Samsung Moment Review

Introduction and Design

Sprint debuted Android with a bang with the HTC Hero, but somewhat lost was that the Samsung Moment (nee, Instinct Q) would be coming just a few weeks behind.  Well the time is here and the Moment has arrived with its full QWERTY keyboard and AMOLED goodness.  On paper the more down to earth Moment seems to be a perfect complement to the stylized Hero; the Hero is a more customized, fun, all touch device whereas the Moment is more business-like with stock Android, a more advanced processor and of course the hardware keyboard.  Will the physical keyboard, faster processor and AMOLED screen be enough to keep pace with HTC’s Sense UI?  Read on to find out!

Included in the box you’ll find:

•    1440mAh Li-Ion battery
•    AC Adapter
•    USB cable
•    Stereo headphones
•    2GB microSD card


The Moment is a hefty device.  It plunks into your hands, and the slide opens and closes with a resounding thud.  It most definitely tip-toes the line between quality feel and just plain heavy, but falls on the quality side.  The slide mechanism is firm both open and closed, displaying only the slightest inevitable wiggle when shut.  It is spring-assisted, but takes a considerable amount of force to begin, again toeing the line but coming down on the side of good construction.

You can compare the Samsung Moment with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

The 3.2” AMOLED display is a beauty to behold.  With 16M colors it is a far cry from the 65K color TFT panels we’ve grown accustomed to on HTC’s Android devices, but unfortunately it is still only 320x480 in resolution.  With the OMNIA II sporting a 480x800 pixel display we had higher hopes, though we realize as an Android 1.5 device at launch these hopes were in vein.  It’s still an AMOLED display though, and it is very pleasant to look at.  It is very bright, not easily washed out and the color depth is great.  It is very cool though, with pure white displaying a very blue tint.  It didn’t bother us, but we did notice it immediately and have a feeling that some of our more discerning readers will not appreciate it.

Below the display are three touch-sensitive buttons: Home, Menu and Back.  There are two physical buttons for Send and End, but no Search key.  The Samsung Moment utilizes an optical, clickable trackpad in lieu of the trackballs we’ve seen on HTC designs.  We prefer the ball.  The trackpad on RIM devices is bearable because  you can change the sensitivity, but not so with the Moment.  It moved way too fast for our liking, making fine movement difficult.  Along the left side of the phone is the volume rocker, and on the right is the voice control key (thankfully linked to Nuance) and the camera button.  All of the physical buttons rise prominently from the surface and click reassuringly.  The soft-touch painted back is very simple, with 3.2 megapixel camera and speaker breaking up the monotony. “with Google” is proudly screen printed on the battery door.

Sliding the Moment open reveals a four row QWERTY keyboard.  Each key is a curved rectangle, and in a bit of an optical illusion they appear to be honeycombed together.  They are just large enough, with decent spacing and when pressed offer a definite click.  Still, they don’t feel quite right.  When typing the adjective that comes to mind is “thin.”  It’s hard to put our finger on what exactly we don’t like about them, but one thing that doesn’t help is the tiny space bar integrated into the bottom row.  We much prefer it to be below the letter keys as it creates an awkward rearrangement of our fingers when typing.  In fact, we often found ourselves using the on screen keyboard because we prefer the layout better.  The onscreen version had some slight lag to it, but was overall very usable.  It offers good haptic feedback, but is only available in a QWERTY layout, without options like HTC’s compact QWERTY and phone keypad.

The Samsung Moment is a well constructed phone, but we are not a fan of the keyboard.  It is precisely this feature that will set the device apart from other Android offerings, especially the Hero, and we really think Samsung dropped the ball.  The display still makes it a compelling offering, but given the added size and weight we expected a bit more from the Moment.  If you’re a Sprint user and the Hero’s touch screen is the reason you’ve been putting off getting into Android we urge you to go try a Moment for yourself before taking the plunge.

Samsung Moment 360 Degrees View:

Interface and Software:

There is really noting here to report.  Unlike HTC and Motorola, Samsung has not chosen to add any flavor to the Android UI and what the user is left with is a stock 1.5 build, just like the Magic at release.  The only customizations are by the carrier, specifically the SprintTV and NFL Mobile Live widgets, their respective programs as well as NASCAR Sprint Cup and Sprint Navigation.  The Weather Channel app is preloaded, but is available to all in the Market, along with 10,000 other applications.

The Samsung Moment feels pretty boring to be honest.  We can see this being marketed as a business compliment to the Hero’s consumer base, but we’re still a bit disappointed.  TouchWiz seems like a perfect overlay to Android, and would have made the Moment a much more compelling offering.

Messaging, Phonebook and Organizer:

As stated earlier we’re not crazy about the keyboard, which puts a pretty big damper on the messaging aspects of the phone.  The onscreen keyboard is a viable option, but for quick messagers the intermittent lag may present problems.  The Messaging app is exactly as you’d expect for a stock Android device.  The Gmail app is as fantastic as ever and replicates the web experience with conversations, archiving and stars.  The regular mail client will handle most POP3 and IMAP accounts you throw at it, including other Gmail accounts.  Sprint has included Moxier Mail for Exchange support, which also supports syncing of tasks.

The phonebook and organizer are both stock Android with no enhancements.  Thankfully Nuance is included for voice command; it is a much better solution than the standard voice recognition software and can be launched via a Bluetooth headset.

Multimedia, Camera and Connectivity:

The camera of the Samsung Moment, while not at all perfect, performed fairly admirably.  There was some noticeable graining, more notably on indoor shots, and details like leaves sometimes got a bit sharp in the distance, but on the whole colors were very vivid and life-like and images were crisp.  Settings were unfortunately extremely sparse; the user can set video quality from low to high, geotag pictures and turn the flash on and off, no more.

The music and video players are capable if not polished.  There is nothing to complain about them, but at the same time nothing to get excited about.  Samsung says the Moment will officially support 16GB microSD cards (it ships with 2GB,) but we suspect that it will do just fine with 32GB models as well.

The Samsung Moment is an EVDO Rev. A phone with Wi-Fi.  It runs the standard Android WebKit browser and does not support multitouch.  This is a big drawback when compared to the experience on the Hero. Pages loaded just fine, but using the magnifying glass to zoom in and out is more cumbersome than simply pinching.

Performance and Conclusion:

Voice quality was excellent on the Samsung Moment.  Callers had no complaints about us, saying that we sounded crystal clear.  On our end the sound was great as well; callers sounded life-like, volume was good and even at the highest levels there was no distortion.  The 1440mAh battery is rated for 5 hours of talk time, a 25% improvement over the Hero’s 4 hour rating.  Surprisingly the 800MHz processor didn’t seem much snappier than the 528MHz one running other Android devices.  There was still some slight lag in menus and when opening apps.  We’re starting to think Android is to blame here, though 2.0 addresses some of these issues.

In the end the Moment left us wanting more.  On paper it is a beast: 800MHz processor, AMOLED display, full QWERTY keyboard.  In the flesh it doesn’t live up to the hype though, largely because of the poor keyboard.  The stock build of Android doesn’t help either; where the Hero is fun to use the Moment is too plain. Android is really starting to gain traction and take off, but the Moment seems so last year.

Samsung Moment Video Review:


  • Excellent call quality
  • Beautiful AMOLED display
  • It’s plain Android, but you can still customize the hell out of it


  • Keyboard is not very good, and the optical trackpad is too sensitive
  • The Moment is large and heavy
  • 800MHz processor doesn’t seem to make much of a difference
  • Multi-touch is not supported

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