Samsung Fascinate Review
0. phoneArena 10 Sep 2010, 09:16 posted on
Samsung Fascinate is the fourth Galaxy S phone released on the US market. It shares similar specs to the rest of the line, including 4” Super AMOLED display, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and Android 2.1 OS. Does the Samsung Fascinate have what it takes to stand out from the crowd? Let’s see if it is truly fascinating, or just another Android smartphone...
This is a discussion for a review. To read the whole review, click here
1. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
sooooo.. i just want to get this right.. this is the exact same phone as the vibrant/facinate but +an LED flash.... but you bitch about the exclusion of google for bing, its got less memory than its brothers (they have 16gig INTERNAL memory with up to 32mb on top), removal of google native apps, no Avatar or any other movie to show off, and they run the exact same otherwise.. yet the loaded vibrant gets an 8.5 and the gimped and stripped fascinate gets a 9.2? Can someone at PA explain this? Were used to the iphone getting cracked out scores even though the whole review is "but it doesnt have this, it doesnt have that, it cant keep a signal, it cant make a call, but its perfect".. but now you have the exact same phone on 2 carriers getting different scores and the one with the stuff people are PISSED about like Bing and lacking other things that the vibrant/captivate come with... gets the higher score. Carrier preference influencing score? What gives.. if anything, the vibrant/captivate should be rated higher than the fascinate for those very reasons.
2. lewislee (unregistered)
I am with you 100% the vibrant is a great phone that deserves to be rated much higher. The only thing it lacks is a flash
3. anarkie (Posts: 48; Member since: 28 Jan 2009)
I'm with you there. I love my X, but my fiancee was really looking forward to the Fascinate...until the reports were confirmed about the Bing, lower RAM, lower internal memory and poor GPS performance. She still doesn't want a X, but if nothing better comes out by November, she's getting one. I'm disappointed, because it had way too much potential. Not enough for me to trade, but it could have been a more solid alternative to the X.
4. Kranbes (unregistered)
1) Bing wont be a problem by the end of september when 2.2 is released. 2) RAM is exactly the same as all the other Galaxy S phones. Do some research, the lower number shown can be confusing, but it really is 512 mb. A portion of it is allotted to either the OS or the GPU, theyre not sure, but that's why a lower number is shown. 3) Internal memory doesn't matter with 2.2. Apps can be saved to SD cards. The overall memory that comes with the phone is plenty at 18 GB. 4) GPS works fine. It'll supposedly be even more brushed up in the bundled update with 2.2. So far mine has worked perfectly fine though. --summary: people complain about the dumbest things that really aren't issues. The phone itself is awesome. The hardware can't be beat. You can also just root it and do what you want with it, that's what's great about Android :)
5. DroidCLH (unregistered)
some people dont want to have to root their phone to un gimp it, bing will most likely not be changed by the 2.2 update (they put it in their for a reason), it doesnt matter is the real number is 512, if your phone or OS is taking up that much memory than you basically only have 300ish mb to work with, i dont think that 18 Gbs is plenty, i have a droid with 8 Gb of internal memory and a 16 Gb sd card and im almost full.
8. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the phone has 2g of internal memory to throw your apps and system stuff on. it comes with a 16g card on top. 1) bing will still be there.. and its only on the fascinate, so its a - 2)internal memory matters now. Never buy a phone based on a future upgrade. Ask owners of the Cliq,Behold2, Devour, ect. The over all memory that comes with the phone may be plenty for YOU, but the point is its still LESS than its lower rated brother, the Vibrant wich comes with 16 INTERNAL + a 2gig external with Avatar on it...with the ability to add another 32 on top... = 38g total. 4)GPS "works" on occasion. keep using it, it will stop being fine. GPS will be fixed in a seperate update sometime this month. 2.2 will be sometime afterwards. Your limited use with the phone doesnt mean that all the others have magically started working correctly. When my GPS quits telling me I'm in Berlin, Germany instead of FL, ill believe you... lol. summary: the complaint isnt that its not still a great phone. I reccomend the GalaxyS to everyone. The complaint is that its a vibrant + flash LED, yet is gimped and stripped comparitively, yet somehow attained a higher score and we want to know why.
