It’s easy for someone to grab a phone like the Infuse 4G and while in hand, begin to market the device to onlookers with a glimmer in his or her own eyes as the four-and-a-half inch screen vividly displays the Touchwiz interface at a brightness so mind-blowing that your head momentarily explodes – figuratively speaking.
What’s not so easy is actually tearing down the device piece by piece to truly get to the heart and work your way outside – and that’s where we come in. Today, I take you into the the world of class and performance, infused so perfectly together within a phone who’s name reflects it’s overall mixture of quality: The Samsung Infuse 4G on the AT&T network.
The Infuse 4G is a nice looking device, and by nice, I mean gorgeous. To start, the touch screen glass protecting the digitizer happens to be gorilla glass, which seems to help with cracking and smearing. The glass meets well with the bezel of the device, not allowing too much room for dust/dirt pockets. The screen is 4.5 inches, and those 4.5″ provide enough real estate to perform your average tasks, and then some. Complementary to the 4.5″ Super AmoLED Plus screen would be the 8.99 Millimeter thin-ness of the phone, which makes for easy handling and pocket friendly holstering. The phone also hosts a 1.2ghz Hummingbird processor, which lives up to it’s name on this device and then some.
The usual suspects are present:
- The top left side hosts the split in between style volume rocker as opposed to the seamless we have been seeing lately.
- Front facing camera on the top left face of the device, which is 1.3 megapixels.
- Typical 3.5mm headphone jack on the top right of the device, next to a microphone.
- On the right side of the device you have your power/screen off button.
- On the bottom, you have your micro USB port.
- Right below the screen you have the four soft keys most have grown accustomed to seeing on Android devices.
The battery cover has a nice texture to it, which detracts from the cheap feeling of the devices “plastic all over” approach, and makes it feel a bit more classy. The bezel covers the entire side and part of the back of the device, near the bottom, where the speaker is located, and it sports a nice, glossy gunmetal finish to it. You also have the 8 megapixel camera on the back of the device, with a flash, and that is surrounded by black plastic, that on the outer edges has a chrome like finish. The phone looks great, is light, and although it is all plastic, the look screams luxury, especially at first glance. The only complaint I have about the build quality is the battery door – it’s a little flimsy to get off, and it doesn’t feel too well thought out. Once you pop that off, you can see you have the ability to switch sim cards without moving the battery – what’s weird, though, is you need to remove the battery to insert/change/swap your micro SD card, which was a huge downer for me and proved to be slightly annoying, until I found out there’s 16GB of Internal SD memory pre-installed on the phone.
Overall I think the hardware is pretty solid and well designed. It looks luxurious and is easily pocket-able, and the screen size mixed with this ability allows you to get the most out of it without compromising your skinny jean seams; this also combines with an extreme viewing angle to give you a comfortable, non eye straining experience. The camera takes great pictures, and the front facing one does exceptionally well in appropriately lit areas – especially when viewed on this gorgeous display. At first glance, the shock and beauty of the 4.5″ display will blow you away; and even as you become used to it, it’s still a sight to behold.
The Infuse 4G is running trusty old Frozen Yogurt, Android 2.2, and Touchwiz 3.0. Many of us would loved to have seen Touchwiz 4 and Gingerbread, but as of right now it seems as if the Samsung Galaxy S II is being quite greedy in it’s hogging of the goodies. I must say the software is not too bad, though, and the SAPlus display definitely enhances the Touchwiz experience, whether you are one of those who likes it or despises it. One thing we’ve come to enjoy about Samsung devices is the absurdly fast hummingbird processor and GPU; and using some software and playing a few games on this device shows that it holds up to it’s predecessors, and at times blazes past the competition in terms of speed. With that said I haven’t come across any bugs, and the ability to sideload applications on AT&T devices is a welcome addition, too, al beit a tad late in the game.
Notable Preloaded Applications:
The Samsung Media Hub is a great little addition, sporting shows like South Park and hosting films like The Dilemma – all from the hub, and all for keeps or for rental. The Media Hub gave me some problems, like not working, but that can more than likely be due to the fact that the phone hasn’t been released yet. I wouldn’t hold this against the device or AT&T just yet.
The AT&T Live TV application is absolutely wonderful. Over Wi-Fi I was able to stream and watch live television, not missing a single shot taken in the NBA playoffs. There are a slew of channels, and tons of previously recorded shows for you to stream. You even get a seven day free trial! Can’t go wrong with that.
The Special Edition of Angry Birds comes pre-loaded on this phone, but I can’t tell you what the secret is. That would take all of the fun out of purchasing the device!
You’re also supplied with a QR Code Scanner, a Family Map, and a Navigator from AT&T. This might be the first time I’ve seen a phone with minimal bloatware, and the bloatware that does come with it is astonishingly useful. The most common foundational apps are there as well, such as the calculator, calendar, clock, e-mail, gallery, gmail, maps, market, music player, my files and so forth. My hats off to you, AT&T and Samsung.
Note: I don’t want to spoil it for you, but gaming is quite an experience on this large, vivid Super AmoLED Plus display.
This, my friends, is where it becomes trivial. AT&T and Samsung’s Infuse4G is the first true HSPA+ phone on the network; trouble is, the speed isn’t really that impressive.
In New York City, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Washington D.C and Long Island, the highest download speed I’ve obtained was 3MBPS download, and 1.2MBPS upload . That’s less than a quarter of the speeds I’ve achieved with Verizon’s LTE. Even with those speeds, the internet browser, Facebook status changing and market downloads were significantly slower than expected, sometimes slowing down to a crawl. Even worse is the lack of an option to drop to 3G – you’re either on HSPA+ or you’re on edge, and there’s no in between. There’s a possibility with the launch of the phone this might improve, but until then, it’s rather disappointing.
The reception, on the other hand, was great. I was able to send a plethora of texts, transmit multi media messages, and hear the person on the other end of my calls clear as a bright summers day. I didn’t have any dropped calls or late text moments, and this is over a weeks worth of rigorous testing. I’d have to say this device and it’s dual antenna receiver diversity have really added to the quality and dependability of service. I had a consistent 4-5 bars in any location I traveled to, outside of tunnels and things of that nature.
The Wrap Up:
To be honest, this is one of my favorite devices I’ve used to date. From the luxurious aesthetics to the large screen that feels like nothing in your hand, I’ve completely enjoyed my experience with the Infuse 4G. Before I depart, here are just a few things I think are important for you to know, as well as some re-iteration of features:
- Battery cover is a bit finicky, but the texture of it makes it feel more luxury.
- Special Edition of Angry Birds
- Plastic all over, but to each his/her own
- 8mp camera, 1.3 front facing
- Not an extreme amount of bloatware
- Very slim, at 8.99 millimeters thin
- Large 4.5 inch screen makes the device extra-usable without sacrificing comfort
- Screen is gorgeous, super ambled plus deep blacks are astonishing
- Ridiculous viewing angle
- Smooth experience
- If you’re an enthusiast, you might notice that the WVGA resolution on a 4.5″ screen can make some icons seem stretched, or a little bit pixelated
- You have to remove the battery to get to the micro SD slot
With all of that said, this is still an amazing device and I’ve had lots of fun with it. There’s only one manufacturer that can consistently pull of brilliance without compromising the consumer, and that’s Samsung. You can pick up this device from AT&T starting May 15th, 2011 for a price of $199 on contract, no rebate. Not a bad deal if you ask me.
Stay tuned for a video review, updates and user experiences! Photos to come soon.
–Chad O’Kelly [twitter: @CFOKmobile]