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Tech Report – Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate

By Paul O’Reilly

The Android phones just keep on coming. Hot on the heels of the Droid X and Sprint’s EVO, comes the Samsung Galaxy S Fascinate for Verizon, which more than holds its own among the heavyweight competition.

This latest generation of super-phones are at the leading-edge of smartphone technology, turning the once mundane cell phone into pocket-sized multi-media hub. Of course the iPhone led the way, but it’s once-a-year makeover puts it at a disadvantage as the Android production line keeps on churning.

The first thing you notice about the Fascinate is its weight. At just over 4 ounces, it’s ridiculously light. Its mostly plastic design doesn’t have the solid feel of the Droid or the EVO, but it will fit in a shirt pocket and you won’t even know it’s there.

The 4-inch super-bright AMOLED screen rivals the iPhone’s Retina display for clarity and is easy to see outdoors, even in bright sunshine. The Fascinate comes with a 5 megapixel camera with built-in flash, and records 720p HD video at 30 frames per second, resulting in camcorder-quality brightness and sharpness.

The TouchWiz interface offers an easy-to-understand set of menus, which are ideal for someone making the transition from a regular cell phone. The on-screen keyboard is very responsive, as is the touch screen generally, whether you are tapping, Swyping, or using the pinch-to-zoom feature.

The Fascinate can be synced with multiple e-mail and social networking accounts and will automatically sync address books pull-in updates. It comes with Blockbuster On Demand, Bing, Kindle for Android, EA’s Need for Speed Shift, Tetris and various other custom apps. It also has access to the 70,000 app Android Market and the dedicated Verizon app channel.

The Fascinate can be used as a mobile hotspot for up to five other devices, although you will need to sign-up for Verizon’s $20-a-month mobile broadband plan to access this feature. Although the Fascinate is currently shipping with the Android 2.1 operating system, an over-the-air upgrade will be available at the end of this month.

Battery life, which has been a problem on other Android phones is excellent on the Fascinate, with up to 7 hours of talk time and 13 days of standby time. Most users have found they can go a full day of calling, texting, e-mail use, and web browsing without requiring a second charge.

The Samsung Fascinate costs $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate and requires a two-year Verizon contract.



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