Samsung Captivate vs. Apple iPhone 4

Introduction and Design

Try as they may, Android's push with AT&T has yet to compare to the level seen with other carriers like T-Mobile and Verizon as they boast some of the most eclectic mix of high-end Android smartphones that can quench the needs of many. For the last few years, Apple's iPhone has cemented itself as the sole premier smartphone offering which has been able to captivate people with its intuitive performance, quality design, and straightforward experience – all the ingredients required for its successful recipe. However, we've just checked out the Samsung Captivate, AT&T's specific version of the Galaxy S, which easily impressed us by its stellar performance, refreshing interface, and eye catching looks. It's a safe bet to say at this point that the Captivate is easily the best thing out of Android on AT&T's lineup which can test the iPhone 4's recent tight grasp. So if you're an AT&T customer sitting idle to find out which smartphone to side with as your next device, then sit back as these two titans are plopped down in a cage to see who can tangle with who.


Undeniably, we were happy to see the Samsung Captivate exude a strikingly alternate look versus its other brothers and sisters. Although it still employs some plastic, it doesn't feel cheap at all while its metallic back cover adorned with a carbon fiber pattern does make it feel well constructed.

Meanwhile, in just about every angle you look at the iPhone 4, there is no shortage of premium materials used in its construction. Sandwiched in between two pieces of glass like material is a stainless steel band that outlines the usual look of the iPhone we're accustomed to seeing over the years. Clearly, the Apple iPhone 4 embodies all of the aspects that one would expect to find in a premium handset.

Streamline is the name of the game and both smartphones present themselves with some serious slim packages as the iPhone 4 stands in at 0.37” thick while the Captivate is at 0.41” – but we're quite impressed with the slim look of the Captivate when it's packing a sizable 4” display. Holding each handset in the hand, the difference in weight is night and day as the Captivate's (4.41 oz) choice of materials makes it especially light weight over the iPhone 4 (4.83 oz). When it comes to sheer durability, one would have to imagine for the lighter Captivate to hold up more in extreme situations – however, we were surprised to see our iPhone 4 still looking intact and pristine, aside from some minor blemishes, after dropping it from a height of 4 feet onto the hard pavement. As much as we were more careful in handling both units after that unfortunate incident, we accidentally dropped the Captivate from a height of 3 feet. Luckily it lived to see another day as the only damage done was also a minor blemish to its plastic casing.

These two powerhouse smartphones utilize two totally different display technologies, but which ever one you look at, there's no arguing that they're probably the most compelling things to be found. The Apple iPhone 4 relies on a 3.5” LCD IPS display dubbed the Retina Display as it boats a mind boggling resolution of 640 x 960 pixels with support for 16.7 million colors. Naturally with that sized screen and high resolution, it easily provides for more detail as each section of the display is littered with densely packed pixels. On the other hand, the Samsung Captivate explodes with a 4” Super AMOLED display at WVGA (480x800) resolution and equal support of 16.7 million colors. Sure you can see some fuzziness happening around some text from a closeup glance, but it offers for some stunning looking colors, which though can, at times, be too saturated. Although it may look extremely appealing, you can tell things are a tad oversaturated on the Captivate when you  compare the color white – on the iPhone 4 it replicates the color perfectly while there is a slight bluish hue on the Captivate. However, the Captivate produces better pure black over the iPhone 4 as it boasts a higher contrast ratio. At times though, you can make out the individual pixels on an image or text on a web page with the Captivate while everything looks detailed and sharp on the iPhone 4. Both handsets are equally potent in the brightness category and in viewing angles as well, but taking it outdoors in the direct path of the glaring sun, we had an easier time seeing items on screen with the iPhone 4. Each handset has its unique attributes that stand out more than the other, but in the end, it will ultimately come down in how the end user perceives it with their own eyes.

Nowadays touch sensitive buttons seem to the trend in exuding a premium quality handset, just like what the Captivate offers, but we still find the physical button employed on the iPhone 4 to be less aggravating. In any case, there is a decent amount of spacing in between the bottom of the touchscreen and touch sensitive buttons to minimize any accidental presses. As for the rest of the buttons adorning the sides of each handset, we liked the ones on the iPhone 4 as they felt pretty good and well sized over the plastic ones in use with the Captivate. The iPhone 4 follows Apple's tradition in utilizing its proprietary port for charging while the Captivate sides with the standard microUSB port – but thankfully both find a common ground with their 3.5mm headset jacks. The iPhone 4's speaker is found where it should be towards the bottom edge of the phone while it can be found in the rear on the Captivate. Both smartphones include a 5-megapixel auto-focus camera towards the upper left corner on the rear, but the iPhone 4 tacks on an LED flash – so it's almost unimaginable to see a high-end phone to lack one, but it's omitted from the Captivate. Most users would like to see a removable battery and microSD card slot, which are present  on the Captivate – but these are of course naturally lacking on the iPhone 4.

Samsung Captivate 360 Degrees View:

Apple iPhone 4 360 Degrees View:

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