Samsung Captivate

Samsung Captivate makes good use of its Android OS

Android personality gives Captivate robust multitasking capability

Performance: A
Features: A-
Ease of Use: A
Price: A-
Pros: Great multitasking capability; easy to use interface.
Cons: Lower-resolution screen; no flash for camera.
Reviewer’s ChoiceReviewers Choice

Although the Samsung Captivate is the second Android-powered device in this roundup, it’s easier to use than the Evo, largely because of Samsung’s custom user interface, named TouchWiz.

TouchWiz adds superior customization options and the ability to easily add widgets, making the interface less intimidating and the navigation less cluttered than Evo's.

More smart phone reviews

Read the GCN Lab's reviews of the iPhone 4, the Palm Pre Plus, and the Sprint HTC Evo.

However, that isn’t to say that the Captivate is as simple to use as the iPhone operating system. However, for a little more complexity, the Captivate offers a more robust multitasking capability because of its robust Android personality.

The Captivate comes with a host of free, powerful apps, such as turn-by-turn Global Positioning System directions and voice-to-text, and it is operated by a robust 1 GHz Hummingbird processor with 512M of RAM. Like the Evo, the Captivate display is a large 4-inch diameter monitor. However, the 480 x 800 resolution didn’t look as good as its competitors' screens in the review, particularly when compared to the iPhone’s 960 x 640 screen.

But perhaps the least attractive feature of the Captivate was its size. Measuring 4.8 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.4 inches, it was far from the largest device in the roundup, but it felt bulky to use and carry. And the Captivate lacked many of the common features its competitors have, such as a flash on the camera. Like the iPhone, the Capitvate is tied to AT&T's service, but its reception was still fair, perhaps a distinction in AT&T smart phones that, unlike the iPhone, do not have a faulty antenna configuration.

Despite its drawbacks, the Captivate is a solid mobile device with workhorse capabilities but without the bells and whistles of a thoroughbred. AT&T's price for the Captivate is $500, and $200 with a two-year AT&T contract, although some promotions are offering it for as low as $39 with a contract. 

For most agencies, the Captivate would be a perfect mobile device because it walks a careful balance between the easy-to-manage BlackBerry and the power and capabilities of the Evo. That distinction and its agreeable price are more than enough reason to bless the Samsung Captivate with the Reviewer’s Choice designation.

Samsung Telecommunications America, www.samsungmobileusa.com

Editor's note: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the Capitvate's price. An earlier version of the review referred to a promotional offer, since expired, that offered the phone for free with a two-year AT&T contract.

 

About the Author

Carlos A. Soto is a former GCN Lab technology analyst.

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