Review: Samsung Fascinate
My first experience with a Samsung Galaxy S device was the Samsung Epic 4G on Sprint, so I didn't realize just how thin and light the Galaxy S phones feel. The Samsung Fascinate is covered in glossy glass and plastic, which does make it feel more like a toy than the metal-plated competition from HTC and Apple. But the light weight and the sturdy feel alleviate all concerns quickly. The phone wasn't too large in the hand, but it did feel sharp thanks to its thin shell. Still, it's nicely curved on the back with no sharp corners, so it fits comfortably in a well-fitted pair of pants.
The front of the device is dominated by the 4-inch touchscreen, and it really steals the show. There are four touch sensitive buttons beneath the screen, for Menu, Home, Back and Search. These buttons were plenty sensitive, but they did not stay lit when the screen was on, and sometimes the faint button symbol below the screen would fade into the glossy black, making the buttons hard to see. I wish these buttons would just stay lit while the screen is on, or paint them a brighter white.
On the left side of the phone is a volume rocker, nicely raised and easy to find during a phone call. On the right side is the power / screen lock button. This was more difficult to locate, and I often found myself squeezing the volume keys, since they were so much larger. That's it for buttons, and I really missed the dedicated camera button. I don't need many button shortcuts, but a real camera button beats an onscreen button any day.
Up top you'll find a microUSB port hiding behind a sliding port cover. It seems sturdy enough, and more secure than a pop-off port door. There's also a 3.5mm headphone jack. Samsung keeps a fairly minimalist look, and the Samsung Fascinate is a sharp looking tablet.