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printed April 25, 2014
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Review: Samsung Transform

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I honestly believe that, on paper, the Sprint ID concept is a good one, and there is an audience for phones like this. People who find setting up an Android phone confusing would appreciate an improved version of Sprint ID. The Sprint ID feature should offer these folks a well organized, thoughtful interface, broken down into lifestyle options and fun, branded packs with unique content. Switching between these should be fast and seemless. Unfortunately, the Samsung Transform delivers on none of these promises. Sprint ID packs are a hodge-podge of ill fitting and confusing options. They are bloated with junk apps that have nothing to do with the ID pack, and they seem to actively avoid the best and most obvious choices. No official Twitter app for the Socially Connected ID pack? Sprint, what were you thinking?

The worst part about Sprint ID is that it seems to absolutely crush the phone's performance. The Transform is sluggish and unresponsive, and bugs cause features to fail or not work properly. Switching between ID packs takes an eternity in smartphone time, and what you get in return seems more focused on the products and partnerships Sprint is trying to sell to you, rather than focused on the user experience.

There were still some bright moments. Call quality was great. I also liked the camera on the Transform, it seemed to perform better than other 3 megapixel cameras in the same product range. But there were also hardware problems that might be caused by bad software. The battery life was inexcusably short, for instance, and both EV-DO and Wi-Fi networking were unreliable.

With some polish and some tweaks, and a whole lot more effort on the part of Sprint and the ID pack designers, the concept could be put to good use. But if you're looking at the Samsung Transform as a phone that will make your mobile life easier, stay away, because life with this phone can be hard indeed.

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