After owning the Fascinate for a few days.. A review


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  1. omgu8myrice

    omgu8myrice Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Coming from an HTC Touch Pro 2, it was pretty difficult not to impress me. I wont' go into that.. but that was far and away the most frustratingly shitty phone I've ever used.

    After owning the Fascinate for a few days, it's an amazingly nice device, but there are a few quirks about it that might have it getting returned. I'll gloss over those in each section, and hopefully this can help a prospective buyer.

    Overal build Quality: "Decent"

    First look at this phone and it looks stunning. Absolutely the most "attractive" phone to date. The sleekness and overall shape of it makes it feel great in the hand. The overall size of it is about as large as you can make a phone before it starts becoming too big imo.

    What detracts from the quality are a few things. Starting with the least annoying would be the battery cover. You have to slip your nail into a little groove and pry it off. Not really a big deal, unless you bite your nails like me, and then it's a huge PITA to remove. I'd prefer it was just a slide on / slide off cover.

    The bad part of the build quality, for me, are the volume rockers and USB cover. Both are very loose on my phone. I was able to fix the vol rocker by shoving some paper in there (which you shouldn't have to do on a $700 phone), but the USB cover is a lost cause. The kicker for me is that whenever the phone vibrates, they rattle a ton, which makes for a very poor experience. NOT happy about that at all.

    Ergonomics Phone Design - Good

    The phone feels great in the hand. The size of the phone is perfect, imo, and anything bigger (DX) is just too big for a phone. I can easily navigate the entire phone with one hand, which is exactly what I want.

    The reason I don't give it it an "excellent" is the poor placement and design of the screen on/off button, as well as the speaker. For one, the screen on/off button is recessed, which can make it difficult to find/press for me at times. Even worse, it's located directly opposite the volume rocker, so I inevitably wind up pressing the vol rocker every time I press the on / off button. Who designed that?! The speaker, as well, is horribly placed. When it's in your pocket, the speaker is pressed right against either the pocket or your leg, and muffles the volume down to 20% of what it should be. I rarely hear my phone ringing if there is outside noise.

    UI - Excellent

    I'm very happy with the overlay samsung has provided. It gives a very elegant look to an otherwise slightly boring android interface. Text messaging was well designed, calling was well designed. I rather like the puzzle-piece thing they have going on, it works well. My only complaints here are some various spelling mistakes I've run across, as well as some quirks (hitting back in a text message sometimes kicks you to the homescreen instead of just the messaging app). I'm also not a fan of Google deciding to sync entire lists of facebook friends without asking (I now have over 500 contacts in my phone when I only wanted ~30 of them), but I'm not sure if that's a Fascinate-thing or an Android-thing.

    Performance - Good

    On my last phone, I would literaly wait ~30-45 seconds to open a text, or to click on a contact. On this phone, it's near-instantaneous. The responsiveness of this phone, either it be the UI or on the web, is very impressive. My only complaints here are the random bits of lag or complete freezes I've experienced a few times.

    Signal Quality - Poor

    This is my big killer for this phone, and if no update addresses this soon, the phone is going back.

    When I say signal quality, I mean more than just phone reception. I'm also including GPS and wifi in this.

    The phone reception is pretty poor at times. I often find myself with 1-2 bars in a city that I got 4-5 in previously on my old phone. Often times the voice quality is fine, even with 1-2 bars, but it also often suffers. This device is a phone first and foremost for me, and that's an issue.

    The GPS is awful. It takes upwards of 5 minutes to connect. I have tried everything Samsung tech support has offered, and nothing has fixed it. It's extremely annoying to need to use the GPS to navigate somewhere, and just have it sit there attempting to find it.

    Wifi is meh. It's very fast, but I find the strength of it to be a bit lackluster. I can barely reach a small-business router on the other side of my house, whereas my old phone and laptop are able to achieve "good" to "excellent' signal at all times.

    Text input - Excellent

    So far, I've only used swype. It is THE BOMB. I can text insanely fast and with very high precision. I have no idea how it works so damn well, so I'm just going to assume black magic. The traditional style of typing on here is pretty average, and has no auto correct (big no-no on a touch screen phone).

    Screen - Excellent

    Not much to say here. The screen, for me, is the perfect size for a phone. Colors look great, no pixellation, and the brightness on auto is perfect at all times.

