- Great screen
- Great camera and camcorder
- Poor video output quality is less than expected
- Unusable virtual keyboard in portrait mode
- Relatively poor battery life
The Samsung Instinct HD is a followup to the Instinct, which premiered last year on the Sprint network.
The main idea behind this device is to turn your mobile lifestyle into a high definition experience, with a five megapixel camera and camcorder and HD output, which allows you to display your videos on a compatible HD television if you purchase the necessary cable.
The Sprint Instinct HD is available now for $250 after a $100 rebate, with a new two-year service contract.
DESIGN & BUILD
The Instinct HD looks like virtually every other mobile phone out there these days, featuring a black exterior with a few silver accents. It’s very thin and surprisingly light, but wide enough that it’s difficult for me to use one-handed.
The front panel of the device is perfectly smooth; the back, home, and call/disconnect buttons aren’t actually buttons at all, but touch sensitive areas located underneath the screen.
The top and sides of the phone are covered in ports and buttons: the left side has the volume control buttons and a voice command button; the top houses a standard headphone jack and the power/lock button. The right side of the phone includes the sync/charge port, video out, and the camera shutter button. All of the buttons and port coverings have very small icons denoting their particular function, so I really had to squint to figure a couple of them out. The buttons also don’t stick out very far, so they were slightly more difficult to activate that the buttons on other phones I’ve reviewed.
The display on the Instinct HD is gorgeous, simply one of the best I’ve ever seen. Everything comes through sharp and clear, especially photos and videos. It’s large enough that your friends can gather around the screen for a slideshow and actually be able to see everything.
The touch aspect of the screen works well and it was responsive to my every tap. The haptic feedback takes a little getting used to, but it was nice to know that I was consistently tapping in the right places to launch applications, etc.
The Instinct HD doesn’t have a physical QWERTY keyboard, because the focus here is squarely on photos and videos, not messaging. Unfortunately the virtual keyboard isn’t too great, at least when you’re starting cold. The landscape version is OK, though you won’t want to enter too much text with it at once.
But there is a major problem with the portrait version of the keyboard: when you flip the phone upright the virtual keyboard layout inexplicably switches to ABCDE order instead of QWERTY order, which is completely unnecessary and a major pain. It’s impossible for me to pick up any speed when using the ABC keyboard, even with practice, because the QWERTY layout is so ingrained in my head. It almost seems that T9 would have been faster for text entry, because I’m more familiar with that than with an ABC layout, but the Instinct HD doesn’t offer that option.