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Samsung Instinct Review

Samsung Instinct

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team



Main - Samsung Instinct Review
Favs - Samsung Instinct Review



Samsung and Sprint wiped the slate clean to create a new user interface for the Instinct, and the results are overwhelmingly positive. Never has a Sprint phone had such an intuitive UI. With a dynamic interface that the touchscreen affords, the Instinct is a breeze to navigate. Icons are large, attractive and most importantly relevant.

The interface consists of four tabs- Favs, Main, Fun and Web- which are static at the bottom of the screen. Favs allows the user to set up to 12 shortcuts to applications, bookmarks, music, TV channels and even a frequently messaged contact. To reorder favorites the user can simply hold and drag the item to where they want it.

Main offers nine submenus; Email, Messaging, Voicemail, Navigation, Calculator, Notes, Calendar, Clock and Settings. Fun is where you find music, TV, radio, games and pictures. Lastly, you’ll find the browser, Live Search and weather, news, sports and more under the Web tab. The layout is incredibly simple, and incredibly intuitive to use. At any time the user can hit the Home key and be returned to the Favs tab.

Fun - Samsung Instinct Review
Web - Samsung Instinct Review



The animations are slick as well. For instance, if you are in the Fun tab and click Web the application panels all slide in on their own from the right (since Web is right of Fun) and neatly arrange themselves. If you click the Main tab, which is left of Fun, they slide in from the left. You can scroll through menus with a flick of the finger, and when you get to the bottom or top of a list the phone vibrates and the panes move like a wave, separating in the corresponding direction only to come quickly back together. It’s quite clear that a lot went into the design of the interface.

It’s no perfect, however, and it’s no OS X. First, and foremost, it’s almost too simple. It’s cool, but lacks the wow factor that the iPhone has. There is no real home screen, so the user can’t personalize the device with wallpapers other than the standby screen when the device is locked. And that standby screen needs to have a slide to unlock feature, none of this holding down the lock button for two seconds. The icons are good looking, but are a bit too cartoonish and the grey interface is drab, with no other options. In this day of finger flicking, it would make sense to be able to flick between tabs, instead of just tapping. While these are admittedly minor gripes, mostly cosmetic and non-functional, a phone of this caliber needs to wow the user and get them excited about using it. The Instinct just doesn’t do that, and it’s a shame because it’s a really good interface.

Luckily this UI won’t be exclusive to the Instinct. Sprint plans to release other phones running it, and they have released an SDK for it. It’s based off a BREW/Java platform, so hopefully users will create skins and as the UI evolves with new elements it will also become more aesthetically pleasing.


Speed Dial - Samsung Instinct Review
Contact Details - Samsung Instinct Review
Contacts - Samsung Instinct Review

Speed Dial

Contact Details


The phone interface has been completely reworked as well. Again, there are four tabs across the bottom: Speed Dial, Contacts, History and Dialer. 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. You can also view the history for that contact, which holds all of your text messages and call logs. Everything is great, to be quite honest.

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 + 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. There is no contact search feature, an omission in our opinion.

Samsung Instinct Review
Alphabet Scrolling - Samsung Instinct Review
History - Samsung Instinct Review

Alphabet Scrolling


Dialer - Samsung Instinct Review
Dialer - Samsung Instinct Review


The History tab brings up your call history, and Dialer is the 12 key dialpad. At the top of the Dialer screen is a giant green talk button that you press to initiate a call. The in-call screen is very useful. The top shows the contact name, phone number and call duration. Below that is the large picture ID area. In the middle is a large End Call slider. There is a Mute button and Speakerphone slider below that and on the bottom is Add Call, Contacts and Dialer buttons. We have to admit, the first time we were in a call the End Call slider, instead of an actual press-able button, confused us. It’s a slick feature, but they may have been trying too hard with that one. None the less, it’s a nice looking and very functional call screen.

Mobile Sync, which we first told you about in our Sanyo PRO-700 review will let you manage your contacts online. The web tool will import Outlook contacts, though it does not actually sync with Outlook like a Windows Mobile phone would. It’s still a great, free tool offered by sprint.

