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printed November 23, 2014
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Review: Samsung Transform

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Screen

 

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The 3.5-inch, 320 by 480 pixel LCD display on the Samsung Transform is lackluster. It's not very bright, and it loses much of that brightness outdoors on a sunny day. It wasn't impossible to read outside, but it was very difficult, and I couldn't see the camera viewfinder when I held the phone over my head. Indoors, the screen looked much better, but it wasn't perfect. With the brightness turned all the way up, the Transform still had a grey palor on white screens. Against a darker background, icons were nice and colorful, though still not very bright. Text looked just a bit wiry and jagged, but it was still legible enough to read long Web pages with no trouble.

Sound

 

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Sound quality on the Samsung Transform was pretty good. Through the phone's earpiece, calls sounded clean and plenty loud. There was a slightly metallic twang to my callers' voices, but only enough to remind me I was on a cell phone. The speaker on the phone was also impressive. Ringtones came through nice and loud, easy to hear across the house or when the phone was tucked into a deep pocket. Music also sounded great coming through the speaker. The phone lacked a bass kick, obviously, but sound quality was good enough to use the Transform as a complete dedicated sound system in a small office space. With the sound turned off, the phone still had an adequate vibrate mode. It wasn't strong enough to shake furniture, but I had no trouble feeling it when calls came through.

Signal

I had serious problems with radio reception on the Samsung Transform. The phone uses Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A network, but signal often dipped very low. The phone would report only a bar or two of service, and data would slow to a crawl. Phone calls also had trouble going through when network reception was poor. Troubles weren't limited to the cellular network, either. The Transform often had trouble connecting to my home Wi-Fi network. Sometimes it claimed the network was out of range, even though all of my other devices were connected, and other times the phone would not load data, even though it showed an active Wi-Fi link.

Battery

If the phone's signal strength was bad, battery life was nearly catastrophic. I would unplug my Samsung Transform review unit at 7AM, and by noon it needed a charge. That was with very little use. No camera, no GPS, and few phone calls. It was not unusual to have to charge the phone completely two or three times a day. There is something clearly wrong in this system. The phone uses a 1500 mAh battery, which is among the larger batteries you'll find in a cell phone these days. I suspect that radio problems or power management issues with the system are draining the battery life at an alarming rate.

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