPDATE: This preliminary review was written based on a relatively short time with this smartphone. A much more in-depth review has now been published based on extensive testing:
The Samsung Intercept is a Android OS device from Sprint that has an entry-level feature set with a touchscreen and sliding keyboard.
I’ve had tis new smartphone for a few hours, and I want to offer a few initial impressions of this versatile device.
Sprint is now offering the Intercept for $100 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate.
BUILD & DESIGN
The first thought that I had when picking up the Intercept was that it didn’t get the memo about thin devices. That’s not to say that its larger than most — it’s about as thick as my Nokia N97 — but it definitely fits a different profile in your hand than many non-slider devices.
The weight feels decent, though. The only time that it doesn’t feel as right was when I turn it landscape but keep the keyboard covered. Once the QWERTY keyboard is flicked out — sometimes unintentionally — the weight feels fine.
The front is shared by a 3-inch, 400 by 240 pixel display. Unlike several other smartphones coming out from Samsung this summer, this is not a Super AMOLED, but is a standard LCD.
Next to this is a directional pad with touchpad-like scroller, and the usual Call, End/Power, and four action buttons: Menu, Home, Back, and Search.
The Intercept’s keyboard very similar to the one on N97/N97 Mini in that the keys are nearly flush with the surrounding plastic. This sometimes makes for mistakes when typing.
I was more pleased that the numbers have a dedicated row, instead of being accessed with the Fn key as some other mobile devices will do. It will take me a few days to get the hang of key placement and such, and I’ll talk about that more in the full review.
The volume buttons (left side) and camera button (right-bottom) were a bit stubborn to work initially. They are definitely designed not to be unintentionally pressed. Tucked away on the bottom left is the memory card slot and a 2 GB microSDHC memory card.
The rear of the Intercept is fairly bare, having only the 3.2 megapixel camera (which does stills and video). Carrying a design theme also seen with many recent devices, the entire panel is removable to access its removable battery (1500 mAh).
As mentioned earlier, the Samsung Intercept runs the Google Android operating system. This one checks in at v2.1 (also known as Éclair). Unlike many devices from this company, it does not have Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, but does have a number of widgets — and three homescreens to customize — to personalize the experience.
It has the standard Android OS web browser, Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube, and a Microsoft Office file viewer. As with many carrier-led releases, the Intercept has carrier-specific applications such as Sprint TV, Sprint Football Live, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Mobile.
The Android Market is also accessible, which provides access to thousands of third-party applications. The full review will take a much deeper look at the software side of things, and how it enhances the overall experience.
The Samsung Intercept offers access to Sprint’s 3G network (EV-DO Rev. 0) and includes Wi-Fi b/g, Bluetooth, and a GPS receiver.
I’ll be testing these out and I’ll give talk about my results in the full review.
So far, the Samsung Intercept not too bad a package. It’s not a mobile that will turn a lot of heads, but it’s well designed for messaging and Web. It will be interesting in seeing how it performs.
Stay tuned for the full review and a deeper look into this smartphone from Sprint.