Visual Voicemail - Samsung Instinct Review
Visual Voicemail - Samsung Instinct Review

Visual Voicemail

Visual Voicemail:

The Instinct brings Visual Voicemail to Sprint for the first time.  It's a very cool feature, and works more like an application than a voicemail system.  When the voicemail notification comes through it displays the sender's number (or name, if they are in your contact list,) or you can go to the Voicemail option from the Main tab.  All voicemails in your inbox will be shown with the caller's name or number, simply tap on the voicemail you want to listen to and a player comes up.  The user can pause, fast forward and rewind the message, lock it or choose to forward or reply to it.  You can also call the user back or send them a text message from this screen.  It does use a new voicemail system however, so old codes such as 11-xxx-xxx-xxxx to backdoor a user or pressing 1 to skip the greeting does not work.  It's a nifty program, and hopefully we'll see it on more phones in the near future.


The Instinct’s calendar is unfortunately similar to dumphone calendars, rather than smartphones. It 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. It does not, however, sync with Outlook or iCal and therefore is generally useless.

It does have a basic notes program, which simply allows you to store notes and nothing else. The calculator can function as a standard calculator, tip calculator or unit converter. 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. Other clock features include a world clock, stopwatch and countdown timer.

The Instinct loses major ground to the iPhone in its PIM functionality. Instead of taking it to the next level, it simply offers the basics you’d find on any run of the mill phone. This is an unfortunate move, and we feel if the Instinct offered better PIM support, such as Outlook sync, it would be a much better phone.

Organizer - Samsung Instinct Review
Organizer - Samsung Instinct Review
Organizer - Samsung Instinct Review
Organizer - Samsung Instinct Review
Organizer - Samsung Instinct Review


Samsung Instinct Review
Samsung Instinct Review
Samsung Instinct Review
Samsung Instinct Review
Samsung Instinct Review

There is only 32MB of internal memory available, a paltry number to be sure. However, the UI runs perfectly smoothly with it and user memory is expandable up to 8GB via microSD. It ships with a 2GB card, giving most users plenty of memory to carry a small music collection on. As it is microSDHC compliant, it is likely that 16 and 32GB cards will work as they become available.

  • Options

posted on 20 Oct 2010, 01:55

1. (unregistered)

thank you for rating the PHONE, not like those who just hate sprint and say the phone sucks. Great job.

posted on 08 Aug 2010, 02:25

41. mrmister (unregistered)

Hi, Thanks for the review, i'm considering this phone but still i like my Samsung Hype.Pls. visitwww.samsunghype.com

posted on 21 Jun 2008, 23:05

2. (unregistered)

Thanks for your review. I already order one........ let's see how it looks.......n will definitely write comments ...

posted on 09 Jul 2008, 18:37

23. canevaro24 (unregistered)

Believe me I have one, this is a beatiful phone and it does more than the iphone plus it comes with an extra battery as everyone knows iphones dont have that

posted on 22 Jun 2008, 01:05

3. mock5 (unregistered)

Went to play with the device at a Sprint Store, I must say it's not what I thought it would be, it honestly feels quite cheap in the hand and it lacks the simplicity that the iphone has with its OS. but, if that's your thing I am sure it will work for you. The speeds with the data varied based on reception, although when it had full bars I didn't notice much lag on it, the phone did freeze a few times on me. The GPS was quite a nice touch, the music player which got low marks already wasn't that great. All and all it wasn't enough to make me go back to Sprint, sorry to say I am going to wait for the iphone 3G when it comes out and if that's not as a WOW factor as the original was for me I am going to bank on the Samsung Omnia with it's FM Radio, 5 MPXL camera, Wi-Fi, WinMo 6.1 and HSDPA. Plus it's a phone I can take with me overseas. All and all I can see why the price was knocked down to 129.99 for it. Just not that stellar.

posted on 05 Oct 2008, 10:11

35. Joey77 (Posts: 1; Member since: 04 Oct 2008)

WoW its actually cheap and not tough/durable.

posted on 22 Jun 2008, 15:49

4. (unregistered)

