Samsung Infuse 4G Review
The Samsung Infuse 4G isn’t just another 4G Android smartphone. That is because it sports the largest display of any smartphone in the world. We’re talking 4.5 inches of screen real estate courtesy of a Super AMOLED plus display. Yet despite its mammoth display, the Infuse 4G manages to be just 8.9mm thick, making it also the world’s thinnest smartphone. The Infuse 4G runs on a 1.2 GHz processor, 16GB of internal memory and Android 2.2 Froyo. It also packs in an 8.0 MP rear-facing camera with an LED flash and a 1.3MP front-facing camera.
The Samsung Infuse 4G measures 5.2” x 2.8” x .35” inches. Its massive 4.5″ display makes it almost unwieldy to hold if you don’t have big hands. The first time we held the Infuse 4G, we could barely believe how big it was. You do eventually get used to its size, but the size definitely not for everyone. Fortunately, despite its extra large display, the Infuse 4G is super thin at 8.9mm thick, and it’s also very lightweight to hold in your hand. You’ll be surprised when you pick it up to see that it’s not heavy at all. The Infuse weighs just 4.9oz. For comparison, 4.9ounces is just a smidge heavier than the iPhone 4. Speaking of the large display, we cant help but wish that they had included a fold out stand to help support the display while watching movies. The handset itself is also well made and feels like it’s made of a solid construction, as is most of Samsung’s handsets. That said, the handset tends to gets greasy. Maybe we have an oily face, but we had to wipe the phone down often or else we found that between the large size and the greasiness, it often would be slipping out of our hands.
When the Samsung Infuse 4G was first announced at CES, its 4.5″ display is what caught everyone’s attention. The Super AMOLED Plus isn’t just large, it’s also rich. It produces sharp visuals, vivid colors, deep blacks, great contrast, and it gets plenty bright too. The display is even readable when you’re outdoors. The Infuse 4G really has one of the best displays on the market. It also sports an acceptable 480×800 pixels resolution. But with such a large display, it’s a wonder that they didn’t take advantage of all that display real estate by making the resolution on the device higher. Regardless, with the brilliant display on the Infuse 4G, the device pretty much begs to watch videos on it.
Because of all the screen real estate, there is plenty of room on the on-screen keyboard for your fingers, making for a good on-screen typing experience. Those with big hands and fingers are in luck this time! Overall, the onscreen keyboard is responsive and enjoyable to use.
Call quality on the Infuse 4G is very good. Callers told me that they heard me loud and clearly, even when I was walking on a busy Manhattan street. I could hear them loud and clearly too, most of the time. Why most of the time? Well because the Infuse 4G is so large, you have to make sure to position the phone’s earpiece over your ear canal – if you don’t, and your ear canal ends up falling below the Infuse 4G’s earpiece, you’ll have a difficult time hearing callers. I had to train myself to position the earpiece appropriately while making calls. This is a bit annoying, but I guess that is the price you pay for using such a big phone.
The processor might not be Dual-core beast like the Motorola Atrix is, but it’s still plenty fast. Running on a 1.2ghz Hummingbird processor, the device feels overall peppy and responsive. In Quadrant, it earned a healthy benchmark score of 1062, which makes it faster than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S and Motorola Cliq 2 that we’ve tested, but also much slower than the HTC Inspire 4G, Motorola Droid Pro, MyTouch 4G and Motorola Atrix.
User Interface and Apps
The Infuse 4G comes running on Android 2.2.1 (Froyo). It’s quite the bummer that the system doesn’t come running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) out of the box, but there should be an eventual update. The system is also running Samsung’s TouchWiz user interface. With TouchWiz, Android’s menu system has been revamped with box-style Touchwiz icons. The TouchWiz U.I. is ok, but personally we’re more fans of the HTC Sense U.I.
Some of the non-standard apps that the device comes preloaded with include AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T Family Map AT&T GPS Navigator, AllShare, AT&T U-verse Live TV, QuickOffice, YPMobile, a Task Manager, and Media Hub. Samsung’s Media Hub is not all that different than iTunes, in the way that it offers a nice selection of TV shows and movies to rent or purchase. A free $25 Media Hub movie credit is included with each handset purchase. In addition, a 2GB microSD card is included that comes preloaded with some content like trailers. To top it all off, a special edition of Angry Birds is also preloaded on the device. The game has a special level, that once completed, it will unlock a special “Golden Egg” that you can use online to win prizes from Samsung.
The Samsung Infuse 4G has support for HSPA+ and it is AT&T’s first HSDPA Category 14 4G phone, which means that it’s compatible with download speeds up to 16+Mbps. The handset’s web browser also has support for Flash. We tested the Infuse 4G in New York City and found it to surfing speeds to be fast, although they aren’t the fastest that we have seen on a 4G handset.
Battery life with the Samsung Infuse 4G is pretty good. We are able to get through a full day of moderate use on a single charge.
The Infuse 4G sports an 8MP rear-facing camera with autofocus, 720P recording and an LED flash. The front-facing camera is a 1.3MP cam. The rear-facing camera in particular is very good. The camera app is quite robust and offers some effects as well as the ability to customize settings – including ISO settings. Pictures taken outdoors with lower ISO settings show much less noise and sharper visuals than their high ISO counterparts. The Infuse 4G definitely sports one of the better cameras on a smartphone. The 8MP camera produces photos with vivid colors and pretty sharp visuals, at least on photos taken with a lower ISO setting. Unfortunately, the LED flash tends to be too strong and it can wash a subject out. Videos recorded on the Infuse 4G are also very good with vivid colors and lots of detail.
We wish that the Samsung Infuse 4G had come running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but that isn’t quite a deal-breaker. 4G performance on the Infuse 4G is also solid, as is general performance, however, this phone is no speed demon compared to many of the other faster Android phones on the market. Regardless, its processor still provides plenty of pep that will satisfy most ordinary users. The device also sports an above average camera for a smartphone. Samsung has also managed to pull off quite the feet of engineering with the Samsung Infuse 4G by packing in such a mammoth display into such a thin and lightweight body. To that effect, the Super AMOLED Plus display is truly brilliant, but the sheer size of the device won’t be suitable for everyone’s tastes. Overall, the Samsung Infuse 4G is a very capable multimedia-oriented phone that performs well and sports an amazing display. The Samsung Infuse 4G is available now for $199 with a two year contract.
The Good: Excellent display, free $25 Media Hub movie credit with purchase, lightweight and super thin body, large on-screen keyboard is great for bigger fingers, good performance
The Bad: Large display and sheer size of the device will be too large for some, We want Gingerbread!