17. beez (Posts: 4; Member since: 12 Sep 2010)
Read all of the comments. I'm still w you on this all the way. Arguments aside. No reason for 8.5/9.3 score... I don't care what your argument logic is.
24. DonkeyPunched (Posts: 321; Member since: 10 Jan 2010)
Yea, I agree. I don't know why the scores I like this. That's the first thing I thought when I saw the score. And people, you can talk about Android 2.2, but we all know those updates take a hella long time to finally come out. They haven't announced when they would roll out an update for the fascinate and I have a feeling, they won't do it first. It will probably happen to the vibrant/captivate first, then epic, then finally fascinate. :\ By then, there should be newer phones that should beat the specs of this phone. Probably not the screen, but still, they will have something better.
7. osanilevich (Posts: 245; Member since: 29 Sep 2009)
honestly I am sick and tired of this Galaxy S gimmick. One phone has 4G, the other has flash, the other has Avatar, the other has metal casing blah blah blah. They're all great phones but Samsung has taken it over the top by making this whole Galaxy Mess. Why not just give each company the exact same phone so everyone can watch Avatar in 4G, knowing their camera has flash in case they see something they wanna take a picture of? Why just make a mess of it by putting 4 phones that have almost nothing in common (by design anyway) and put them all under the same product name? It just doesn't make any sense
9. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
osan, they are all the same phone.. same screen, same internals. some have more memory some have a flash. Its not completely up to samsung. They have to change the design of the phone based on what the carriers want, or the carriers wont sell it. Its not Sammy you should be mad at, its the carriers. They all want something to differentiate themselves. No phone is "exactly" the same on multiple carriers.. they all demand it do different things. Even the all mighty Razr had different functions on each carrier. Of the group, the Vibrant is still the best one. The fascinate SHOULD have been, but they gimped it too much. Ill take lack of flash over all the other crap.
10. lolololol (unregistered)
Because not every company has an opperable 4g band yet for one. For two, only tard-mobile users would want Avatar on their phone. If that was a buying point for the Vibrant GTFO, seriously. Overall if you want every aspect of the Galaxy S the only way to get it is with the Epic. The Epic has everything else that all the other Galaxy S phones have plus a physical keyboard and 4g capabilities. If you want form factor, I'd say the Captivate is the most attractive of all four to be completely honest. The Verizon and T-Mo. versions just look like slightly larger, slightly uglier Iphone 3G(S)s. Or you could just throw out this crappy Galaxy S line all together and get an EVO, Incredible, Pre-Order a G2, or if you're on AT&T just wait a month or so until the new AT&T HTC phone comes out and get that. HTC>All. That being said Sense>All. I don't care how neat your Motorola is, if it's running Blur it's ass.
21. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
Dude, all those phones you mentioned dont hold a candle to the GalaxyS series. Go look at some benchmarks. They are ALL yesterdays news.. The only one that may be close would be the G2 and its new chipset or the Mytouch HD and its dual core 1ghz.. They still dont BEAT it though, they just keep up. The selling point of the "vibrant" isnt Avatar.. its just an "oooh" factor that makes alot of impulse buying. The movie looks absolutely beautiful on that screen, and thats the point. Also, while the Epic has the keyboard and FFC as well as 4g, it lacks all the internal memory. The vibrant comes with 18gig upgradable to 48. Its all preference. The vibrant is almost as fast as the epic when they are both in their high speed areas, but Tmobile has a much larger HSPA+ footprint than Sprint has 4g so the chances of you having a faster Epic than my Vibrant are not that great. Owning the Vibrant is also much cheaper monthly, as well as its part of the BOGO Tmobile has going. The only thing the vibrant is missing is a camera flash. I could care less about the FFC as its at least 1-2 years away from being useful for more than the novelty of having it. The vibrant is also the LEAST customized and locked down of the group, making it much easier to flash custom ROMS on it. In the end its all preference. Each phone is gimped in some silly way. You have to choose which one you want. None of them suck, even gimped they are all ahead of the pack. The only ones that are not gimped are the european/korean versions.
11. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1047; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
I really wanted to like this phone but it seems to me that the only that this phone has going for it is the super amoled screen and the fast processor. Other than that it doesn't impress me that much. Not enough that i think it deserves a 9.3 anyways.
12. mr. droid (Posts: 278; Member since: 21 Aug 2010)
honestly, I have owned EVERY blackberry, three windows phones, and ALL the android phones from verizon (except the devour, which is a pile of junk all the way around) and the fascinate has NO competition at this point. better processor, screen, and over all construction than the cheaply made lego phone, the droid incredible makes the droid x look like a free cereal box toy and the droid 2 something that came out of a McDonalds happy meal. and ALL of those are MILES ahead of the more than over-rated iPhone.. stick to what you know best apple.. mp3 players. and even iPhone is better than ANY blackberry. as for bing.. thank you samsung! I hate google! (they are a spoiled company thats only about the all mighty dollar, shoving constant advertisements in my face when ever i search for something) I am glad to see it go.i welcome the bing search engine with open arms. message me for the real review i have of all the phones. i will be more than happy to chat about them
13. DroidCLH (unregistered)
wow lol, your the weirdiest person here, you said like one correct thing and the rest was total garbage.
33. WhatSheSaid (unregistered)
"Correct" thing... or just one thing that you "agree with"?
14. Cubdukat (unregistered)
I had my doubts after reading about the entire Bing debacle, but I actually had a chance to play with a Fascinate at my local Verizon store. I'm hooked. Yeah, it's jacked-up what Verizon did by locking out Google Search (and I have to wonder why Google didn't just yank Android right out from under them for that), but that's just one problem I can see with a phone that otherwise rocks. For all its faults, it still kicks the iPhone's ass--even if it does look like one. I'm getting ready to graduate from Verizon prepaid to a big-boy phone, and this is gonna be it--for at least thirty days, anyway. Maybe my opinion of the Fascinate will change in that time, once I've actually had more intimate contact with it. But somehow I doubt it.
16. phonedemocracy (Posts: 98; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
You guys know the voice search still searches Google, instead of Bing, right? And its actually eerily accurate. I use it for Navigation too. Unbiased Droid 2 user here.
18. aja626 (Posts: 2; Member since: 13 Sep 2010)
What I don't understand is that this site posted an article that includes three pages of know issues and yet it give this phone a rating almost the same as the Motorola Droid X. In your video review you mention the widgets are OK, the reception not as high as the Droid X. You say that the Touchwiz interface does not feel like a Droid phone and that you prefer the Android feel. I don't get it. How you can give the Droid 2 an 8.5, the HTC Incredible an 8.8 and give this phone a 9.3. It does not make sense to me.
19. networkdood (Posts: 6274; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
I wonder how the lag is with this phone - samsung has been using fat16, essentially, for the file system and now project-voodoo.org has created a program that replaced it with something zippier - eventually, all GALAXY S phones will have this access. Why would you not root the phone. Download off the market RYAN's LAGFIX and you can get the phone rooted and even use his lagfix which is pretty good - not sure if those apps are compatible with FASCiousnate yet....lol IGNORE PHONE ARENA's reviews - they are normally dim-witted and full of misinformation.
20. mdodka (unregistered)
you people need to get a life for reals..... who cares if this phone got a better review than the Vibrant and the Captivate you guys act like if it was in insult to like your family or something..... i on the other hand am happy with my Fascinate its a really awesome phone i trade it in for my Droid and i am happy with my switch Samsung Fascinate FTW haha
22. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
it doesnt mean its a bad phone. but its the most gimped version of the phone and they complain about it the entire article. If your going to complain about 1 version over another by.. alot.. then that version that your complaining about should not have the higher score. It doesnt make sence.. thats the point.
