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Samsung Instinct HD Review

Samsung Instinct HD

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team


User Interface:

The Instinct HD is built off of the original UI, but there are many improvements. The main layout is the same; there are two environments - home and phone - and each one has several tabs. Previously, there were four tabs on each, now there are five. On the Phone side you’ll find the self-explanatory Speed Dial, Contacts, Recent, Voicemail and Dialer. The Home side still has Favs, Main, Fun and Web, and is now joined by My Stuff. There is a new lock screen this time around; instead of a press and hold of the power button (which still works) the user can slide to unlock, just like the iPhone.

The Samsung Instinct HD has two enviroments - home and phone - Samsung Instinct HD Review
The Samsung Instinct HD has two enviroments - home and phone - Samsung Instinct HD Review
The Samsung Instinct HD has two enviroments - home and phone - Samsung Instinct HD Review
The Samsung Instinct HD has two enviroments - home and phone - Samsung Instinct HD Review
The Samsung Instinct HD has two enviroments - home and phone - Samsung Instinct HD Review

The Samsung Instinct HD has two enviroments - home and phone

My Stuff menu - Samsung Instinct HD Review

My Stuff menu

Favs allows the user to set up to 12 shortcuts to menu items, bookmarks, TV channels, radio stations, playlists or to send a text or email to a specific contact. Main features commonly used items such as messaging options, navigation, calendar, settings and others. Fun houses all of the multimedia and social networking offerings of the Instinct HD and My Stuff has all of your downloaded games and apps. Lastly is Web, which now has top-tier content providers instead of a generic link to news, sports, weather, etc. Partners are CNN, ESPN, weather.com, Fandango and Bloomberg.

All of these menus except Favs allow you to view them in the familiar grid view, but like Favs, you can also view the other menus in list view. Certain apps, such as CNN, weather.com, and My Photos deliver content directly to the homescreen when in this list view. For instance, the weather.com app gives the current conditions, and if you have multiple cities set you can scroll through them. CNN delivers five headlines, and the My Photos app shows your most recent pictures snapped. These upgrades really enhance and make for a richer user experience.

The screen is very responsive, but the menu isn’t always so snappy. Performance doesn’t seem to be improved over the original too much and we were often waiting for apps to load. Granted, there is  only 84MB of internal memory, but given this isn’t a smartphone (despite Sprint and Samsung’s claim) there really isn’t an excuse for the sluggish performance. Unfortunately this is all too familiar with featurephones, and overall the Instinct HD has the best dumphone UI out there.


The phone interface is largely the same as before. Users can easily assign speed dials by touching “Tap to add,” then selecting them from the contact list. From the Speed Dial tab they can simply touch the user to call them directly, or hit the arrow key for contact details.

On the details screen the user will see the picture ID (or placeholder silhouette) at the top and the contact’s details down below. The user can tap on a number to call it, or the speech bubble next to it to send a text message. Tapping the email initiates an email. If you have the user’s address stored you can initiate a navigation session with the press of a button, or you can map the location or send the address as a text. You can also view the history for that contact, which holds all of your text messages and call logs. We would have liked to see a few more options, such as birthday info or Facebook integration, but everything is still very good.

The contacts tab of course lists your contacts, in this case alphabetically. There is no first name/last name field so it sorts by however you have them named. At the top is a “+” icon which is used to add a new contact. Along the right is a little half circle that you can drag to quickly scroll though them; as you grab it a giant “A” appears on the screen and you can run through the alphabet. Samsung has addressed one of our gripes by adding a search option at the top of the screen.

Samsung Instinct HD Review
Samsung Instinct HD Review

Visual Voicemail is pretty much the same as we saw the first time around. Within a contact you are given the option to send them a voice message, which is a welcome addition. We appreciate that Sprint does not charge for Visual Voicemail, it really is a fantastic product, but we wish that it was on more phones other than the Instinct line and now the Hero.

Voice dialing is the same as before, again powered by Nuance. The Speech to Action button on the left-hand side initiates this, and it goes beyond the standard voice dialing by allowing the user to launch applications or initiate a message to a particular contact. We loved it the first time around and it is still best in class. Mobile Sync still backs up your contacts to the cloud free of charge.


The original Instinct choked in this area, and the HD is not much different. It toes the line quite nicely however, and does support Exchange calendar support out of the box. Mobile Sync has a desktop client that syncs with Outlook for indirect contact sync. The phone offers remote management support so that it can be controlled by your enterprise admin.

