Captivate impressions from an obsessive consumer


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  1. Divinedark

    Divinedark Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Hello all,

    I'm a former iPhone 2.5G, 3G, 3GS, I4 owner, and have now spent two full weeks with the Captivate. I thought I'd give a few observations to those that are either still on the fence, or are just looking for something Captivate related to read.

    I'll break this down into sections for an easier read.

    First Impressions: The first thing that struck me was the screen (obviously). The screen seemed HUGE, even though it's technically only .3" larger than my I4. The rest of the form factor was very clean, which I like.

    Hand feel: I have larger hands... That made my life with the iPhone rather difficult. I found myself fumbling with the handset, as well as the keyboard. I learned to handle it over the years, but it was not my favorite one handed device. The Captivate fit right in the palm of my hand. I appreciate the weight and overall thin feel of the device, while still giving me a large touch surface. The battery cover looked incredible, but it's brushed metal made it slick enough that I could easily see it falling from my hand. I had iPhone 2.5G flashbacks. I bought a Body Glove case to remedy the problem, and with that, I found the perfect cell phone case. It's wonderful.

    Screen: What's there to say, really? It's beautiful. The color saturation and black levels are unrivaled by anything I've ever seen on this level. The only negative I have here is that I had an iPhone 4 previous to the Captivate and that really made the lower resolution on the larger screen noticeable. It was an adjustment, but I've made it.

    Touch response: The IOS will always seem to be perfection personified when it comes to the touch response on a phone, but the Captivate gives the I4 a run for it's money. I do notice some recognition lag on the Captivate. Usually upon scrolling through the app list or in the browser. Just not quite as smooth as the IOS. This may very well be linked to the lag in the unmodified Captivate. I have not done the lag fix, as my best friend did the fix. It worked well for the first several hours, then started to slow down. Top it off with the fix going wrong and corrupting his file system.

    EDGE and 3G: I know... I know... The thing is supposed to be a phone, and thus make calls... Boring, but definitely a nice experience with the Captivate. I notice the signal bars being a bit on the low end with the phone. I truly believe that they are designed this way, for better or worse. I say this because I get much better reception and call quality in poorly covered areas than my iPhone 3GS, which would typically show more bars. The data response on the phone is fantastic. I'm very happy with the speed of downloads, video streaming, and web page loading. Again the bars look low, but operate like they should show much higher. The negative here is definitely the lack of HSUPA. AT&T decided to disable this feature, I'm assuming, to help with the overly congested data network in iPhone saturated areas. Luckily for those of us with an android device, the community will soon remedy this (hurry up Rogers).

    GPS: The biggest pain in my ass... I rarely use the GPS for turn by turn directions, as I'm a man and require no direction... But seriously, the GPS is integrated into every aspect of the OS, and the work flow and experience with the phone would be greatly improved if this functionality worked as intended. We seem to really be at Samsung's mercy here. I truly hope they come through. If not, I feel like there could be some possible modification from the Vibrant, where I've heard there isn't an issue.

    WIFI: Very very happy here. The first Captivate I bought had a broken antenna. Wifi didn't work very well. After I traded it in it worked like a champ. I can pull incredible speeds, up and down stream from several stories above my wireless router.

    Media Playback: Not super happy here. iTunes(on Windows) is a raging pile of crap, but at least it provided us with a one stop shop for music, cross platform organization, upgrading, and one click syncing. There isn't a real good solution here. I've tried a number of music players, but ended up right back with the Samsung player. It's completely functional, but not elegant, and not feature full by any stretch of the imagination. Now, movies are something different. Getting them to the device is easy, and playback looks incredible. The audio quality of music and movies is much better than my iPhone, but the media management and players themselves aren't up to snuff. That's really where Apple shows it's pedigree.

    App Market: Another place where Apple man handles the Android devices. The market is improving at a blazing rate, but it has many issues that the App Store doesn't. With Apple having a strangle hold over the apps and reviews that make it to market, there is very little chance of malware making it to the store at all, much less to the Top Apps (review spoofing bastards). Thank god for Appbrain... That's all I have to say.

    Community: Yes... Yes... Yes.... There are so many helpful and brilliant people in the Android community. That really gives me a feeling of longevity for the device. Even if the developer throws in the towel, there will be an entire group of people who seem to be more than willing to step in and tune the device to it's utmost potential. I'm so excited to see what happens when the Froyo roms start hitting. I expect this little phone to really turn some heads. Mine included.

