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Samsung Instinct Review

Samsung Instinct

Posted: , by PhoneArena Team


Full QWERTY - Samsung Instinct Review


Ah, here’s where the Instinct, like every touchscreen device before it, will falter.  Right?  Wrong.  The Instinct’s onscreen QWERTY is the best we’ve used, and it’s not really even close.  In landscape orientation the Instinct is very comfortable to use and we were typing quickly right out of the box.  It kept up with us and was accurate as can be.  When you press a key it turns blue and the phone gives you haptic feedback, and as we got faster the animations sometimes couldn’t keep up, but the presses were still registered nonetheless and the message was correct.  Honestly, we were quite surprised since we are a) not a fan of touchscreen QWERTYs and b) not a fan of QWERTYs in general.  Our only complaint with the QWERTY keyboard is the backspace key placement, which is on the very top next to the orientation toggle and keyboard hide key.  About 10% of the time we’d hide the keyboard instead of going back, but since there were very few mistakes this really isn’t an issue.

Portrait Keypad - Samsung Instinct Review

Portrait Keypad

We do have a major gripe with the portrait mode keypad however.  In one of the stupider design moves in recent history Samsung has decided to go with a full keyboard laid out alphabetically.  There is no excuse for this not being a T9 keypad like you find on the Touch Diamond or Glyde.   This layout makes one -handed typing basically out of the question, and Samsung needs to release an update for this yesterday to fix this issue.  There is also handwriting recognition in portrait mode, though we doubt many people will use it.

Threaded Messaging - Samsung Instinct Review
Threaded Messaging - Samsung Instinct Review

Threaded Messaging

Text messages are threaded, finally.  We’ve seen this on Palm, the iPhone and Windows Mobile 6.1 and it’s about time it came to a non-smartphone.  Unfortunately we don’t see this carrying over into the rest of the dumphone lineup (though it’s unfair to call the Instinct a dumbphone, perhaps a slightly-more-intelligent phone is a better term.)  When you open messaging you see a list of contacts you are conversing with, and tapping their name brings up your conversation thread.  You have the option to delete individual or selected messages, as well as the entire conversation.

Email Client - Samsung Instinct Review
Email Client - Samsung Instinct Review

Email Client

Email is handled by the Sprint Mobile Email client, which just appears as “Email” in the menu.  Users can check personal email from AOL, AIM, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail or other personal POP and IMAP accounts.  It is advertised as push, and does indeed alert you when you have new email, but in our use it took anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes for a message to show up.  It does appear to be using IMAP, which is an upgrade from past versions.  For the everyday user that doesn’t need their email within two seconds of arrival SME is a very capable and easy to use program.  The only oddity is that the user has to go into the settings and choose to be alerted of new emails, for some reason this is not set to on as default.

Sprint recently announced Sprint Mobile Email Work, which will allow users to configure Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes email on the Instinct in addition to their personal email accounts.  It is simply another tab in the email program, entitled Work, and the user can configure their device with their server settings to access both work email and work contacts.  Since the Instinct requires an Everything or Talk/Message/Share plan, the program is free.

The Instinct also supports Sprint’s Picture and Video mail service, basically (though not truly) MMS.  Unlike previous Sprint phones, which capped out at 30s, the Instinct can send Video Mail that is up to 2 minutes in length.  Unfortunately other devices cannot view videos that long, though they will receive the message and be given the option to forward it to email.  There’s nothing special to say about it besides that, other than it’s a feature the iPhone 3G does not support for some unknown reason.

Unfortunately, and questionably, there is no instant messaging client.  Hopefully it’s still being written.

Connectivity and Data:

The Instinct is fast.  EVDO Rev. A and Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR make it the fastest device on the market, perfectly complimenting the largest 3G data network in the country.  Sprint’s touting the Instinct as the first consumer device with Rev. A, which isn’t entirely true given QChat launched a few days before the Instinct, but they can probably lay claim to it being the best 3G experience on the market.  Yeah, the iPhone’s getting high-speed data but AT&T’s 3G network is still small and spotty.  The increased speeds, both down and most notably up, makes programs like Sprint Navigation run incredibly smoothly.

The browser is a mixed bag.  It is a full HTML browser, but much like RIM and Palm’s full browsers they fall short of a desktop experience.  It is better than those two, PhoneArena eventually loaded properly, but it seemed to take longer than it should.  It has three zoom steps, ½, 1 and 2x which are accessed sequentially via a side button.  There is also a page overview mode, similar to Opera Mini, which allows the user to drag a box around the webpage and release to zoom in.  Unfortunately flash is not supported, though m.youtube.com is.  It’s not as bad as some are making it out to be, but it could use some improvement.

1/2x - Internet Browser - Samsung Instinct Review
1x - Internet Browser - Samsung Instinct Review
2x - Internet Browser - Samsung Instinct Review




Overview - Internet Browser - Samsung Instinct Review
Internet Browser - Samsung Instinct Review
YouTube - Internet Browser - Samsung Instinct Review




Internet Browser

Browsing is done in landscape mode only.  While the Instinct does not have an accelerometer, the user can hold the camera button while surfing and the phone will move the page as you tilt the device.  It’s a cool feature, just not all that useful.  It also needs some topographical relief as a reference point, so something like a carpet or a dark room in effect nullifies this feature.  One thing we did like is the keyboard changes when in the web browser.  On the main keyboard screen www. and .com replace the space bar, and if you switch to number/symbol mode most common web address beginnings and endings have a shortcut, including https://, mail., .co.uk and .mobi.  Kudos to Samsung for being so comprehensive.
The phone does run Java apps, so there’s hope for Opera Mini, but currently it does not work since the Instinct has no soft keys.  The addition of Opera Mini would greatly increase the Instinct’s browsing capabilities.

The Instinct features Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and supports the following profiles: HSP, HFP 1.5, DUN, OPP, FTP, PBA, A2DP, AVRC.  A2DP, or stereo Bluetooth, is another major advantage the Instinct has over the iPhone.  Paring is easy; it will attempt to auto pair with other Bluetooth devices using common passwords and in general it worked.

  • 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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