Samsung Galaxy S 4G (T-Mobile)
Typical Price: $446.00
CNET Editors' Rating: 4.0 / 5
The good: The Samsung Galaxy S 4G has 4G connectivity, a front-facing camera for video calls, and a larger battery. Android 2.2 offers impressive data speeds and good call quality. Other highlights include a rich and vibrant Super AMOLED touch screen and a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video recording.
The bad: No camera flash. The Galaxy S 4G has less internal memory than the Vibrant. There was some slight sluggishness with some tasks.
The bottom line: The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is a fantastic Android smartphone for T-Mobile customers, delivering fast data speeds and other improvements, but Vibrant owners should be fine holding off for now.
Design, Features & Performance (out of 10)
Though it hasn't even been a year since the Samsung Vibrant was released, a successor has already come along to take its place. The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is nearly identical in design, but don't let its looks fool you, as the new smartphone brings a number of changes under the hood. It ships running Android 2.2.1; there's a front-facing camera for video calls; and, most importantly, you get 4G connectivity, with the capability of hitting theoretical download speeds of 21Mbps. Indeed, we got some impressive and zippy data speeds during our review period, improving the smartphone Web browsing and streaming experience. Throw in the preloaded entertainment extras and you've got one fast and fun device.
If you already own a Vibrant, we wouldn't say this is a necessary upgrade, especially since you're probably still on contract. However, if you're in the market for a new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S 4G is certainly one of our top picks. T-Mobile has two other great 4G devices, the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G and the T-Mobile G2, and it may come down to personal preference, but the Galaxy S 4G has the potential to be faster and also sports a sharper, richer display. The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is available now for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4G isn't remarkably different from the Samsung Vibrant in design. In fact, if you were to put the two side by side, it would be difficult to tell one from the other. They're the same size at 4.82 inches tall by 2.54 inches wide by 0.39 inch thick and 4.16 ounces, and both feature attractive chrome accents and rounded corners and edges.
The only noticeable difference is that the Galaxy S 4G has a new "silver reflex" finish on back. It's more of a matte finish, so unlike the Vibrant, the Galaxy S 4G doesn't feel quite as slick or plasticky, which is a good thing. That said, we still prefer the more premium feel of the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G, even though it's slightly heavier and thicker than the Galaxy S 4G.
You still get the 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen, which is eye-catching and gorgeous. The sharp display makes it easy to read text, but it really shines when you're viewing video or photos, as colors and details really come through on the vibrant screen. The touch screen is also responsive. It registered all our taps, and we were able to smoothly and quickly scroll through the menus and lists. Like the rest of the series, the Galaxy S 4G uses Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, and the smartphone ships with the Swype virtual keyboard.
There are four touch-sensitive buttons--menu, home, back, and search--below the display. On the left side is a volume rocker and on the right is a power/lock button. The top of the device features a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Micro-USB port with a sliding cover, with the camera located on back. There is, however, no flash and no dedicated camera key.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4G comes packaged with an AC adapter, a USB cable, a 16GB microSD card, a wired stereo headset, and reference material.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is a quad-band world phone with a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. In addition to cellular calls, you can make calls over a Wi-Fi network (there is no additional charge, but the minutes are deducted from your regular voice plan) and unlike the Samsung Vibrant, the Galaxy S 4G has a front-facing VGA camera so you can make video calls over Wi-Fi or T-Mobile's network using the preinstalled Qik application.
Again, the smartphone ships running Android 2.2.1, so in addition to the standard Google services and support for Microsoft Exchange, POP3 and IMAP accounts, and social network integration, you get the benefits of Froyo, which include the ability to save apps to SD cards, voice dialing over Bluetooth, and Flash Player 10.1 support.
The handset also comes preloaded with a number of entertainment extras. This includes a full copy of "Inception," Slacker Radio, Kindle for Android, and DoubleTwist software with AirSync, which lets you wirelessly sync and back up music, video, and other content from your phone to your PC over a Wi-Fi connection.
T-Mobile TV and Samsung's Media Hub video store are also onboard if you want to watch video on the go. The latter lets you rent or buy movies and TV shows, and Samsung and T-Mobile just announced that purchases can be charged to your monthly phone bill.