The calendar is relatively basic, allowing you to add appointments and set a reminder alarm up to one hour before. You can set it to recur daily, weekly, monthly or yearly as well as select days of the week for it to occur. The notes program allows you to store notes and nothing else. The calculator can function as a standard calculator, tip calculator or unit converter and now when rotated it turns into a scientific calculator. The alarm clock will let you set up to 10 alarms. They can be one time use alarms, or can be set to repeat daily, Monday-Friday or Saturday and Sunday. You can set the snooze interval to 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes. With the accelerometer you can now flip the phone over to snooze. Other clock features include a world clock, stopwatch and countdown timer.

The calendar of Samsung Instict HD is relatively basic - Samsung Instinct HD Review
The calendar of Samsung Instict HD is relatively basic - Samsung Instinct HD Review
The calendar of Samsung Instict HD is relatively basic - Samsung Instinct HD Review

The calendar of Samsung Instict HD is relatively basic

  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. acipollo (Posts: 34; Member since: 20 Apr 2009)

The screen is not resistive, it capacitive. Just because it does not have multi-touch, people seem to think that. Try using a stylus or a fingernail on it and it wont work.

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 14:30

2. lovinlissa1984 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Aug 2009)


posted on 07 Oct 2009, 17:40

8. thunder18 (Posts: 140; Member since: 06 Aug 2009)

Trust me they did. Anyway, the did mention first off that it was not immediately apparent to them that it was capacitive. They're not saying that it's not. I think a lot of that has to do with the UI lag after pressing the home back and call key. If you turn of haptics...at least on mine, there is a small but noticeable lag when pressing each one which you might feel is alleviated by pressing the button harder/longer. However, in testing you will find that if you feather touch those same keys and just wait, the UI will change screens like it's supposed to.

posted on 08 Oct 2009, 02:16

11. PhoneArena Team (Posts: 258; Member since: 27 Jun 2006)

Yes, the screen is indeed capacitive. We are sorry for the mistake we accidentally did in the beginning.

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 14:42

3. lovinlissa1984 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Aug 2009)

"Unfortunately it does not have the slick panoramic mode found on many newer Samsungs, including Sprint’s Reclaim." The phone does have a feature that will stitch 4 photos together( just in case you wre wondering)

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 14:45

4. mr. anderson (Posts: 92; Member since: 16 Apr 2009)

i havent tried the instinct hd, but i have used the omnia II and it takes 8 or 10 shots in succession, basically creating a 270* view. im not sure how much id use it, but it is a very cool feature and youd think with such a camera-centric phone theyd include s/w theyve already written

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 14:54

6. lovinlissa1984 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Aug 2009)

it does have a multi-shot capability but im not sure of the amount of photos Dale

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 17:36

7. thunder18 (Posts: 140; Member since: 06 Aug 2009)

The multi-shot mode allows for 3, 5 or 10 pics to be taken in quick succession.

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 18:01

10. lovinlissa1984 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Aug 2009)

Thank you for clarifying thunder

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 14:52

5. lovinlissa1984 (Posts: 9; Member since: 29 Aug 2009)

also for those that dont know the battery life on the first batch of phones is terrible also for now you can get the phone at Best buy for 199.99 after instant rebates..and i can imagine that when the phone comes out officially on sprint it will be a little cheaper, tho with a mail in rebate. Dale

posted on 07 Oct 2009, 17:42

9. thunder18 (Posts: 140; Member since: 06 Aug 2009)

Yeah, I'm kind of wondering how they got their battery life that high. I want a tester phone!

posted on 12 Mar 2010, 10:43

12. douchka (Posts: 4; Member since: 12 Mar 2010)

Is it me or Phonearena just rates Sprint phones above 8, and any other carrier 8 or below? Same way cnet.com always rates ATT's phones way above average and any other carrier phone average or below? Must have something to do with advertising. I mean most of the advertisement on here are sprint ones... Just saying

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PhoneArena rating:
Display3.2 inches, 320 x 480 pixels (180 ppi) TFT
Camera5 megapixels
Size4.63 x 2.28 x 0.50 inches
(118 x 58 x 13 mm)
4.01 oz  (114 g)
Battery1440 mAh, 5.8 hours talk time

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