Samsung Galaxy S line launch event in New York City

Samsung Captivate and Samsung Epic 4G
Space....the final frontier, right? Samsung's voyage into the US market with their high powered Android smartphones came to fruition on a night in the Big Apple where they fully unloaded their arsenal to the public. The Samsung Galaxy S was first unpacked back in CTIA where we were fortunate enough in experiencing one of the stronger Android handsets in the market that combines some stellar hardware with an intuitive and lightning fast experience that doesn't look to be contained by boundaries. Instead of being satisfied with launching a single variant of the Samsung Galaxy S to one sole carrier in the US, they decided to go all out and provide every major carrier with their own unique version of the handset. Just as we see Motorola in the near future saturate the market with their line of DROID smartphones for Verizon, Samsung's class of Galaxy S handsets are surely to make some thunderous noise as they mount a full scale launch into the US market. And with that in tow, we'd surmise that these high-end Android sets will boldly go where no smartphones have gone before.

First up on the block is AT&T's version of the Galaxy S, the Samsung Captivate, which surprisingly differed the most in terms of design out of the bunch. What we liked about it specifically was its somewhat resemblance to the Samsung Wave – although it had a flare for plastic materials as opposed to the Wave's sturdy metallic-like exterior. We find it the most appealing and fresh looking of the bunch as the rear cover employs this carbon fiber-like pattern to really dash on some appeal. Overall, the handset is pretty thin thanks to the technology in-use behind the Super AMOLED display and that its construction feels pretty solid. As much as we adore its eye catching looks, the Captivate's 4” Super AMOLED touchscreen truly takes much of the attention as it'll provide for some stunning looking images on-screen with its rich colors and detail. Under the hood, its 1GHz Hummingbird processor makes for some swift actions when moving around its interface – which will be Android 2.1 from the onset. Although the unit we checked out at the event wasn't a final production one, we were generally pleased with it nonetheless and hope to find the retail model to live up to the Galaxy S name. Additionally, the Samsung Captivate features a six-axis sensor, thanks to the phone's accelerometer and gyroscope, which will make the handset a pretty good one in terms of gaming.

Samsung Captivate Specifications

Just when everyone thought that the HTC EVO 4G was going to keep the 4G love all to itself on Sprint, darting straight to the number three wireless carrier in the country will be the 4G packing Samsung Epic 4G. We've seen this handset leaked not too long ago, but not we can officially say that the handset is looking to be an impressive one not only due to the fact that it'll accompany all the high-end features we've seen with the Galaxy S, but it ups the ante thanks to 4G connectivity on board and a slide-out landscape QWERTY keyboard. It's obviously the bulkiest of all the Samsung Galaxy S variants, but it's still welcoming knowing that it'll offer the conveniences that come along with a physical keyboard. At first glance, the handset reminded us of Sprint's version of the HTC Touch Pro2, but it quickly dissipated once we were able to handle it – especially when you've got a 4” Super AMOLED. Despite not exuding a premium feeling handset, the mostly plastic constructed device did have a decent opening mechanism. Opening up the handset to reveal the QWERTY, keys are rectangular in shape with some spacing in between which are elevated slightly to provide some distinction when you begin to type. You'll also find a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera in the rear and a front-facing one which would naturally cater to video calling. When it comes down to the platform experience with Android 2.1 on the handset, it was just the same as the other units – immensely swift and intuitive. If there was one gripe we had with the handset, it had to be the touch sensitive buttons constantly turning off – making it blend into the plastic and difficult to find. HTC EVO 4G owners maybe eying this handset from afar due to its strikingly impressive hardware, but it remains to be seen if the Samsung Epic 4G will be able to muster up larger crowds.

Samsung Epic 4G Specifications

T-Mobile's version of the Galaxy S, the Samsung Vibrant, had a lot more in common in terms of its overall appearance to the original GSM one. The slate only device was somewhat typical of other Samsung sets we've seen – constructed out of plastic and didn't seem like some kind of high-end smarphone. Granted though it was super light weight and streamlined, the interface of course is loaded with plenty of widgets at your disposal – plus there was no evidence of any slowdown when navigating through the interface. Unlike the Samsung Epic 4G, the Samsung Vibrant doesn't tack on a flash to its 5-megapixel auto-focus camera, but thankfully it still records video in 720p – which should be more than sufficient for most users. All in all, T-Mobile's version of the Galaxy S is by far the most relaxed unit among the bunch as it remains faithful to the original.

Samsung Vibrant Specifications

Finally, we're greeted to the Samsung Fascinate which is Verizon's version and follows closely to what we've seen with the Samsung Vibrant for T-Mobile. Although there wasn't too much that impressed us in regards to its design, which is constructed mostly with plastic, its light weight definitely makes the handset feel like nothing in your hand. As much as it may not be the most appealing looking handset out of the bunch, we're still pleased to know that the hardware under the hood more than makes up for its somewhat bland looks. The 4” Super AMOLED display again is extremely crisp and pleasing to the eyes, but also responsive to the touch as we navigated around its interface. However, we did notice that moving between home screens wasn't as fluid when compared to the experience we witnessed with the other handsets. Still, its 1GHz Hummingbird processor was able to load up and play videos smoothly without any slowdown to diminish the experience. Thankfully, the Fascinate comes packing with a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash to make some of those shots taken in low lighting conditions somewhat more tolerable.

Samsung Fascinate Specifications

Now that Samsung has made their mark with their launch party, it'll be interesting to see what kind of market share the company will garner now that all four major carriers will be holding their own version of the Galaxy S. We have to admit that the experience of Android 2.1 on all four handsets was completely uplifting as the 1GHz Hummingbird processor clearly shows off its speed which can tangle with the elites out there. Finally, Samsung's take on Android is also refreshing when you look at all of the current Android handsets available in the US market right now. The customized experience is definitely something different and we're sure it'll be adopted with open arms from veteran and novice Android users – now the only thing left to the puzzle is pricing and release dates.

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