Samsung Vibrant Review
The Samsung Vibrant doesn't deviate from the swift response we've been treated to with its other brothers and sisters thanks to the peppy 1GHz Hummingbird processor it's packing under the hood. Implementing its TouchWiz 3.0 interface on top of Android 2.1, scrolling is naturally fluid throughout the platform – although there is a slight choppiness when you begin to clutter the home screen with some graphically intensive widgets and opting to go with an animated wallpaper. Despite that, the experience is truly gratifying and easily amazed us in how responsive it runs as a whole.
In its current state, you're treated to the TouchWiz 3.0 overlay of Android 2.1 as it boasts seven home screens to fill up with either some stock Android widgets or the ones specifically crafted by Samsung. Throughout the process of moving in between home screens, there are four icons docked on the lower portion as they are labeled dialer, contacts, messaging, and home. Pressing the latter will get you into the main menu where it's laid out in traditional TouchWiz fashion as the icons are square shaped and equally distant from one another. Overall, there is nothing really much to say about the custom interface as it's the same exact one in use on the Samsung Galaxy S I9000.
The selection of widgets that can be added to the home screens is similar to the one in the Samsung Wave. Samsung's widgets are for the most part helpful, though repetitive. The company decided to show us there are many ways to skin a cat - if you want to be always in touch with the weather (AccuWeather clock), the stock market (Y! Finance clock), another timezone (Dual clock), or your busy schedule (the Calendar clock). There's absolutely nothing wrong with them as they provide for additional enhancements to make the look and feel of the phone somewhat more varying between handset owners – which is of course the beauty of Android as a whole.
Those can actually be combined into one widget called the Daily Briefing, which populates the current weather, stock quotes, AP breaking news, and your calendar events, on one home screen. Another fairly useful widget is Feeds and Updates - it satiates your thirst for social interaction on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace right from a home screen.
So what makes T-Mobile's version different from the others? Well, it happens to include a host of media content and apps out of the box to showcase the handset's sheer capabilities. If looking at the packaging wasn't a big indication already, the Vibrant is able to illustrate the beauty of its Super AMOLED display thanks to James Cameron's epic movie – Avatar. No it's not in 3D, but instead, it's able to demonstrate the vibrant and lush colors that the smartphone is able to display. As far as apps go, the handset is treated to things like Layar, MobiTV, Slacker Radio, and Amazon's Kindle for Android. The fun doesn't stop there as owners will also be presented with a month of free service for GoGo's InFlight Internet – meaning you can surf the web on your handset through select flights across the country. Finally, the processing prowess of the Hummingbird processor can be found by playing “The Sims 3 Collector's Edition” game that's exclusive to T-Mobile.
Organizer & Messaging:
Of the other customizations Samsung has made to the default Android interface, the most notable are in the Phonebook and Calendar. Entering the Phone screen defaults to your call log tab. There are also keypad, favorites, and contacts tabs to choose from at the top. Tap Contacts, and you are taken to the respective screen, where the history of your communication activities can be accessed with tabs at the top as well - including all calls and messages exchange, as well as social network updates.
The Android 2.1 (Eclair) phonebook groups your phone, SIM and Google contacts in one searchable list. Samsung's own Social Hub idea adds the contacts from your social networks, and the corporate buddies to the mix for one very long phonebook. A variety of contacts' details is visible and editable on the huge screen at once.
To tell you the truth, other aspects on the Vibrant also come directly from the Samsung Galaxy S I9000 as Social Hub is in tow which essentially aggregates SNS (Social Network Services), email, and IM accounts. Additionally, the Calendar and Clock applications are also exact so you'll be able to sync various events from things like Facebook and Exchange Server all into your Calendar while the various clock functions (alarm, world, stopwatch, and timer) are intact as well.
Proving itself to be well endowed with a large real estate, sending messages via the Vibrant's various on-screen keyboards is satisfying for just about anyone. However, it's worth nothing that it doesn't offer the handwriting recognition options that are found on the Samsung Captivate. You'll be presented with the Samsung keyboard, but you can change it at any time and revert to using the stock Android keyboard if you're more comfortable with it. Thanks to the peppy performance of the platform, we found typing on both the portrait and landscape options quite manageable – the latter of which provided the best results though. In addition, the Swype keyboard is also available for those who've been able to master the swiping movements. Although there are some handwriting recognition selections, we still relied heavily on the on-screen keyboards.