Samsung Captivate Review
Not everyone might be a fan of the Captivate's customized Android experience, but one thing is certain, its 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor makes things fly with very few instances of choppiness. Even though navigating and opening applications poses no problem with its peppy processor, we did encounter some jerkiness when moving about the home screens while using an animated wallpaper. Nevertheless, we were satisfied by the overall performance of the Samsung Captivate.
In its current state, you're treated to the TouchWiz 3.0 overlay of Android 2.1 as it boasts up to seven home screens to fill up with either some stock Android widgets or the ones specifically crafted by Samsung. Throughout the process of moving in between home screens, there are four icons docked on the lower portion as they are labeled phone, email, browser, and applications. Pressing the latter will get you into the main menu where it's laid out in traditional TouchWiz fashion as the icons are square shaped and equally distant from one another. Overall, there is nothing really much to say about the custom interface as it's the same exact one in use on the Samsung Galaxy S I9000.
The selection of widgets that can be added to the home screens is similar to the one in the Samsung Wave. Samsung's widgets are for the most part helpful, though repetitive. The company decided to show us there are many ways to skin a cat - if you want to be always in touch with the weather (AccuWeather clock), the stock market (Y! Finance clock), another timezone (Dual clock), or your busy schedule (the Calendar clock). There's absolutely nothing wrong with them as they provide for additional enhancements to make the look and feel of the phone somewhat more varying between handset owners – which is of course the beauty of Android as a whole.
Those can actually be combined into one widget called the Daily Briefing, which populates the current weather, stock quotes, AP breaking news, and your calendar events, on one home screen. Another fairly useful widget is Feeds and Updates - it satiates your thirst for social interaction on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace right from a home screen.
Organizer & Messaging:
Of the other customizations Samsung has made to the default Android interface, the most notable are in the Phonebook and Calendar. Entering the Phone screen defaults to your call log tab. There are also keypad, favorites, and contacts tabs to choose from at the top. Tap Contacts, and you are taken to the respective screen, where the history of your communication activities can be accessed with tabs at the top as well - including all calls and messages exchange, as well as social network updates.
The phonebook groups your phone, SIM and Google contacts in one searchable list. Samsung's own Social Hub idea adds the contacts from your social networks, and the corporate buddies to the mix for one very long phonebook. A variety of contacts' details is visible and editable on the huge screen at once.
To tell you the truth, other aspects on the Captivate also come directly from the Samsung Galaxy S I9000. Social Hub, for example, aggregates SNS (Social Network Services), email, and IM accounts. Additionally, the Calendar and Clock applications let you sync various events from things like Facebook and Exchange Server all into your Calendar while the various clock functions (alarm, world, stopwatch, and timer) are intact as well.
Proving itself to be well endowed with a large real estate, sending messaging via the Captivate's various on-screen keyboards and handwriting recognition options won't be any letdown for most people. By default, you'll be presented with the Samsung keyboard, but you can change it at any time and revert to using the stock Android keyboard if you're more comfortable with it. Thanks to the peppy performance of the platform, we found typing on both the portrait and landscape options quite manageable – the latter of which provided the best results though. In addition, the Swype keyboard is also available for those who've been able to master the swiping movements. Although there are some handwriting recognition selections, we still relied heavily on the on-screen keyboards.
2. rtimi26 (Posts: 41; Member since: 16 Mar 2009)
wow really and you only have 2 cons and you give it 8.5. Nice thanks I see how you do it now.
4. BlackSirius16 (Posts: 84; Member since: 21 May 2010)
yeah, did you even read what those two cons are???? average calling quality and medicore photos, pretty big deal
3. nak1017 (Posts: 322; Member since: 08 Jan 2010)
If I stuck an Apple sticker on the phone, would that make it 9.5 too?
5. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
nak, good point, seems like veryone has ok call quality - I bought the HTC ARIA - AT&T - and it has great call quality - I usually ignore the call quality part of the review and focus on ease of use...I am tempted to trade mine in as it is under 30-days....but, I prefer HTC over SAMSUNG....soon HTC will have a super phone on the AT&T network and I will get it next year.
6. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 2800; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)
I would do it, this phone looks great. The only true con of this phone is its on the same network as the iphone.
7. martycota (Posts: 28; Member since: 15 Jun 2009)
Nice to see that a phone with so many pros and only 2 cons still manages to score below a phone that CANT EVEN MAKE PHONE CALLS! in your eyes. I used to respect phonearena's scores, but even as much as I hate ATT, this review pretty much sold me on finding a less bias review site.
8. osanilevich (Posts: 195; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)
what I don't understand is how samsung can screw up the two most basic functions of a phone but manage to make everything else perfect
10. jdh4455 (unregistered)
just so everyone knows, i have the captivate and the call quality is very good...good clear voices, loudness..and this is in an area that does not get decent reception;can't believe all that you read
12. Professor X (unregistered)
So where does your comment fall: something I read and shouldn't believe? or something I read and should take it with a grain of salt?
9. Husker62 (Posts: 13; Member since: 03 Aug 2009)
well i was just wondering if an unlocked version of the captivate is/going to be available without the AT&t bloatware? i am on at&t and really like these phones.
11. Brian (unregistered)
You can easily root the phone and uninstall all the ATT bloat with Titanium backup. Just search on XDA and it will give you an exact list of whats okay to delete.
13. person. (unregistered)
Maybe it's not such a big deal and maybe I'm the only one who noticed, but when phone arena mentioned about the Write and Go feature on the Samsung Captivate they didn't even use the Captivate; notice how there are only 4 signal bars when the captivate has 5.
14. LKgoalie (unregistered)
I personally don't care too much if the call quality is average. cuz that doesnt mean that you can't hear the other person and it shouldnt be a deal breaker for this awesome fone. also mediocre pix not too big a deal either in my opinion. if i wanted to take a photo of something that bad i would get a camera.