Samsung Transform Review

When the Samsung Transform was initially leaked it was postulated that the device would be another Galaxy S variant, possibly an all-touch device to go along with the Epic 4G.  However, it transformed into a mid-range Android device with a side-sliding QWERTY, leaving many disappointed who were looking forward to possibly the third 4G handset in Sprint’s lineup.  The Transform has a few tricks up its sleeve though, such as the front-facing camera for video chat (despite only being 3G) and a design very much inspired by its big-brother, the Epic 4G.  It is also a launch device for Sprint’s new Sprint ID service, which gives the user customizable ID packs for a more personal experience.  The Samsung Transform ships with an AC adapter/microUSB cable combo and a 2GB microSD card.


The Samsung Transform is no doubt a mini-Epic 4G.  The styling is not identical, but its DNA is unmistakable.  Like the Epic 4G, the Transform uses very simple black and grey design with a display-dominated front, chrome ring and soft touch battery cover.  The handset feels very premium, possibly even more so than the Epic which we thought felt a bit off for such a high end device.  The keyboard is different from the Epic 4G, which in our opinion is a good thing.  Keys are spaced just right, are plenty large and have a bit of grip to them.  It is quite frankly one of the better keyboards we have ever used and probably the best we’ve seen on a Samsung device here in the US.

The size is good, though a bit chunky.  It’s just 15mm thin, but it is heavier and bigger in all other dimensions when compared to the Intercept it replaces.  It is just a tenth of an ounce lighter than the decidedly larger Epic 4G.  This all leads to a solid feel, but you will definitely feel the Transform as opposed to the light as air Sanyo Zio.

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

Samsung can’t quite decide on a display for their mid-range devices: the Moment had a 3.2” 320x480 AMOLED panel, the Intercept a 3” 240x400 LCD and the Transform has a 3.5” 320x480 LCD.  We appreciate the size and resolution of the Transform, but would have liked to see an AMOLED display, if not Super AMOLED.  We realize that Samsung has to differentiate between their devices though, and if the Transform had a Super AMOLED it would likely steal sales away from their flagship Epic 4G.  The TFT LCD used on the Transform has 262K and produces natural looking images, but won't wow you with a very high contrast ratio and super-saturated colors.

As on the Epic 4G, along the left side of the Samsung Transform you’ll find a volume rocker, a 3.5mm headset jack and microUSB port on the top and the power and camera buttons on the right.  Unlike the Epic 4G the Transform has added a voice dial button below the power, a welcome addition for us.  The buttons all sit nicely above the housing and offer good feel so there is no problem finding them and knowing that you have pressed them.  The rear of the phone features the 3.2 megapixel camera with flash and the single speaker.  A VGA camera sits above the display, off to the right.

We love the way the Samsung Transform feels, even if it is a bit chunky.  For a mid-range device it is probably the best build quality we’ve come across.  The Epic 4G felt a bit plasticy to us, but the Transform feels super-solid.  The slide mechanism is tight and the materials used are great.  The keyboard is an instant favorite and we would point to the Transform as a standard for mid-range handset design.

Samsung Transform 360 Degrees View:



1. James12 unregistered

This phone is awesome looking. It is quite possibly the best looking midrange android device and is leap years ahead of the Intercept and Zio in build quality. I cant wait for Sprint to hand this down to Virgin Mobile because I know it would do quite well on carriers of that type. Good review.

2. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

My wife got one on launch day. She sort of likes it, the only thing she complains about is lag. The hardware is solid, the screen isn't too pretty but about standard for a TFT. Resolution is kinda low, you can see the pixels. But honestly the price can't be beat. We got it for $150 with an instant rebate. The only other higher Android option that she had is the Epic 4G. But she wasn't hip on the $10 additional per month. If you think about handset cost of the Transform vs the Epics handset cost plus additional charges it's $150 VS $490. That's handset cost plus $10 Premium Data for 24 months of contract. $340 difference from Transform to Epic...She chose Transform.

3. Booboo unregistered

Interesting review. Engadget only gave the phone a 3, and you guys seemed to miss a lot of the glitches, like the phone display not changing when put into landscape mode and none of the video chat programs working. Don't be fooled. The Transform is not a good phone.

4. WKlingbeil

Posts: 215; Member since: Dec 26, 2008

-1; Maybe you should consider the fact that Engadget's Transform had issues and PA's didn't. Just because your precious Engadget had a bad device doesn't mean they're all bad. It would be pretty hard to just "miss" glitches like that, so use common sense next time before you waste space and everyone's time with a comment that has no real use.

5. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

Actually I hate to agree with him. But he's right. Phone Arena did miss some of these issues. The screen definately doesn't rotate. I put Launcher Pro on my wifes Transform. Now it auto rotates to widescreen even without the keyboard being out with settings correct. He's also right that currently no video confrencing apps support the Transform. I would really enjoy the Transform if it didn't have a couple major issues. In reality the one major issue is that the processor doesn't support hardware accelerated open gl. So my wife who loved Angry Birds on her Pre now has a game that runs choppy and doesn't display all layers of the game. Otherwise the phone seems bogged down. The hardware setup looks beautiful at first. Then let's you down with how slow it works. Samsung should have up'd the hardware a little and this thing would be an AWESOME phone. It still could end up being awesome if they patch it to working smoother. Id like it if Rovio fixed the missing layers issue. Maybe she could put up with the lack of hardware acceleration.