    Battery Life - Excellent

    Coming from my old phone, squeezing 8 hours out of the battery on the lowest screen brightness was a challenge. On this phone, with the screen brightness set to auto, I've been achieving ~14 hours before needing to charge, and that's with a good amount of playing around as well as a live background. I do keep the wifi and gpa off at all times, though. I'm very, very impressed at what the battery life has been on a device of this caliber so far.

    So, there you have it. I know this review mainly harps on the negatives, but don't get me wrong, this is an outstanding phone with a few minor gripes and a few large issues. I think with an update ,this phone could be the best on the market. As of now, it has a few too many issues involving phone reception to really do that.
     

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  2. Kabob

    Kabob Well-Known Member

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    Good writeup, my thoughts on a few things:

    Yeah, I hear alot of people complain about the back cover (usually because it's plastic). Personally I don't think it's a big deal at all. I have very short fingernails and no issues getting the cover off. I agree, my volume rocker rattles a little bit, but it's not bad (a minor annoyance at best). I also have a rubber cover on my phone so they don't wiggle at all anymore.

    The USB cover is a new one to me. Mine has never given me a lick of trouble and I love the sliding door. Mine is tight and has no play, as is the cover on my wife's phone.

    For the reception you can't just look at the bars. There was a post on here a few days ago where someone compared the Fascinate to the DX and while the DX constantly had 2 more bars of "reception" than the Fascinate, he noted that the actual signal strength was almost identical.

    Personally the call quality on my phone even with 1 bar is quite good.

    My 3G speeds are pretty good. In downtown Birmingham walking around with 3-4 bars I got 1.6Mb download/1.0 Mb Upload (checked using the SpeedTest app). As for WiFi, even sitting at home 15 feet from my router I typically have 3 bars, although it moves like a missile. On my Charter "8Mb Down/1 MB Up" cable connection I was getting 9Mb download and 1.2Mb upload (check using the SpeedTest app) with the phone. So essentially as fast as my connection could go.

    The GPS is buggy, there's no getting around that. Samsung knows about it and says that they're working to fix it, but thus far it's a no-go. Supposedly Froyo will fix it although I've not heard anything concrete on that yet. It does get frusterating waiting for it to find the satellites though, typically it seems when I use GPS Status & Toolbox I get the connections a good bit faster although usually it's still 2+ mins.

    There's no guarantee that Froyo will fix your gripes with the phone, although hopefully it will knock one or two of your issues out. If you do swap it out, what will you go with? DX? D2? Incredible?
     
  3. jreed2560

    jreed2560 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the run down. I'm have the X right now and I'm thinking of switching. After reading this I have all but decided that I'll pass. At least until the signal quality is addressed.
     
  4. Wolfedude88

    Wolfedude88 Well-Known Member

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    Noooo you are suppose to switch, lol. I will let you know as soon as I get mine today, worst case scenario tomorrow. I won't send my Droid X back in until I do a little comparison between the two phones and signal strength/quality will be a big one.
     
  5. jreed2560

    jreed2560 Well-Known Member

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    Lol don't get me wrong. My flashing addiction is in high gear. But after what I went thru with signal strength on the eris, I can't go back to that. Im very anxious to see how it plays out for you.
     
  6. nitsuj17

    nitsuj17 Well-Known Member

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    well performance is "good" is you don't root and run voodoo. I agree the phone can be laggy without it and samsung has some screwy coding apparently. however, if you root and run even the non-overclocked voodoo the phone screams. there is not a phone on the market that can touch it, it blows omap, 1st and 2nd gen snapdragon out of the water. and assuming 2.2 and jit give even the minimal gains with voodoo that the dx got from going from 2.1 to 2.2 (although we d all like snapdragon type gains) then the galaxy s phones will be ridiculous.

    personally i have not experienced the wifi strength issue. its faster 100 feet away from the router than my dx was or my inc is and it never drops out.

    gps is really bad, its a known issue and a big mistake on samsungs part, that not even froyo looks like it will fix. to me this is not a dealbreaker by any means as I literally never use gps on my phone in the past or present, but i could see it being an issue for many.

    i will admit that phone signal is not as strong as my x was, but its not a huge drop. the bars are lower consistently and it may take an extra tick or two to connect a call but its not any worse than my inc is by any means. i find in general that the call quality when connected is almost just as good.

    i have read that people have had 3g issues, i have not its been pretty good for me.


    every phone out has issues, thankfully a lot of what is "wrong" with galaxy s phones can fixed by rooting. now this is not ideal as people shouldnt have to modify their phones to make them work the way they were meant to, its still better than motorola trying to co-opt android and turn it into their own little locked down ios.