The Galaxy S 4G isn't too shabby at capturing video itself. The smartphone's 5-megapixel camera is capable of shooting 720p HD video and has some light editing options (the camera offers more), and we found the video quality to be quite good. The camcorder was able to capture action sequences clearly, and the picture was sharp and crisp. Picture quality was also good. Subjects were clearly defined and colors were bright, even when the photo was taken in low light.
We should note that even though the handset ships with a 16GB microSD card and the expansion slot supports cards of up to 32GB, the Galaxy S 4G has less internal memory (around 185MB) than the Vibrant (16GB).
The biggest improvement that the Samsung Galaxy S 4G brings over its predecessor is 4G support, but it's also notable because it's T-Mobile's first smartphone capable of reaching theoretical download speeds of 21Mbps. The carrier's other 4G phones, such as the T-Mobile G2 and T-Mobile MyTouch 4G, peak at 14Mbps.
During our review period, the Galaxy S 4G didn't achieve results that were any faster than the aforementioned smartphones, but we were still impressed by the speed of T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. We used Ookla's Speedtest.net app to record download and upload speeds throughout Manhattan and averaged 5.01Mbps down (peaking at 6.89Mbps) and 1.70Mbps up (peaking at 1.82Mbps).
In real-world usage, CNET's full site loaded in 18 seconds on the phone's full HTML Web browser, while the mobile sites for CNN and ESPN loaded in 3 seconds and 5 seconds, respectively. A 16.44MB app from the Android Market downloaded and installed in about 35 seconds. YouTube videos, even high-quality clips, played within a couple of seconds.
The smartphone also has mobile hot-spot capabilities, though the functionality is a bit hidden. Unlike other handsets we've seen, there isn't a specific app for it; instead you need to go to Settings > Wireless and Network > Mobile AP to activate it. Note that if you want to use this feature, you will need to add the Tethering and Wi-Fi Sharing plan, which costs $15 per month, but you can share the connection on up to five devices. We connected the Galaxy S 4G with a MacBook Pro and were able to surf most Web sites with no problem. With download speeds averaging 4.17Mbps and upload speeds of 1.68Mbps, we uploaded a 7.6MB photo album in 45 seconds and downloaded a 9.3MB song from iTunes in 3 minutes and 20 seconds.
We tested the quad-band (GSM 850/900/1800/1900) Samsung Galaxy S 4G in New York using T-Mobile service, and call quality was excellent. The audio was crisp and clear on our end, with very little to no background noise or voice distortion. We didn't experience any dropped calls during our testing period. On the other side of the conversation, friends also reported good results. There were a couple of mentions of some slight static, but the feedback was positive overall.
Samsung Galaxy S 4G call quality sample Listen now:
Speakerphone quality was OK. Calls sounded a bit tinny but clear, so we had no problem carrying on conversations. There was also enough volume that we could hear our callers even in noisier environments. We paired the smartphone with the Logitech Mobile Traveller Bluetooth headset and the Motorola S9 Bluetooth Active Headphones and were able to make calls and listen to music without a hitch.
Armed with a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor, the Galaxy S 4G was able to keep up with most of our demands. We did, however, notice a bit of lag at times. For example, when we tried to e-mail a picture from the photo gallery, there was a slight delay bringing up the e-mail menu. Still, it was able to handle most tasks with no problems, as apps launched almost immediately and video and gameplay were smooth.
Whereas the Samsung Vibrant uses a 1,500mAh battery, the Samsung Galaxy S 4G ships with a larger, 1,650mAh lithium ion battery. The rated talk time is 6.5 hours and up to 12.5 days of standby time, but we were able to get an impressive 9 hours of continuous talk time in our battery drain tests. In general, we definitely saw an improvement in battery life over the Vibrant. We were able to go a full day with moderate to heavy use before needing to recharge. Using the mobile hot-spot feature does drain the battery faster, however, so definitely be aware of that if you're using this function.