8. MR Me unregistered

Well Doakie. Check out some other reviews. The video conference is only supose to work over wifii. The android 2.1 will be getting an upgrade to the 2.2

18. Annony unregistered

... It says in that little book that you get with your phone. THAT THE HOME SCREEN DOES NOT ROTATE. Unless you update it to 2.2.

6. RWS unregistered

Looks like it replaces the Samsung Moment, except no AMOLED.

7. bethoney96 unregistered

I just got the Transform. I was wanting the HTC Evo but it costed 30 dollars extra a month for the 4G. I really love this phone, however, it does have it's drawbacks. Pros: Large Screen, Great Camera w/ Amazing Flash, Droid for apps, comes qith microSD cars(which by the way, holds a lot more than I expected), the slide out keyboard for when the touch sceen gets old. Cons: Bulky, touch screen sensitivity, screen orientation doesn;t change when keyboard is out, and it LAGS, A LOT, you need to be in a coverage area to get the full effect out of your phone. It's a good phone, but it has a lot of other gliches that get really annoying. Another one is when you put in a contact, it doesn;t show up for some reason I don;t know why.

9. richard crappel unregistered


10. asiaman unregistered

The transform does indeed have open gl 1.1. Also the device will support video chat when upgraded to Froyo. I guess some people jump to conclusions before checking out the facts. I used Quick System Info Pro and you will find that under properties, there is Open Gl listed as the following. Vendor Samsung electronics render FIMG Version Open Gl 1.1 extensions Gl Oes matrix palette... If you use a task manager, the battery will last all day and all your apps won't run in the background using up memory and burning up the battery. This is a new device and not all spps for the front camera will work for it, so be patient.

11. kookoo2 unregistered

I just got the transform and in less than the 30 days I've had 3 of them, all with the same problem, the keyboard stops lighting after about 3 days and just flickers when I type. Also, the front "keys" won't stay lit and just flicker when I touch them. Other than that I think its a nice phone. Anyone else had this problem? I think I'm just going to give up and get the intercept. My husband has that one and he likes it.

12. cookie unregistered

I overheard a sprint rep mentioned another lady had similar problem & they suspect it had to do with her nails stabbing into the already recessed keyboard buttons, causing undue stress on led area. Take it for what it's worth, but maybe you should cut your nails :p

13. te unregistered

Well I don't have long nails and my phone is having the same freaken problem!!! this phone is pissn me off!!

14. Old Samsung user unregistered

This phone is a complete waste of money. ggole should stay out of the phone business. we bought it, added our contacts then google gmail erased them and put in the 2 we had in gmail. Google has no serious contact setup. If I was 17 I would probably like it but listing 220 business contacts by their first name? Come on! Not good phone at all and sprint has been no help. You have to use sprints id package or nothing. Complete waste of time. Syncing outlook is a nightmare. Save your money and wait for the windows 7 phone. Android is terrible also. Programmed by kids who have no concept about business.

17. stupidpunkin unregistered

When i did the google thing it also erased all my contacts. So had to spend a long time tracking down and replacing those. Some lost fopr good. Also I have had my phone for 4 days or so and now I cant answer it. My slide bar is frozen. Also I do not like that I cant use the phone and carry things because my cheek keeps screwing with the touch screen. This is not a good phopne for someone who cant just sit still and use it. I'm a mom on the go and have to be able to talk hands free sometimes. Also do not like that you cant just simple answer or hang up in the car. I will be returning this phone today.

15. Michele unregistered

Worst phone ever! These are the problems I've encountered in the first two weeks of owning it: 1. Will not sync. It says "Sync is experiencing problems. It will be back shortly". But it never comes back. 2. The keyboard and front keys do not stay lit. They flicker when pushed. (I do not have long nails). 3. It has shut off on its own and it freezes. 4. About 50% of the time it will not allow me to answer a call. The slider bar is frozen so i cannot answer them. 5. The phone freezes for several minutes after it pairs with my cars bluetooth. 6. Very slow and lags. I went to Sprint last night (Thank God I bought the insurance). I was told that my phone was glitchy because I had too many apps on it (22 apps, which I did not think was a lot). The Sprint "tech" rebooted my phone so it was like it was out of the box... no apps.... Guess what? Still having the same problems without a single app on the phone except for task killer, that he installed. I can't believe that I'm going to be stuck with the piece of garbage for two years!

16. silverneedl unregistered

hate the phone - takes forever for emails to come through - was told it was Yahoo and MSN wanting premiums for service - changed to gmail - not much better. also have sync error notice regularly screen very sensitive (will be taking and find that a TV program is on - from my earring, i guess) except when i try to answer a call and it takes several swipes to answer. had a blackberry - loved it - switched to this because android is the future - miss my blackberry terribly!!

19. i hate transforms! unregistered

Do not buy this phone it is soo slow and laggy it sucks worst phone I think ever made..

20. parmaniac unregistered

the Transform is truly a P.O.S. . I'm no dummy,i know how to use a goddamm smartphone. This thing freezes constantly,cant answer the phone half the time due to the slide bar locking up,i have like 10 apps loaded that waste the battery if used even tho i'm running Task Killer and Juice Defender (which now will not even load),the Facebook app is worthless,and now,for the Transform's latest trick--it sometimes takes up to THREE HOURS to power on. Thanks for bending me over for 2 years with this trash,Sprint. I can't win.

21. phone sucks unregistered

The phone SUCKS!! Its really laggy and the touch screen will stop working! /:
  • Display 3.5" 320 x 480 pixels
  • Camera 3.2 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Battery 1500 mAh(6.00h talk time)

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.