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printed October 20, 2014
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Review: Samsung Intercept

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Screen

The screen on the Samsung Intercept is a disappointment, especially for a modern smartphone. The 3-inch screen is pushing a scant 240 by 400 pixels, which is among the fewest pixels of any Android phone, though Motorola has been offering a pair of petite Androids with 2.8-inch, QVGA displays. Even worse than the low resolution, though, the screen simply looks washed out and blocky. There's a noticeable screen door effect. Compared to the Samsung Moment, which uses a 3.2-inch AMOLED display, the Intercept can't hold a candle. Outdoors, the Intercept holds up a bit better, since its LCD screen doesn't fade like AMOLED. But the screen is still a perceptible step down from the Moment.

Sound

The earpiece on the Samsung Intercept sounds fine during phone calls. There was a slight background hum, just a bit of static, but nothing terminal. I had no trouble hearing callers through the phone's earpiece. I wish the speakerphone was much louder. I had no trouble hearing the speaker in a quiet office, but in a car the speaker couldn't overpower environmental noise.

Signal

To test the signal, I journeyed into the PhoneScoop vault SouthWest (my local movie theater, which gets 0 bars on most cell networks). The Samsung Intercept couldn't handle the isolation, and the signal dropped to nothing. Calls would not come through, and I was not able to get a data signal. Under more normal circumstances, the Intercept got signal comparable to other Sprint phones, but it was average, not better than any competitors. Wi-Fi signal was always solid. The phone uses Sprint's slower EV-DO rev. 0 for data networking, but it never dropped to the 1xRTT data network as long as I had reception.

Battery

Battery life was okay, but drained quickly as I used more of the phone's capabilities. With simple calls and e-mail checking, I was able to get more than a day's use out of the phone. With lots of GPS navigation, some Web searching and a few photographs, I was able to drain the battery by the end of lunch. At least the phone charges over microUSB, which means you can plug it into a laptop to charge, and finding charging accessories is easy.

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