According to FCC radiation tests, the Galaxy S 4G has a digital SAR rating of 0.9W/kg and a Hearing Aid Compatibility Rating of M3/T3.
|Cellular technology||WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM|
|Band / mode||WCDMA (UMTS) / GSM 850/900/1800/1900|
|Talk time||Up to 390 min|
|Short Messaging Service (SMS)||Yes|
|Combined with||With digital player / digital camera|
|OS provided||Android 2.2 OS|
|Included accessories||Stereo headset, Power adapter, USB cable|
Average User Rating: 4.0 / 5
User Rating Breakdown
5 Star: 23
4 Star: 12
3 Star: 10
2 Star: 12
1 Star: 9
Know What You Are Getting Into!
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on April 12, 2011
25 out of 25 users found this review helpful
Pros: + Cheaper and faster
+ Smooth and beautiful Video
+ Wireless tethering
+ Unlimited expandability
Cons: - Lack of internal memory
- Bloated apps
- No flash LED
Summary: I was an iPhone user who decided to buy new SGS4G for some "freedom" and cheaper cell/data service. And another reason I bought this device is because it is very close to iphone. Here comes my review after a week of its ownership.
1. Cheaper and faster: Speed difference from iPhone is obvious with 4G and better processor. T-mobile provides with cheaper plans.
2. Smooth and beautiful Video: I rarely watch TV/movies on a smartphone. This device made me think again. Quality of the movie screen is amazing - smooth and clear. Watching experience is close to laptop. I will enjoy this on flight.
3. Camera: Without considering more resolution, this camera is better than the one in iPhone GS. It is much less sensible for small shaking.
4. Wireless tethering: I didn't really care for tethering with 3G because of its terrible speed. But this device's 4G now and supposed to be 21 Mbps. After rooting, I first installed wireless tethering. And it works like a charm. This portable wifi router does not really make 21 Mbps but 8 Mbps but it's still practical.
5. Unlimited expandability: Since it's android OS, unlike iphone, the device is not much restricted to expand. You can virtually install whatever you want.
1. Lack of internal memory: 500MB internal memory is too small to store apps. So after getting this device, you'd better start moving apps into internal 16G SD card. As I will mention about this below, however, not all apps can be moved to SD.
2. Bloated apps: Unnecessary apps occupy in apps screen and some of them also automatically run. And most of these bloated apps can't be deleted nor moved to SD card. - Solution: Root and Titanium Backup. See the last part of this review.
3. No flash LED: I rarely use it for taking pictures so it does not matter much to me. But it's one component people may want to have at some point. Besides, you can use it for other purposes with apps. As other devices in this price range have the LED, I am not sure why Samsung is not getting it with this excellent device otherwise.
Root: Root is like easy jailbreak for Android device but without any downside. Of course Rooted device can be bricked and void of warranty but in reality, most of times, CS will fix the bricked device under warranty. Google "Super One Click" for more details.
Titanium Backup: After root, get the Titanium backup app to delete all unnecessary apps. One thing to remember: don't delete telenav app because it will mess GPS up otherwise.
In summary, root is almost required for this smart phone - root will take less than 30 mins. Other than that, with its amazing speed and powerful customizing ability from Android OS, I still have to figure out what it can do. This device is truly a personal computer + more in my hand. I like it a lot more than iPhone.
*** P.S. If you will buy this Smartphone I suggest at: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004N62J60/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=***************&********=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&************=B004N62J60
Updated on Nov 11, 2011
I suggest for best deal at --> www.amazon .com/exec/******/****/B004N62J60/***************
Fast powerful amazing phone.
Rating: 4.5 / 5
on February 24, 2011
13 out of 20 users found this review helpful
Pros: -Call Quality
-Large & Beautiful Screen
-Front Facing Camera
-5mp Camera performs like a 8mp one.
-720p HD video performs great.
- Sturdier Design than the Vibrant.
-Inception for free
Cons: -Less internal Memory
-Still no flash on the primay camera module.
-Slightly Older Hardware.
Summary: Alright so I had bought a G2 with the T-Mobile warranty, recently my baby cousin got a hold of it, and while I was talking to his parents he proceeded to dump it into the fishbowl saying "The fishes needed a new toy." I fished it out but it had been in there for over half an hour and there was no chance of recovering it, so I took it into the store, and they had recently added another 50 dollars to the price of the G2, so they didn't seem too enthusiastic about giving me a replacement one, then this phone caught my eye, and to be honest I liked it. With some haggling I walked out of the store with a new Galaxy S 4G which I got for free, a Gel Silicon case, a screen protector, and my old number on a new Sim Card (the old one was beyond saving).
