Samsung Moment Review

dannzeman

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Nov 25, 2008
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The Moment is the second Android device to hit Sprint, after the HTC Hero, but the first to have a QWERTY sliding keyboard. It?s running Android 1.5 (a.k.a. Cupcake) and has a few hardware features not seen on Sprint devices before, the most notable being the AMOLED screen and the 800MHz Arm11 processor. It includes a 2GB microSD card, microUSB connector, and 3.5mm headset jack, which is finally becoming the standard. Will the combination of all these features be the answer to your prayers? Keep reading to find out...

Hardware

The first thing I notice about the Moment when I hold it is its size. This thing is a brick. The actual dimensions aren?t that big but the squareness of it makes it feel bigger than it actually is, and it definitely has some weight to it. This gives a sense of quality that you just don?t get with lighter devices and this is certainly built very well. After a full week of use I?ve not noticed any creaking, or wobbling of the slider mechanism.

This is one of the first devices that has an AMOLED screen. If you don?t know what that is, it?s a new screen technology that everyone has been raving about but in reality is only slightly better than what we currently have. The colors are supposed to be more vibrant and its supposed to less energy. The best implementation of AMOLED I?ve seen is in the ZuneHD. The Moment?s screen is nice, but I can?t tell a difference between it or the screen on the HTC Touch Pro 2, or the Hero, or the Pre.

The camera on the Moment is a 3.2 mega-pixel with flash unit that does record video in the .3gp format at two different resolutions, 176 X 144 and 352 X 288, both at 15fps. The device does have a dedicated hardware key for the camera, which is nice, but it takes 6 seconds before the camera opens. Six seconds can seem like a lifetime when you?re trying to catch that expression on a baby?s face, an accident on the side of the road (assuming you?re the passenger), or that special someone you?re trying to capture to submit to peopleofwalmart.com. One way to speed this up is to use the app short as it only takes about half the time as using the hardware button. The flash is a very welcome feature but it?s strange that there?s not auto flash setting. You have to dig down into the settings to turn it on or off. Below are a few shots taken with the camera. The first is no flash in a room lit by incandescent bulb, the second is in a dark room with only flash, and the third is taken outside on a cloudy day.

Besides this being an Android device, the keyboard is what initially got me excited about the Moment. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired. The layout is just strange. After a weeks worth of use I still can?t get used to it. The ?space? key divides the bottom row of letters and every time I want to switch to upper case I press the function key instead. I think the ?fn? key and the ?shift? key should switch positions. I also don?t like where the ?return? key is because that?s where I?m used to going for ?delete?. But, I do like the number row and a key for searching. The back light is nice but it would be much nicer to be able to adjust the length of time it stays on. It turns off after only about 5 seconds. The keys are large enough and spaced out enough from one another that I don?t think anyone will have a problem typing on this keyboard. For those of you who can get used to the layout I think you?ll really like it. Its just not for me.

The optical trackball is a new feature I?ve never used before. I like its design and what it does for the look of the device but its actual operation isn?t as good as a real trackball. I noticed this the most when trying to replace the cursor while editing text. Moving up and down between lines of text is simple but moving just one or two characters is difficult because there?s no feel for how fast you move your thumb and the correlation to how many characters it moves the cursor.

One last thing I need to discuss is access to the microSD card. To get to it you have to take the back cover off and remove the battery. I hate this because when I put the card back in I have to wait for the phone to boot up. This won?t be a problem for most people because its not very often that you?ll have to remove the microSD card. But, when you do it is a pain.

Software

Cupcake runs very well with a 800MHz processor powering it. Switching between applications is a breeze and there?s absolutely no lag when opening or closing the notifications or applications slider. This device does include all the Sprint bloatware such as the NASCAR app, NFL Mobile Live, Sprint Navigation and SprintTV, which is to be expected. I would love to see this device get rooted so we can remove these apps. I?ve read the HTC Hero runs like a champ after these apps are removed and I assume the same would be true for the Moment as well.

There is a rather large bug with this device that has been mentioned on a lot of Android forums. Android 1.5 does not have support for aGPS built in. What this means is that the accuracy is poor and the refresh rate is slow. HTC managed to get this to work on the Hero with 1.5 and I wish Samsung would have done the same for the Moment. Using GPS is just frustrating on this device. Map locations are off by 30-100 meters at times and can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to update your location while driving, all this while being connected to 5+ satellites.

Anyone who has used Android before is probably used the voice search feature using the Google Search Widget. Well, I hope you weren?t too attached to it because the Moment doesn?t have it. It has a voice control button that uses software by Naunce but the accuracy isn?t that great, even after going through the 15 step adaptation process.

Conclusion

Once the Moment gets the update to 2.0, which should fix the aGPS problem, I could probably live with this device. I?m sure after a few more weeks of use I could get used to the keyboard and find third party apps to take care of any settings or customizing I?d want. This is especially true once the device gets root access. I just really wish it had an LED for notifications. I like being able to tell if I have emails, texts, or missed calls without having to unlock my device. The same goes for the battery charge status. The Moment is available for $179 on a 2 year contract. That?s not a bad price, but with the Pre at $150, the Pixi at $100, and the Hero at $179 as well, there?s lots of choices out there. Don?t be afraid to try out a couple before you make a decision.

Visit the blog post for pictures. Review: Samsung Moment
 
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