25. Joshing4fun (Posts: 1047; Member since: 13 Aug 2010)
They are comparing this phone to other phones on Verizon though. Not other phones on other carriers.
23. C_S09 (unregistered)
So many ppl say that the Fascinate has Bing as the only search...Not true you can download "Ultimate Search" from the Android market for a 1.00 and it will give you Google Search widget with voice, Plus 2.2 will give you Google search when we get the OTA update. Plus you dont have to use Bing maps you can download Google maps.
26. A Current User (unregistered)
I have owned the Facinate for a week. If you are looking for an Iphone alternative, this is your phone. It is numerous reading most of the posts because it is obvious that most people writing has never owned this phone, or even played with it in the store. For those of you who say that you can't stand the bloatware Verizon puts on this phone, including Bing, then root the phone. It takes about 15 minutes for even the Novice person to do. This will give you the ability to remove all the programs you don't want and truly have Google as your primary search engine. You will also be able to use the Mobile Hotspot for free, opposed to paying the $20 dollars a month with Verizon For those who don't want to root your phone, then you can get all the Google goodness, except for change the search button on the front of the phone. For example, I currently have a Google Search widget, Voice Search, Google Maps, Google Voice, and Google Navigation. When I hit an address on a webpage, it automatically Google maps it and then gives me the option to navigate. This is all Google, and not MS Bing. Also, I use Dolphin HD as my browser, which I used on my past Droid1. When I search for an item, either in the search widget, or via voice, it searches for all items in Google, and not Bing. The screen is beautiful, vibrant, and the perfect size! Much nicer than any other phone screen on Verizon. The battery life is fair, but I am a heavy user who is on the phone all day, constantly receiving my work Exchange emails, Hotmail, and Gmail emails. Also Txting a lot, surfing the web constantly, Getting RSS updates in my Greader app, viewing MS office documents daily, Wifi users, Bluetooth user, speaker phone user, and heavy Navigation user. I can use the phone on one charge until about 3PM, and then I need to plug in. There is an extended battery coming out, but I don't know how much more this will add to the thickness of the phone. the current overall phone size is awesome. The launcher Touchwiz is OK, but I have changed this two ADW Launcher, which allows me to put the Google Search on my home screen as a Widget. I also use Beautiful Widgets on my homescreen that gives me the same Weather Clock look as you see on all HTC Sense Android phones. Multimedia support is wonderful. I linked this to my home network via the DNLA support and was streaming music and videos from my network attached storage in a matter of minutes. Also, the ability to play virtually any audio or video codec is very cool. The Samsung video player is OK, but it does differentiate itelf since it support DVIX videos. If you need MKV support then there are pleanty of good media players that do both Video and Audio. Most music players show album art, so you are all set there. Pandora and Slacker are also great, but these are Android supported apps and are not just subject to this phone. Typing on the phone is just like any other Android phone, and also comes with Swipe which is pretty cool if you get used to it. The bads are, that the GPS at times syncs immediately, and sometimes it takes 3-5 minutes to sync. This is being fixed shortly as many have mentioned. There is a LAG bug that sometimes pops up, which causes a slight screen transition delay. This isn't too noticeable, but it is there. The reception is OK, but I haven't had any dropped calls or anything of such. I notice it more when I want to stream Higher quality videos form Youtube, for my little girl to watch wen we are out to dinner. The volume on the Navigation is kinda low. The calendar application is somewhat ugly, but you can change this by downloading a replacement on the Android Market. The other thing I noticed that the GPS isn't totally accurate when you are standing still. As soon as you move it tracks accurately, but when still it can put you two blocks away from you actual location. One of the biggest disappointments is the camera. The reviewer description is accurate. I do notice a slight haze in my photos. Although it has face detection, I feel that my photos tend to turn out more blurry than not, when shooting indoors. I don't know if it is the software, or a problem with the actual sensor. I don't expect great photos form