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Hands-On: Samsung Exhibit 4G

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Jun 22, 2011, 10:42 PM   by Rich Brome

The Samsung Exhibit 4G for T-Mobile is a curious phone. In an age where most Android phones are either cheap, messaging-oriented, or top-end flagship models, the Exhibit carves out its own space in the middle ground, including select advanced features while keeping a low price point. We spent a little time with it. Read on for our first impressions.

Samsung's Exhibit includes speedy HSPA+ 21 mbps 4G data and a 1 GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor. Right away, that makes this a good phone for impatient types on a budget. It also sports a very respectable 480 x 800-pixel display and front-facing camera, so it has things covered visually, as well. None of that's really top-end, but it's also darn good for such an affordable phone. The one area they really skimped is the camera, which is only 3-megapixel, which is pretty much the bare minimum for Android. At least it's auto-focus.

 

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The build quality is good. The plastics are high-quality and feel solid. It's quite light and thin enough. It's very pocket-friendly, especially compared to the current crop of higher-end phones with massive 4.3-inch screens.

One unexpected and unusual design touch is a patch of black plastic on the bottom of the phone with a leather texture.

Speaking of small plastic-y touches, the Exhibit is one of those phones that comes out of the box covered in at least a dozen separate completely clear stickers. This is a pet peeve of mine. It's annoying to find and remove them all, both because there are so many, and because some of them blend in so well that you're not sure if it's something you should remove. Some people won't even notice them, or will notice them but will choose to leave them on as cheap scratch protection. But this inevitably leads to a hideous collection of dirty slices of plastic slowly peeling away from the phone. Please stop, Samsung. Moving on...

Instead of four touch keys, the Exhibit sports three touch keys and a physical home key. This is a welcome touch, (although four physical buttons might have been better still.)

The phone is fast, as you'd expect. Everything works as it should. The screen is especially nice for packing so many pixels into a relatively small 3.5-inch area. Everything looks very crisp.

The microSD slot is located on the side, which might seem handy, but the cover is so tricky to manipulate that I actually found myself wishing the slot were under the battery cover.

There's no camera button, but with only a 3-megapixel sensor, photography isn't the focus here.

The interface is mostly stock Android, with only Samsung's usual tweaks that dock four large icons at the bottom of the home screens, and make the main app menu swipe side-to-side in pages, like an iPhone.

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