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printed December 21, 2014
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Review: Samsung Vibrant

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's Touch  

Screen

What's not to love about Samsung's Super AMOLED display? It truly is beautiful. Colors jump off the screen. You want bright? Indoors the Vibrant is so bright that you shouldn't be surprised if it attracts flies and moths. Outdoors, it is readable, despite direct sunlight and finger grime. It's not perfect, mind you, but you can interact with the phone and see what you're doing on most screens.

Sound

The Vibrant sounds decent, but not amazing. During calls I placed, I noticed a slightly muffled and digitized sound to voices. Those with whom I spoke reported the same. As far as volume goes, the earpiece volume is good. It was loud enough that I could hear calls over a noisy air conditioner in the same room. Ringers and the speakerphone may be problematic. The speaker for both is placed on the back of the Vibrant. Most users will naturally place it on surfaces with the back down. When placed on a hard surface, such as a table or desk, you're not going to have any problems; you'll hear it just fine. If you place it on a soft surface, such as a bed or couch, however, the volume is diminished enough that you might miss calls if you're in another room.

Signal

The Vibrant did fairly well at capturing T-Mobile's signal, though it lagged the performance of some phones. In my tests around the metropolitan New York City area, it generally held onto two bars in areas where other phones held four or five. It waffled between one and two bars most of the time, and easily lost contact with T-Mobile's network altogether in some instances. Despite the iffy signal reporting, I didn't miss or drop any calls with the Vibrant during my tests. I did notice inconsistent data speeds, however. Sometimes it was really fast, other times it was really slow.

Battery

The Vibrant's battery life is really good, but doesn't quite match the Captivate. With the cellular radio, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth on, I was able to make it through just under two days of use. That's far and away better than most other Android handsets on the market. We can thank Samsung's Super AMOLED display a bit, as it sips less power than LCD displays. The results here are noticeable. Color me impressed.

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