    samsung appears to be one of the few oems that will continue to not make a hardcore attempt to lock down there phones (for now anyway) and thus will imo be the last true open android phones out there (unless of course htc g2 debacle was just a software issue that tmobile doesnt want to own up to, and not a serious attempt by htc to lock down the phone). because as it stands motorola, htc, and samsung ARE android. acer, dell, etc won't prolly ever enough handsets to really influence the market in anyway (i dont think you can argue that the streak has been a flop). motorola wants to make solid devices that can't be modded and wants you to buy into blur. and like i mentioned htc, who knows.

    ok, done with my mini-rant for now
     
  7. omgu8myrice

    omgu8myrice Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I agree with much of what you guys are saying. The signal strength issue isn't really a huge issue, but I have definitely noticed poorer call quality with this phone more often than my last phone. I will say that the speeds on this thing through 3g are absolutely blazing.

    Also, I've heard that rooting this phone causes it to be an absolute monster. Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of rooting, and on the research I've done so far, I'm very confused on how to do it. I'm sure I"ll wind up doing it down the line once I read up on it a bit more.

    And also, don't count this phone out until you've tried it. It really is a very, very slick phone. I'm just hoping they push an update within the next month so I can knock the reception issues off the list.

    I might also bring it back for a new one because of the loose USB cover. I love the thing, it's so much nicer looking and more functional than those damn plastic tabs they usually put on them, but I hate that it rattles!
     
  8. Wolfedude88

    Wolfedude88 Well-Known Member

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    I completely agree with you on that, while the Eris was an okay phone, my signal on that phone was always horrible. I could never get a good signal on that phone, had quite a few issues with it. I won't put up with that with the Fascinate, so I hope it isn't anywhere near that bad.

    Man everyone would always tell me I had an echo with that phone. Good times...
     
  9. saps

    saps Well-Known Member

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    Great name ;) I love rice :D
    Nice review above too. RE: Rooting. Start here and read up. http://androidforums.com/samsung-fa...-13-october-2010-4-07am-central-u-s-time.htmlThe actual entire rooting process will take you less than five minutes when you decide to start and that counts driver DL times. Rooting itself is only a few seconds.
     
  10. jreed2560

    jreed2560 Well-Known Member

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    LOL indeed!
     
  11. omgu8myrice

    omgu8myrice Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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  12. saps

    saps Well-Known Member

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    Understandable fear. So read all the links, maybe twice. But do trust me when I say the rooting process is super quick and super easy once you have DL'd all the necessary files. Once you're done you will totally look back and see like most things in life the anxiety and anticipation was worse than the actual event
     
  13. Halcyon

    Halcyon Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for that link saps. Ive been looking for an all inclusive link for the SF.
     
  14. omgu8myrice

    omgu8myrice Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Not to derail this thread.. but I'll just toss my question into here :p Assume I do the root / voodoo lag fix, and then 2.2 rolls out (or whatever update). Do I have to return my phone to stock before I can get Verizon's update, or can the two exist simultaneously on the phone?
     
  15. saps

    saps Well-Known Member

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    :)NP. Its kinda hard to find. I think we need to suggest to Frisco to edit the thread title to draw more attention to it and remove the date thing
     
  16. saps

    saps Well-Known Member

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    Its your own thread so derail away :p
    That's the $64 question. I dont know enough to give you the right answer. I do know voodoo is some form will exist and needs to exist post-Froyo. However, whether the current voodoo v.2 can just have Froyo thrown on top of it or whether we must go to a voodoo v.3 I dont know. I suspect the latter but Im not certain. There are horror stories out there about problems removing voodoo but if you do it rights its painless, just takes awhile
     
  17. skibum1983

    skibum1983 Active Member

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    Does Rooting and putting voodoo on void the warranty through vzw? What happens if you put it on and then take it to verizon if it screws up? Is that something they can see? I guess I would be willing to take the jump to root to improve the performance of the phone but would defintely want to have the ability to return it to stock with NO problems.

    Also are there any projected long term issues with rooting, overclocking, and or lag fixing?
     
  18. saps

    saps Well-Known Member

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    You can unroot and remove voodoo so if need be necessary you can return the phone factory fresh. If you wanna read up and learn about most this stuff start here and read everything. Its really not that bad but you wanna be informed before jumping into the pool.

    Long term issues with rooting no, OCing potentially especially if overvolting but since most OC kernels are actually undervolted I'd still say no and lag fixing no. Any and all of these 3 can be undone.
     

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