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printed October 20, 2014
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Review: Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate for AT&T

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

Screen

The Exhilarate has a 4.0-inch display with 800 x 480 pixels, and uses Samsung's Super AMOLED technology. I wouldn't compare it to the brilliant display of the GS3, but it is a fine display in its own right that is more than adequate for this class of device. It's plenty bright and is easily visible indoors and outside, but I was able to see more individual pixels than I'd like.

Signal

The Exhilarate maintained a strong connection to AT&T's network no matter where I took it. In both strong and weak coverage areas, it remained connected and able to make calls and surf the web. During my tests, the Exhilarate never dropped a call, never missed a call, and always connected calls on the first attempt. Though data always worked, it was noticeably slower in areas with poor coverage. When a good HSPA+ signal was available, man, the Exhilarate was zippy. It was even zippier under AT&T's LTE network. I tested the Exhilarate side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy S III in San Francisco and it kept pace with its bigger brother. It showed an equal number of bars and scored similar results on speed tests.

Sound

The Exhilarate is an excellent voice phone. It achieves the right balance of quality and volume to make for smartphone nirvana. The majority of calls I placed were crystal clear and offered a pleasing tone to conversations. Further, the earpiece can be set loud enough for nearly all environments. It's loud enough that it hurts your ear a bit when set all the way up, but it doesn't suffer from distortion. The speakerphone was a bit less impressive in terms of both volume and quality. It will be useful in small rooms or spaces, but may not be loud enough to overcome the noise in a traveling car. Calls routed to the speakerphone had a bit more interference and distortion reducing quality. Ringers and alert tones are alarmingly loud, and the vibrate alert generates a good buzz.

Battery

The Exhilarate's battery does pretty well. It makes it through an entire day with no problem, and that's about all I really need from a smartphone these days. There was consistently enough battery power left so that I wasn't worried about running out before bedtime. You're safe from 7AM to 11PM, no doubt, and probably until the next morning, but not much beyond that.

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