    In conclusion, I'm really happy with the phone so far. The GPS is testing me a bit, but I just have to take a few deep breaths and power through with my patience. I think that anybody coming from a Blackberry, iPhone, or any other device will be happy here. But there are some things you have to be willing to do. You must be patient. These phones can do anything, but sometimes the community has to have time to accomplish it. Also, you have to be willing to play... Seriously, tinker with your phone. Download every launcher you can find, download widgets, fonts, apps, play with your settings. Truly explore your phone. There's a lot here that you may not even know exists. Just because you don't see a feature, doesn't mean it isn't there. This isn't Apple, things aren't locked down.
     

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  2. ranova

    ranova Well-Known Member

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    Great write up.

    As for syncing music, I would try doubletwist for the pc and whatever music player you want on the phone (I used cubed -
     
  3. Divinedark

    Divinedark Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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  4. sharkhark

    sharkhark Well-Known Member

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    Excellent comments and i was one on the fence...my carrier rogers in canda sold me a x10 sony lemon..and rather than a new one i am putting up with a loaner samsung wave (actually not a bad little thing) til the captivate comes out.

    But i must add one thing...i appreciate your 'man' comment re gps..but honestly you might be talking from the point of view of someone who knows most of his area and can handle a drive into unknown.

    but now take it to the extreme of me...who moved from toronto...ontario...canada...a few thousand km's past quebec to the east...and then past new brunswick...into halifax nova scotia.

    an area i visited for one week...ten yrs ago...so i am in a place with absolutely no sense of direction...with a million different quick little exits and turns.
    i honestly could drive in my sleep back any where in ontario..but here? lost lost lost.
    i hope it is fixed by time i get my captivate as i totally need its help getting around this alien place.
    i greatly appreciate your well broken down sections and detailed review though. thx!
     
  5. Divinedark

    Divinedark Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    The "man" comment was actually a joke. I have all the directional awareness of a box of hair... I just tend to look up directions before I go somewhere, or I take a stand alone GPS.
     
  6. sharkhark

    sharkhark Well-Known Member

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    leave it to me...tired to get the humor...i myself dont want a separate gps...or music player...etc.
    i want it all.
    not to mention how many apps use the gps as well...so i hope its fixed ..and soon..i get mine in roughly the last week of sept...close to when a fix should be out...will my unit come automatically fixed or maybe its going to be a model already sitting dusty on the wall?

    hope it is just software and not hardware related:(
     
  7. Divinedark

    Divinedark Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Word around the campfire is the GPS chip in the Captivate is actually a newer version of the chip in the iphone 3GS. I believe it was found to be the GPS driver.
     
  8. carmendiva

    carmendiva Well-Known Member

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    lovely review, especially from a former iphone owner
    it helps me a bit when considering switching from android to the iphone....
     
  9. ranova

    ranova Well-Known Member

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    I've used every iPhone since the first for the past 3.5 years. I had the iPhone 4 for 3 weeks and got fed up with it and all of it's problems. Because I am still on contract with ATT and they finally got a decent Android phone, I made the jump to the Captivate.

    Judging from the amount of posts you have, you have had an Android phone for awhile?

    Going from Android to iPhone will feel like going from University to a Boarding School. Everything is closed and restricted, and the customization ends at changing the wallpaper of the homescreen.

    The only plus I saw in iPhone 4 was the battery life, which would easily last a day and a half of heavy usage.

    Both OS's have their pluses, it really depends what you are looking for in a phone.

    Heres a good starting point of the differences:
    iPhone vs. Android Showdown: Which Phone Is Best for Power Users?
    Please note that this article was geared toward power users more than casual users.
     
  10. goodm0urning

    goodm0urning Well-Known Member

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    made my day. like you said, it's not true, but when i read this i got a good chuckle....unfortunately, your phone also has the directional awareness of a "box of hair" as you put it.

    thanks though!
     
  11. Thuneau

    Thuneau Member

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    I don 't understand why people are so hung up on using their phone as a GPS device. It's a novelty function for a phone. Garmin, Tom Tom and Magellan all make great dedicated navigation devices that are good at the task and are fairly inexpensive. I have a Garmin 265T and use my Captivate for finding destinations, but the Garmin gets me there reliably. In a pinch, I'll use the Captivate for directions- and that's a great function to have- it works well enough as a backup to the dedicated GPS unit.
    I like the Captivate especially since I ran the one click lag fix and the GPS Status app. It's a very good phone.
     