So far I have only had this phone for two day's so I will update my impressions after a week of use, but for now initial impressions.
The phone compared side to side to the Vibrant it is infinitely faster, plus has infinite less lag. Over the two days I have had I have gotten 12 emails and it pulled them down faster than my work desktop in 9 out of 12 instances, the 3 that is was slower had some seriously big attachments with it.
Whenever I scroll through the pages or open the app drawer I never see that perceptual lag that I still see on the Vibrant. And it is so much faster, perhaps minor changes to the chipset, or maybe they had more time to optimize the software for the phone. The camera is amazing it performs as good as or sometimes even better than my friend's 8mp camera on his Evo, but it isn't as consistent as getting good photo's I guess those 3mp do make a difference. As for the 720p video recording, it is beautiful, if you transfer it to your computer it will seem like a HD video it is supposed to be. To your T.V well?um the pixilation set's at that time. So not really Video's made for your T.V.
The screen is large and amazing, it blew me away, and I always used to think "The SAMOLED is overrated." Well I have now eaten my words and I have never been so happy to be wrong. As for the HSPA+ connectivity it is amazing, the Uploads beat out my two friends Atrix, and Evo in normal browsing, downloading an app, and uploading a photo. The battery was amazing to say the least, I got 28 hours using it in normal day to day activity, browsing on 4G, downloading apps, uploading things, streaming video, constantly getting emails in, texting furiously, and calling every now and then. When I did place a call, the quality was loud, clear and solid. The mobile hotspot was a great performer, although when we got to 4 or more devices it got kind of slow.
The front facing camera was normal far, it was great for styling your hair, and the occasional video chat (Which were clear and loud) as for self portraits, not the best choice, but it will do an okay job. The overall design of the phone was stronger and better at defending the phone ten the vibrant did.
Ok now for the negatives. Samsung seems to be emulating Apple here; they refuse to put a flash on the phones on T-Mobile. There no way directly around it, but the camera did a so-so job of low light setting, but low lights are not ideal for the camera. There's no HDMI, which means no streaming to your T.V the way I got around this is that I connected it to my laptop then connected my laptop to the T.V, while it's not the simplicity of the EVO, it still works. The third con is that while this phone is (IMO) the best phone on T-Mobile, and is serving as the flagship to compete with Android devices like the Atrix (AT&T), Evo (Sprint), and the Droid X (Verizon), the hardware is kind of old WHEN compared to the phones that are yet to come out, if put head to head in the phone market available today, this is some serious hardware + software=Killer Package. The last con and the only reason this phone did not get a perfect 5 is the reduced memory, they went from 16 gigs internal to 1 gig internal, and that seriously hinders memory capability, although it came with a 16 gig card(which I switched out for a 32 gig one). Frankly for normal people 16 gigs is enough, which is why Apple, is getting away with a fixed amount of memory, but for Mediaphile's, Apphiles or for people who need a lot of storage this a serious detractor from this phone's offering.
This phone is an amazing one, it admirably performs in all task's you would expect a normal phone to, it gives a one-up to the current galaxy s generation, and takes the place as T-Mobile's Flagship phone.
Speedy and Zippy in all things-Check
Decent Camera Modules-Check
Great Battery Life-Check
Actually Makes Calls-Check
Updated on Mar 3, 2011
Updated on Mar 3, 2011The video chatting on this thing is smooth and clear and it's a great novelty when you get to use it. One other thing that is that the bigger battery REALLY makes a difference, I forgot to charge and didn't take my charger with me I had 50 percent of battery left and had to make it through the next 8 hours, with some frugal use the 50 percent lasted the entire 8 hours with 10 percent still left, frugal means lowest screen brightness, no web browsing no media, no downloading, but I still used moderately heavy texting calling and pulling down emails. Nearly everything on this phone is well thought out and executed really well. This is a Great Smartphone, one of the best ones out there and totally worth the price.
Very Very solid phone with great multimedia features
Rating: 4 / 5
on February 25, 2011
5 out of 6 users found this review helpful
Pros: Screen size, resolution & brightness. Large battery. 4G screaming fast. Great multimedia including live television & ability to download/rent movies & T.V.