I purchased his phone on the 19th and must say this review is the closest to the experience I have had so far. The QWERTY is extremely accurate and easy to use right out of the box. I did want to point out that you do not need to use the virtual back space button as the permanent back button next to home icon will work as well. I also had trouble with the virtual back space button which will make the keyboard disappear if you missed it. Also I was able to load Google Maps by sending the text link to myself via google.com. The UI is very easy and user friendly but seems to be pretty dumbed down. I was surprised with the lack of options under the Settings icon. My favorite feature is the Sprint Navigation which like the review stated works hand in hand with Live Search. The Navigation was quite to re-route when I would purposely not follow where it told me to go. I can search everything from gas by price to just about anything else under the sun with easy which is all categorized and once you find what you are looking for you are given the phone number, a map, driving directions, and the ability to send the info to anyone! All in all t is a great phone for what I need. If you are looking for email access you are better off to stick with your BB, WM, or Palm because the Instinct will not cut. It is far from a smart phone but has to be one of the best multi-media/GPS phones.

posted on 22 Jun 2008, 18:54

5. NoIMQQ (unregistered)

No... I ... M.... nice....

posted on 22 Jun 2008, 19:00

6. (unregistered)

its just a java app, so i wouldnt be surprised to see it in the near future. not shipping with it, however...

posted on 24 Jun 2008, 01:09

7. (unregistered)

I was able to download google maps and use it just fine on my Instinct. I agree with all the cons. The camera sucks and not having T9 is pretty dumb. I hate not having the ability to personalize the phone with a wallpaper that I can see longer than 2 seconds. Other than that it is great!

posted on 27 Aug 2008, 10:41

31. (unregistered)

no need for T9 when you have a keyboard!

posted on 25 Jun 2008, 01:31

8. JohnJohn (unregistered)

I was going to switch from Sprint to AT&T with iPhone 3G but then I took an hour and tried out Sprint Instinct at the store. It is an awesome phone and a serious competitor (except browser which will be resolved with Opera Mini soon). Other than that, it is very customizable, single handed operation for most stuff, fast Touch-screen response, real GPS (unlike iPhone which just tacks on Google Maps) with turn-by-turn directions. You can even download Google maps (both street view and satellite view) on Sprint Instinct (should be integrated with GPS in a little while as well). The voice command search is awesome (you say Chinese Food and it will find nearby using GPS and even give you a one-touch number to call or one-touch to turn-by-turn GPS directions), and 30+ TV channels and a lot of Radio channels are included. It also has a camcorder that iPhone doesn't. It is perfect size (iphone is too wide). And best of all, for $69.99 single line or $129.99 for 2 lines, you get everything that iPhone 3G will provide plus UNLIMITED Text messaging (iPhone will cost $20 extra per month!) and UNLIMITED TV and RADIO time (no TV or Radio on iPhone)! The TeleNav GPS on Instinct is like high-end GPS unit for a car and it has voice command with real names of streets. It also checks for real-time traffic alerts and re-routes you! You can even set Instinct up to announce (text to voice) the names of phone callers on incoming calls or text messages! And it cost me $129.99 at BestBuy (no mail-in rebates needed) with renewal of 2-year contract (I was 23 months into the contract). This is the best deal for my money and I got 2 of them for me and my wife and she loves it!

posted on 07 Jul 2008, 16:21

20. (unregistered)

Too bad this sweet phone is on one of the worst "nationwide" networks available. Poor Sprint.

posted on 27 Aug 2008, 10:43

32. (unregistered)

here we go, we know Sprint isnt your cup of tea but it works great for me and my family for the last 5 yrs.

posted on 25 Jun 2008, 23:06

9. (unregistered)

now what's left? Sprint needs to improve they network. I still believe vzw and att has the best network in the business. Without a good ASS network all of this ain't possible. Because u will be frustrated with the phone but really is not ur phone is the cell towers that SUCKS!!!!

posted on 26 Jun 2008, 16:35

10. (unregistered)

its all about what works in your area, but as one who uses both vzw and sprint and travels a lot i have to admit that sprint has surpassed vzw in the past two years or so. they keep getting better, while my vzw service deteriorates.

posted on 26 Jun 2008, 17:12

11. (unregistered)

The real deal killer for me on the Instinct is that it currently lacks the ability to open PDF's and Office doc's, no push email, and no calendar sync. I know this is not intended as a "business" phone, but these are serious drawbacks for anyone considering the phone for anything but play. Does anyone know if these shortfalls will be addressed?