  12. Jofaba

    Jofaba Well-Known Member

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    No, a fart application is a novelty. GPS is now considered to be integral and standard in the smartphone experience these days. It's another device to add to the list of devices smushed all up into one device. That's why it frustrates so many people to be told "it's just a phone". No, it's ALSO a phone.

    To have the same mobile functionality you would have to carry the following:

    netbook for web
    portable dvd player for movies
    walkman/mp3 for music
    digital camera
    cell phone
    voice recorder
    gps
    DS/PSP for games
    all the games you'd want to play
    ebook reader/book
    board games
    alarm clock
    map


    To me, that looks like what you'd pack into a backpack for a trip. On your average day you'd have to pick and choose which to bring, and you'd probably always end up wishing at some point that you had brought something else one day when you'd really need it but didn't think you would.

    None of the other things in that list are what I'd call a "novelty". So would GPS be?
     
    sharkhark and carmendiva like this.
  13. shark974

    shark974 Well-Known Member

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    Well, really 90% of the time, just having access to google maps on the phone (which we do) is all you should need to find out where you're going. The GPS is just like the cherry on top, not the sundae.

    That said, I also agree that this is a high end, expensive phone, and one of the things expected on such devices is a GPS, even if I dont personally use it much, it should be there. I paid for it, so to speak.

    But of course by all indications the fix is coming.
     
  14. mongstradamus

    mongstradamus Well-Known Member

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    There are also a lot of apps that use gps to function, its not just navigation. At least thats how it is for me
     
  15. baddress

    baddress Well-Known Member

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    My first one had a bad antenna too. I wonder how prevalent that problem is. My current one works fine except for the bouncy signal and the flaky gps and a few random shut-offs.
     
  16. Sheon

    Sheon Member

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    i use the gps on my phone everday so i need it to work -_-atleast it give u text directions i can live with that for now but damn i do new a gps fix badly
     
  17. sremick

    sremick Well-Known Member

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    While I can definitely appreciate wanting the GPS to work on this phone, the truth of it is that even on a good day with a perfectly-working GPS, the Captivate falls significantly short compared to a dedicated car GPS. Once you invest in decent navigation software with an offline map, along with a mount, you might as well have bought a Magellan Maestro to use alongside your phone.
     
  18. askpcguy

    askpcguy Well-Known Member

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    Still not sure but I flashed my captivate to the i9000 rom with the stock captivate kernel. Gps seems pretty speedy but only time will tell.
     
  19. artvandalay22222

    artvandalay22222 Well-Known Member

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    I travel alot and dont have the means to carry a dedicated gps with me. So having a good gps on my phone is essential. The phone gps does not work as it should so I have the right to be upset that the item I paid for doesnt work as described. If I wanted just a "phone" I would not have bought an android phone.
     
  20. sremick

    sremick Well-Known Member

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    I'm not saying one should settle for the dysfunctional GPS as it currently stands in the Captivate. I want and demand a fix from Samsung as loudly as anyone. What I'm saying is that any GPS that constantly requires a data connection and doesn't have an offline map loaded is unsuitable for the use that so many complain that they're trying to use the Captivate for.
     
  21. sharkhark

    sharkhark Well-Known Member

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    so if a few on here think that a gps is not that necessary...even going so far as to use words like "its just a phone"...then i would suggest if thats the case...why buy a smart phone at all?
    why pay so much money when you can easily secure a bland vanilla sufficient little cell phone.
    These are called smart phones and for a reason, they pack in so much and it should all work....or it should be considered defective.
     
  22. BoulderGeek

    BoulderGeek Banned

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    True, dat!
     
  23. Cuerbo

    Cuerbo Well-Known Member

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    Great post and it's nice to see some folks on the same side when it comes to the GPS issue.
     
  24. cmt074

    cmt074 Well-Known Member

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    Remember when playing mp3s and taking pictures were considered novelty items on a cell phone?

    I use my Captivate as:

    A GPS
    EReader
    Camera (granted it doesn't replace my real digital camera when I want to take really nice pictures)
    Video Recorder
    Portable game system
    Internet/email/text messages
    Oh yea... A phone
    So much more...

    I actually used the GPS in my car all weekend and it performed like a champ. I was expecting it to be total crap after reading all the negative comments about it.
     
  25. mongstradamus

    mongstradamus Well-Known Member

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    In my experience the problem with gps it can be pretty hit or miss i was testing it a lot running around different parts of the state, and was getting some good locks like 8/8 or 9/9 but other times it was having trouble getting locks especially while moving in the car, but i also ran nav and it never lost signal. Hoping samsung is on the right track with the fixes
     

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