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printed April 20, 2014
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Review: Samsung Infuse 4G

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Is It Your Type? Body The Three S's  

The Infuse is enormous, possibly too enormous for some. It measures a pocket-stretching 5.2 by 2.8 inches. It is perfectly rectangular in shape, with gently rounded corners. I can barely get my hands around it. If it weren't 8.9mm thin, there's no way I'd want to carry this thing around. It dwarfs any other phone placed next to it, enough that - if you’re a guy - it may draw off-color jokes about its size with respect to something for which you might be compensating. It's not the Lamborghini of smartphones (after all, it isn't encrusted in diamonds), but it is the full-sized pick-up truck of smartphones, with super-sized suspension and knobby tires. Annoyingly big, but its size makes it more useful for some tasks.

How does it feel? As with many of the Samsung Android phones to reach market in the last year, it feels cheap thanks to the glossy and creaky plastics. I'm not a fan of the materials Samsung has chosen for its Galaxy devices, and the Infuse makes no improvements there. It is slippery, and I can imagine it jumping from the fingers of many a user during its lifetime. The smooth surfaces do help it slip into pockets, assuming the pocket is large enough to accommodate it.

To say that the front is all screen would be putting it mildly. With 4.5-inches of Super AMOLED Plus display stretching across the front, there's little room for anything else. Samsung did manage to place four capacitive Android keys at the very bottom edge.

Other controls are kept to a minimum. On the left, you'll find the volume toggle in its customary place. It stands out stiffly from the side, making it easy to find. Travel and feedback are OK. The power/lock button is opposite the volume toggle on the right side. I've griped about this positioning before, and I'll gripe again. I'd much prefer Samsung put the power/lock button on the top of the phone.

The microUSB port is tucked into the bottom edge. Sadly, it doesn't double as an HDMI port (via MHL), and there's no HDMI port on the Infuse. Instead, Samsung makes an adapter that goes from microUSB to full HDMI. The 3.5mm headset jack is where I like it to be, on top.

The battery cover peels off easily enough, but it is extremely flimsy. I can easily imagine it snapping in half if you yank too hard on it. The huge battery is accessible once the cover is removed. The SIM card can be taken out without removing the battery, but the microSD card port is buried under the battery. Usually, it's the other way around. This is unfortunate, as it makes hot-swapping the microSD card impossible.

Over all, the Infuse is an impressive phone. It may lack some features and takes a spartan approach to its design, but the hardware doesn't get in the way of usability.

 

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