any cell phone camera, due to the optics and sensors usually being rather poor. I don't really care that it is 5MP, because I never plan to blow up these pics to an 8x11 photo, but I would wish the photos were a little clearer. I heard that the sensor and optics were better than the DroidX, but the verdict is still out. The DroidX usually takes a better pic when you quickly shoot something compared to this phone, from my experience in the Verizon store. The other big disappointment is no Exchange/ Activesync Global Directory/ GAL support. This isn't subject to this phone and it is a problem for all Android phones. This is more important for those who are using this as a business phone, like I do. There is the Touchdown app which helps with this, but I would rather have it all integrated. It has much better exchange support with Android 2.1 & 2.2 OS, but it still has some way to go with full integrated support, such as GAL. This is where BB dominates compared to Android OS or Iphone IOS. Overall, this phone gives you the closest experience to an Iphone, but on a more powerful and robust platform. Also this phone provides free turn by turn mapping that no Iphone can currently touch. The phone is very fast and presents no problems to 90% of users. For those concerned about the memory, get over it. Every Android has 512MB of Ram. All phones use some of the RAM for GPU and most for phone processes. Froyo/ Android OS 2.2 frees up some space due the the Linux Kernel being smaller than compared to 2.1, but this will give you maybe 400 MB for phone process compared to the average current of 384MB. Froyo also allows you to put programs on your SD or internal memory, but this doesn't change the RAM in the phone. Android is pretty good at managing the memory unlike BB and WM phones, which causes the phone to crash when you are near capacity utilization for the RAM. The other thing I didn't mention is that this phone has a 6 axis sensor that is unique compared to other Droid phones. This is especially needed for some of the advanced games coming out on Android. The high resolution mobile games look amazing on the screen and perform very well on the phone. The only reason I would go with the DroidX over this phone would be for the HDMI out on the phone, and little better battery life. I dont' care for the 4.3 screen, and this is why I have originally purchased the Facinate. You can't root the DroidX like the Facinate, so this is something I need to consider. I most likely will keep this phone, unless the HTC Merge comes out in the next 20 days. No likely, but we can always hope.
27. A Current User (unregistered)
One other thing.... Many compare this to other Galaxy S phones. The only thing I have to say to that is that this phone is on Verizon, and most people agree that the coverage is significantly better in the SF Bay Area compared to any other carrier. AT&T and Tmobile are a joke, and Sprint is getting there. This is the main reason I never bought the Iphone. I came close, but saw the light. If the Iphone was on Verizon,iti would be a tough choice, but I most likely would still go with Android because the oneness of the OS. I also can't stand iTunes, due to the single computer sync thing. I love the ability to be able to dump any MP3 or video I like onto the SD card and not worry if it is was bought form iTunesl or if I am always syncing to the same computer. Finally, I read my last post again, and noticed a tone of grammar mistakes and misspelled words. Sorry about that. Tired and typing fast.
28. remixfa (Posts: 13935; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
lol. good review. the fascinate has the same inherant GPS problems as all the GalaxyS phones. My vibrant pictures are clear and not blurry, so i dont know why the fascinate would be foggy. have you cleaned the lens? maybe its a manufacturing issue. who knows. The video function for 720p is exellent on the phone. All in all, the galaxyS line is the superior android of the moment and the forseeable future. What people are bitching about is how VZW treated the phone. Its still one of the best phones out, but it doesnt diserve to have a higher score than its brothers the virant and captivate. The epic should have the highest score like it does, since it has the most features by far, but the vibrant/captivate should come in second, with the fascinate comming in a slight last since its the same phone as the others, but gimped. They all deserve at least a 9.0+ though. Anything less is a crappy review.
29. shl615 (Posts: 5; Member since: 15 May 2009)
Does anyone else have the reverb in the speaker of your own voice during calls? Especially in loud noise areas like wind noise, I can hear the wind from my OWN speaker.......
