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Samsung Instinct Review

Samsung Instinct

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Samsung Instinct Review
Camera performance was underwhelming, which unfortunately is a growing trend with Samsung in the US. It is a 2 megapixel camera, but is no autofocus and in fact there are not even any options. Color representation was pretty good, but edges were soft and pictures turned out grainy to the point of being pixilated. Results were better under natural lighting conditions, but still far from what we’d determine as good. It records video as well, but the only option you have here is to keep the videos under two minutes so they could be uploaded, or to record until you run out of memory. Samsung really dropped the ball here, and we are pretty shocked to see no image controls.

The picture album is nifty, though again not on par with competitors. Images can be viewed either in a standard grid, or in a cover flow style. Tapping the image zooms in and out, and in full screen mode you can flick back and forth to change pictures. Images look good on the high resolution display, and when setting a background image you can rotate, zoom and center the image to your liking. Unfortunately, as we said earlier, you only see the wallpaper when the phone comes out of sleep and is waiting to be unlocked.

Outdoor sample - Samsung Instinct Review
Outdoor sample - Samsung Instinct Review
Outdoor sample - Samsung Instinct Review

Outdoor sample


Strong light - Indoor samples - Samsung Instinct Review
Medium light - Indoor samples - Samsung Instinct Review
Low light - Indoor samples - Samsung Instinct Review

Strong light

Medium light

Low light

Indoor samples





Multimedia:


The Instinct has the potential to be a multimedia powerhouse, featuring OTA music downloads, live TV and streaming radio. On the music side it supports MP3, AAC, AAC+ and WMA files, while the video player handles the H.264 and MPEG4 codecs.

Audio quality was good, and the sound quality was on par with our iPod. With its 3.5mm headset jack the user is free to use whatever headphones they like. Sound was surprisingly good out of the speaker as well. A small set of aftermarket speakers would no doubt be bigger, but it does a good job with what it has.

Music playback is handled by the Sprint Music Store. It’s gotten a redesign for the Instinct, but functionality remains the same. It’s fairly basic, with only shuffle and repeat options, but easy to use. The store portion lends itself to finger-friendliness and searching for music is simple. The player displays the song information on the top, with the album art dominating most of the display. There is a time bar towards the bottom and previous track, play/pause and next track controls below it.

Sprint Music Store - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint Music Store - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint Music Store - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint Music Store - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint Music Store - Samsung Instinct Review

Sprint Music Store


Unfortunately it still has issues with ID3 tags at times, and for some reason it seems to be worse this time around. We side-loaded five or six albums to test and it read the song information on all but one, though it did not read the artwork on any of them. A bigger issue we had was that it completely didn’t recognize a certain album we loaded. The files were in mp3 format, properly tagged with embedded album art but the player just didn’t see it at all. We have even used this album with the Sprint Music Store in past reviews, so something is definitely amiss.

The Sprint TV application also looks different on the Instinct, and handles side-loaded videos as well. In TV mode it has a sidebar to the left, and the channel listings on the right. Unfortunately the mediocre quality is only exaggerated on the Instinct’s high resolution screen. Side-loaded videos didn’t look much better unfortunately, and the Instinct is well behind the iPhone In this regard.

Sprint TV - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint TV - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint TV - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint TV - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint TV - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint TV - Samsung Instinct Review

Sprint Radio is a separate application than TV, but has a similar layout. Like the TV service, it offers content that is live, made for mobile or on-demand. An added feature of Sprint radio is that there are hundreds of local channels available from across the country.

Sprint Radio - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint Radio - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint Radio - Samsung Instinct Review

Sprint Radio



Software:

Since it is built on a Java platform, the Instinct can run many Java applications. However, due to its unique no soft key layout and touchscreen display, most current apps won’t work. We were able to load Opera Mini, but then couldn’t do anything with it and Google wouldn’t even let us download Google Maps since it didn’t know what phone we had. Since this is a new phone and new platform this is to be expected, but we hope developers start working on applications sooner rather than later.

Live Search - Samsung Instinct Review
Live Search - Samsung Instinct Review
Live Search - Samsung Instinct Review
Live Search - Samsung Instinct Review
Live Search - Samsung Instinct Review

Live Search


Sprint Navigation - Samsung Instinct Review
Sprint Navigation - Samsung Instinct Review

Sprint Navigation

The Instinct comes pre-loaded with a few very nice programs. We’ve seen Live Search on other phones, as well as Sprint Navigation, but for the first time the two can talk to each other. Live Search’s voice recognition capability means you can search for businesses and get local results based on your GPS location. A simple tap and you can start a navigation session to guide you there. Navigation on the large display looks beautiful. We’ve often though that Sprint Navigation was missing voice prompts, and while Live Search can’t look up specific addresses by voice it’s still very handy.

The Instinct’s Speech-to-Action is powered by VoiceSignal’s Vsuite. VoiceSignal has long been one of our favorite programs, and it seems that the Instinct is running an updated version. It seems to work better, and it picks up the wrong command (for example, “Jane Doe Mobile 2” instead of just “Jane Doe Mobile”) it will tell you that the number doesn’t exist and ask if you’d like to call a different Jane Doe number. In the past it would just let you know that no number existed and then time out. You can actually launch Live Search with it, meaning that you can pretty much start a navigation session completely with your voice.

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PhoneArena rating:
9Excellent
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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