posted on 27 Jun 2008, 10:16

13. (unregistered)

Hopefully the SDK release will solve some if not all of the probelms you listed. The other option is wait util they release the Andriod version which I've read is expected Q4 08 or Q1 09.

posted on 27 Aug 2008, 10:47

33. (unregistered)

well working in retail and selling Sprint this phone is mainly for play, no calender sync and no plans of correcting that as of yet. also this device is not ment to compete with your current line of PDA phones it is not even classifyed as such by samsung and sprint.

posted on 25 Nov 2008, 13:30

38. (unregistered)

do you mean that there is no way to sync your phone with your computer??

posted on 26 Jun 2008, 20:40

12. 1DESIRE (unregistered)


posted on 27 Jun 2008, 10:21

14. (unregistered)

Have you tried to typing on the Instincts virtual keyboard yet? I wasn't sure I would like it myself but after the first day I was amazed with how responsive it was. The only problem I have is the "?" is right next to the space bar so I somethings have a "?" instead of a space.

posted on 27 Jun 2008, 10:39

15. (unregistered)

Did anyone know that if you are using the GPS or radio that you will not receive phone calls. They go right to voice mail.

posted on 30 Jun 2008, 08:02

17. (unregistered)

I received a call on Saturday night while I was using the Navigation so you may have a probelm with your phone. Now if I'm watching TV or using the RAdio app it will go to VM but not when I'm using the Nav

posted on 30 Jun 2008, 04:31

16. Sara98 (unregistered)

I enjoyed reading this review thank you phone arena. The only inaccurate item in your review is saying sprint has the largest 3g network. If you go off of sprints website their EV-DO is available to over 230 million people in the U.S. If you go off of Verizon's website their EV-DO coverage is available to over 245 million people. But hey who's perfect?

posted on 08 Jul 2008, 14:07

22. (unregistered)

ev-do is not the same as 3g

posted on 10 Jul 2008, 15:12

26. (unregistered)

ev-do is the name of 3g that sprint and verizon use.

posted on 11 Dec 2008, 08:23

40. tuscan_sun (Posts: 2; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)

"largest" can mean geographical area, rather than metro population coverage. Personally when assessing a network coverage i dont care about the other 244,999,999 folks.. i want the largest geographical coverage from a network.

posted on 30 Jun 2008, 12:27

18. sprintrules01 (unregistered)

These are all the known device issues so far, glad i didnt get it as soon as it came out, :) Customer may experience slow response or service unavailability on the Samsung Instinct (M800) MicroSD card not recognized on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Important Voicemail information regarding Swaps to the Samsung Instinct (M800) Issue with sending a 2 min video to another carrier on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Wireless backup to Mobile Sync not working on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Mobile Sync times out with large address books on the Samsung Instinct (M800) User Guide is not included in the box on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Phone as Modem not supported on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Prohibited services with Visual Voicemail on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Lotus Notes not supported by Desktop Sync at launch on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Sprint Mobile Sync MySprint headers missing on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Sprint Mobile Sync / MySprint Authentication issue on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Desktop Sync email issue on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Sprint Mobile Sync entries missing on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Intermittent Sprint Mobile Email delays on the Samsung Instinct (M800) USB phone off when in USB mode on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Intermittent TV Quality Issues on the Samsung Instinct (M800) Some websites will not recognize Instincts web browser as capable of handling PC formatted versions of a site on the Samsung Instinct (M800) SOFTWARE UPGRADE There are no Known Issues of this Type EXCHANGE / REPAIR There are no Known Issues of this Type

posted on 02 Jul 2008, 12:27

19. Al in TX (unregistered)

I got my Instinct the day it came out, and now I'm on my 2nd one. The GPS and the Live search only work when it feels like it. I just moved and it has gotten me lost TWICE for over 30 minutes each. One more mess up and I'm turning it back in and reactivating my old trusty M1 flip phone.

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PhoneArena rating:
Display3.1 inches, 240 x 432 pixels (159 ppi) TFT
Camera2 megapixels
Size4.57 x 2.17 x 0.49 inches
(116 x 55 x 12.5 mm)
4.40 oz  (125 g)
Battery1000 mAh, 5.75 hours talk time

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