32. Chris3D (unregistered)
Yes, I get the same thing and it's really distracting and annoying. Why any phone should transmit what the mic picks up through it's own earpiece is beyond me. There's no possible reason for a phone to be designed to do that, it makes no sense whatsoever. I'm really having a hard time deciding whether or not to return this phone.
30. Willywill82 (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Sep 2010)
In this review on its camera performance you said: "We weren’t that impressed with the image results we got from the other Galaxy S phones, so weren’t surprised when the Fascinate produced similar looking pictures." However, you just did a huge feature on the camera performance of the Epic 4G, iPhone4, and Droid X, claiming the iPhone 4's camera UI simplicity and consistent results as being a great mobile phone camera, with the Epic 4G coming in pretty even or really, at a close 2nd, due to its accurate color representation, better features and options in the camera UI, and fluid HD capture. I'm surprised it did well according to your camera standards, seeing as how it and the Fascinate are the only currently available US Samsung Galaxy-S phones with a flash and have the same damn camera. This review was kinda retarded from that perspective. You literally wrote in the iP4, E4G, DX camera review that "However, some people would rather have something that's more balanced – and that reward would have to go to the Samsung Epic 4G. By far, it proves to have a well rounded mix of features and performance to provide versed camera users a level of flexibility to cater to specific conditions." It and the Fascinate have the same cameras. I mean, let me know.... did I miss something here?
31. Willywill82 (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Sep 2010)
@ osanilevich, Not everyone has 4G, you don't need a network connection to watch it on those Galaxy-S phones it comes on, and making them all the same and not unique for each carrier would have been very RIM-ish. Despite their reputation and history, they're rapidly losing market share for a reason... I can't tell 1 from the other apart. To me, some are small, some are a little larger, and obviously those with the Curve name are the low end models. At least for a person looking to move to a different carrier or just to go to a carrier to get a Galaxy-S phone and wants to choose one based on the best features available for them, as well as the best pricing plans available for them, they can choose 4 different variations on the same device. And for the record, the original Galaxy-S, the "Galaxy-S," has no flash. Us Epic 4G and Fascinate owners ought to be extra glad if you ever intend to use your camera, and it's a damned good one, too for a cell phone camera. Camcorder mode rivals that of the iP4 which is so "universally coveted," despite the fact it can't make or hold phone calls.
34. rgorzkajr (unregistered)
i just got this phone for free at best buy for there free pfone friday and i gotta say short of the e-mail shortage(came from a blackberry) this phone is the cats you know whats.
35. rgorzkajr (unregistered)
does anyone know the name of the clock/widget in the homescreen
36. benjamin206 (unregistered)
I'm so happy with my new unlocked cell phones! This has an unbelievably fast processor, great feel and easy to text on. I used to own a unlocked htc phones, but I'm so much happier with my brand new unlocked samsung phones. This Samsung Fascinate is so much better for my business and pulls my email in so much faster. And I really couldn't be happier with it since it is an unlocked tmobile phones and it's a unlocked 3g phones I can take it overseas. My family loves my new phone and can't get enough of the games. I'm going to purchase another one for my son for his birthday from gsmauthority.com. Definitely would recommend this phone.
37. Jsquared85 (unregistered)
I send this from my samsung fascinate phone. It is everything that I hoped it would be and then some I love the speed and how user friendly it is. Everything that you expect it to do it does from the settings down to the shortcuts and the sub menus to select from when you hold your finger down is so well thought out. I've owned lg's motorola's nokia's and other samsung phones, samsung is by far my favorite manufacturer, and this is by far my favorite phone so far. I can't get enough of it. what else...great battery life, more than I expected, awesome camera the hd video is incredible....haven't had any problems with bing at all. i am definitely fascinated by this phone
38. hmmmmm (unregistered)
whats wrong with bing.... its a better search engine... i was skeptical not a fanboi or anything but ive found it to be great. fascinate is a great phone too (my laptop is jealous) wish it had hdmi though.