Review: Samsung Galaxy Exhibit for T-Mobile
The Exhibit runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean with Samsung's TouchWiz user interface sitting on top. It has the older version of TouchWiz, not the feature-rich version found on Samsung's top-of-the-line devices.
The lock screen can be configured with a handful of shortcuts that play nicely with a security code. You can also choose to have two different clock faces and live weather on the lock screen. There are five home screen panels activated by default, but those can be deleted or added to at whim. TouchWiz and the installed apps offer a wealth of widgets that can be used to populate the various home screen panels.
The main app menu is fairly flexible. The default view is of a four by five grid of apps all arranged alphabetically. Apps can be rearranged in any order you wish, as well as viewed in list form, or dropped into folders. The notification tray includes toggles for the different radios on the device, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS. Unlike the GS4, these toggles can't be customized and there are only 10. The notification tray also provides access to the brightness setting, full settings menu, and of course all your alerts.
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The settings menu is more or less the stock version carried over from Android 4.1 itself. All of the settings are listed on a single page that you scroll up and down.
Novice users might want to consider using the "Easy Mode" home screen setup, which makes icons and text bigger, simplifies the menu screens, and cleans up all the clutter. The downside is that you lose access to cool and helpful features such as widgets.
In terms of performance, I am a bit worried. The Exhibit has a dual-core 1GHz processor that often felt like it was struggling. Screen transitions were often stuttery and apps would hang or crash when attempting to exit them. Further, the screen would fail to recognize when it had been touched from time to time, and would all of a sudden act on a series of presses at once, vaulting you into some crazy part of the menu you had no intention of visiting.
The phone app has more or less the stock version of the Android dialer. It's got a software dialpad, with tabs that run across the top for accessing the call history and contact groupings.
The Exhibit has an incredible array of options for the phone app. They are buried in the phone's settings tool. For example, you can turn on/off noise cancellation (which improves outbound sound), as well as dial in your own preferences for volume, clarity, and warmth.
The contacts app behaves similarly to the stock Android People app. Features I liked include the different widgets for controlling and connecting with your contacts. For example, you can set a direct access shortcut on the home screen that includes the contact's most recent social network status update. There are also two different home screen widgets that collect your favorite contacts in one place on the home screen.
As expected, the Exhibit offers the stock Gmail, email, SMS/MMS, Hangouts, Google+, and Google+ Messenger apps. Together with their associated widgets, they make an impressive arsenal for reaching out to and connecting with your friends, family, and colleagues. On the social networking front, the native Twitter and Facebook apps are pre-loaded.
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