Samsung Intercept Review
Though it may be overshadowed by another popular device on Sprint shelves, the Samsung Intercept is an important point in the carrier’s relationship with Android. The first three devices (HTC Hero, Samsung Moment and HTC EVO 4G) were all premium devices, perched atop their lineup and representing the best the smartphone world had to offer at the time. The Intercept is different; it’s a decidedly mid-range smartphone that doesn’t try to be more than it is. It marks a separation from the carrier’s top tier and a move into the feature phone space. From a feature perspective the Intercept is a downgrade from the Moment it replaces, with a smaller and lower resolution screen and EVDO Rev 0 instead of Rev A. But it’s a smaller device with a bigger keypad, and came into the market at almost half of what the Moment did back in November. Included with the Intercept is a 2GB microSD card and a combined AC adapter and data cable.
The Samsung Intercept is undoubtedly a better looking phone than the Moment. Yes, the screen has shrunk from 3.2” down to 3,” but the difference isn’t very noticeable and the overall design and size is much better for it. The Intercept is more polished and looks more like a Samsung phone; the Moment always looked like a clunky, poorly-designed step-child. The Intercept feels more natural in your hands, thanks in part to the narrower design and tapered edges.
You can compare the Samsung Intercept with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.
While the smaller screen size isn’t much of an issue, the lower resolution is. The Moment featured an AMOLED panel at 320x480, but the Intercept knocks it down to a TFT at 240x400. We weren’t expecting a Super AMOLED display here, but to at least keep par with its predecessor would have been nice. The quality is noticeably degraded though it does gain a bit of readability in direct light. We’re not crazy about the feel either; there is a considerable amount of drag when swiping around the screen. This can at least be fixed with the addition of a screen protector if the user so chooses.
One of the changes we do like is the reworked QWERTY keyboard. It still features the same four row design, but the keys are larger and more usable. Furthermore Samsung has done away with the silly offset that brought the bottom edges out further than the row above it. The space in the middle of the bottom row still remains but it is less of a nuisance this time around since it does not push that bottom row out. The keys do not have much tactile feel to them, but thanks to their large size and definite click when pressed the Intercept is a breeze to type on. Like the Moment the spring-assisted slide mechanism is fairly heavy, but in a good way.
The front now features four capacitive keys- a search option has been added- in addition to the optical joystick and physical send and end keys. The right edge houses the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top and camera key at the bottom; the left side has a volume rocker and the microSD slot. Thankfully Samsung has moved this outside and the battery no longer needs to be removed to swap cards. The microUSB charging/data port is along the top, and near it on the back is the 3.2 megapixel camera. At the bottom of the battery door is the single speaker, and like many recent models the door must be pried off from the bottom to be removed. Thankfully this process is smoother than on the Samsung Restore and we did not have issues with the battery coming out.
The Intercept is a more traditional Samsung design, with familiar styling for the keys and trim. It is offered in grey and pink, the latter of which has a nicely stylized back. Overall the phone has more chic to it, something the Moment definitely lacked. It is not at the expense of usability however, as the Intercept feels good in the hand and is great to type on. The two color options will allow the Samsung Intercept to appeal to a larger customer base who may be concerned with looks just as much as performance.