Cons: POOR INTERNAL MEMORY (All apps can't be moved over to an SD card and after the operating system only approx 512MB are available for apps! Cmon Samsung!!) No flash on the camera on a phone of this caliber is a HUGE disappointment
Summary: This is my 3rd Android phone. I had the G1 on Day 1 and upgraded to a Nexus S a month after it came out. I have been on Android from the start watching it develop into a real world contender for Apple. The thing I acknowledged was always lacking was the multimedia capability of the phones on Android. Now with the beautiful SuperAMOLED screen, 4 inches of screen size, doubletwist with AirSync & the Samsung Media Hub & T Mobile TV over 4g this phone is finally competitive with the fruit phone. I have clocked up to 5mb download and 1.8 upload so far with this phone. I'm seeing 3mb download and 8-900kb uploads consistently. This phone actually holds a signal also unlike my Nexus which dropped calls repeatedly (thanks to HTC for putting the antenna in the bottom of the phone....idiots).
My biggest gripe with this phone (and the new Nexus S as well) is that they don't have large enough internal memory. When you won't allow me to put all of the apps on the SD card then how about installing a reasonable amount of internal storage!! 4GB would have been nice with 3.5GB available for app storage or at least 2GB with 1.5 for apps. Applications increase the functionality of the device. You want more people to buy apps on the market place then HELLO!!! Put more storage space in the phone until all the apps can be off loaded onto a SD card. That rant alone cost this phone 3/4 of a star in the ratings area for me. The other poor element is the lack of a flash on the camera. That is unacceptable.
I have loaded several 1080p videos from my computer to the device and the picture quality is impressive. Sound Quality for music, video and phone calls is very good over the speaker as well as through the earbuds included. I'm a bit surprised but charging this phone through the included USB to micro USB cable takes FOREVER. The battery life is pretty good though. The screen is sensitive & accurate to touch. The inclusion of Swype and doubletwist with air sync are thoughtful inclusions. After upgrading from a Nexus 1 I think I may actually keep this even though I'm still upset about the lack of internal storage space in the phone. Overall a really good device that could use just a couple of minor tweaks to make it world class.
Rating: 2.5 / 5
on January 28, 2012
3 out of 4 users found this review helpful
Pros: I can get calls and text.
Cons: The battery gets hot for no reason. The apps that I have sometimes show up. When I use them, the apps are slow and stutter. How do you have a camera on a phone with no flash? 4G isn't everywhere so when it's no where I am, I lose out.
Summary: T-Mobile blames Samsung and Samsung blames their service. Either way, this phone is a huge disappointment. But since I'm stuck like chuck with it, I'll have to continue to be disappointed. I'm not sure I'll trust the Samsung name again.
Pretty disappointed after 3 months.
Rating: 2 / 5
on January 22, 2012
3 out of 4 users found this review helpful
Pros: Camera settings are amazing. Very clear.
Easy to use, settings speak for itself.
Cons: Battery life.
Lags a lot.
Many unnecessary preset programs.
Summary: I've had the Samsung Galaxy S 4G for a few months now and I'm not happy with it at all. The first time I got this phone, all of this happened within a week. I returned it and was able to get a replacement phone and the same issues slowly began to come back.
I use this phone mostly for wake up alarm, to take pictures, text/email, social sites and games (bus rides can get boring). And I have to charge this phone every night. Long battery life? Only if you don't use it.
At least twice a month, it turns off by itself, which is highly inconvenient if it happens overnight while I'm sleeping (use it for alarm).
It freezes to the point where I have to take the battery out so I can turn it back on. This has happened to me over 7 times since I've had it (3 mo).
It lags when texting or on websites, even if the website has been fully loaded.
Wifi works but have to turn it off and on whenever I want to browse (does not happen with boyfriend's phone so it's not a provider issue -I think).
Many of the programs that come with the phone are unnecessary (to me) and take up memory space that I can use for something else. Would be great if I could delete them without having to jailbreak the phone.
I'm not happy with it and would NOT recommend this phone to anybody.
Updated on Jan 22, 2012
Can't figure out how to fix that.