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Hands-On: HTC Amaze 4G, Samsung Galaxy S II 4G for T-Mobile

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Oct 5, 2011, 12:21 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Phone Scoop met with T-Mobile today and was able to spend some time with its new newest -- and fastest -- 4G phones, the HTC Amaze 4G and the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G. Here are our initial impressions.

Galaxy S II 4G 

The Samsung Galaxy S II for T-Mobile is as amazingly thin as the other S II variants. Samsung used a special, new Super AMOLED Plus display that itself is thinner than previous displays. It is also light as a feather. I can't recall a device that weighed as little as the S II. It'll slip into the tightest pocket.

As far as feel in the hand is concerned, its it doesn't feel all that different than some of the other Galaxy handsets out there, such as the Galaxy S II on AT&T's network. Because of the huge display, it is an enormous phone and very wide. It's near impossible to get your hand all the way around it.

The one major difference is that the T-Mobile variant has a smooth battery cover, whereas the others have a textured battery cover. The one bummer is that the S II still has that plastic-y feel of its Galaxy S predecessors and brothers. I would prefer it to feel more solid and seem some metal in the design somewhere rather than all the plastic that is used in the housing. For whatever reason, Samsung seems to be averse to using metal in its handset designs.

 

Galaxy S II 4G

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

The Super AMOLED Plus display is ridiculous. It simply looks fantastic. Even in blinding light, the display dazzled with its colors, brightness and clarity. Samsung really knows how to make displays on its devices. The T-Mobile version of the S II has a 4.52-inch display.

The rest of the S II takes a minimalistic approach. Thankfully, Samsung whittled the bezel down to almost nothing and the display fills most of the face of the phone. The power/lock key is on the right, the volume toggle is on the left, and there are the usual four buttons below the display.

The user interface builds on Samsung's TouchWiz software, but also tones TouchWiz down a bit. The main menu looks and acts just like other Galaxy TouchWiz phones, but the home screens are slightly different. Samsung has created its own widgets to collect information on the home screen. They can be used to stick all sorts of content from the web there, including RSS feeds, weather, news, email, social networks, and so on. The design of these widgets is clean and crisp, though it is easy to clutter up the home screen if you stuff too many on there.

The newest version of TouchWiz gets rid of all the icons that I've disliked intensely of previous versions of TouchWiz. Instead, Samsung has allowed the UI to look like a more natural version of Android. While there's still a decidedly Samsung feel to the user interface, it is far, far less obnoxious than it is on other Galaxy devices.

The new TouchWiz also adds the ability to adjust all the home screens from one central tool. Pressing and holding the home screen brings up a new dashboard that lets users customize each of the home screens from one spot rather than adjusting each one-by-one.

The user interface was lightning fast. I was able to jump from app to app, from screen to screen, in a jiffy. With a dual-core 1.5GHz processor under the hood, it has plenty of power to get things done.

I was disappointed in that I was unable to really test the 42Mbps powers of this device, as we were holed up in a conference room that didn't have good network service. T-Mobile says, however, that its 42Mbps HSPA+ network now covers 170 million Americans in 152 markets.

Aside from the slightly plastic feel to the Samsung Galaxy S II, it's a truly impressive phone.

 

Amaze and S II 4G

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

HTC Amaze 4G 

The HTC Amaze 4G is one of the most powerful and one of the fastest phones made by our friends over in Taiwan. It packs a raging 1.5GHz dual-core SnapDragon processor, and HSPA+ at 42Mbps. Add the 8-megapixel camera and qHD display, and you've got a winning combination.

 

Amaze 4G

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

It's a durned big phone. It is not nearly as svelte as the Samsung Galaxy S II 4G. The rounded edges and sides help make it feel comfortable to hold, but nothing can reduce the overall footprint and thicker waistline. It isn't all that heavy. There's a reason for that. There's noticeably more plastic in its design when compared to the nice aluminum materials we're used to seeing in HTC handsets. It doesn't feel cheap, but it doesn't feel as high-quality or high-end as some of HTC's older, more metallic models.

There are no controls on the left side of the phone save for the microUSB port. The right side has all sorts of action going on. The volume toggle is closest to the top. It hs a typical HTC design in that it is thin and mushy under the thumb. Below it, you'll notice a dedicated video camera key, which will launch the video camera from sleep if pressed. Below that is a dedicated camera button, which launches the camera from sleep mode without necessitating the phone to be unlocked first.

Both buttons feel great, and the reduced time to open the camera thanks to the shortcuts is also great.

The power/lock button and 3.5mm headset jack are on top, as expected. The button felt fine.

The Amaze 4G runs Sense 3.0, which has been in the market for a while now. It offers tons of tools that make the device easier to use. The lock screen has shortcuts to a handful of apps, and the amount of customization that is pissuble with HTC's software tools is nearlly limitless.

T-Mobile spent the bulk of our time together discussing the Amaze 4G's camera, which is indeed impressive. The camera's tools and controls mirror that of the HTC myTouch 4G Slide -- which is to say they offer a *lot*. Some of the neat camera features include HDR, burst shot, automatic panoramas (called Sweep Shot), face/smile detection, and others.

What impressed me most was the speed of the camera. It focuses and fires off shots extremely fast, and gets you back to taking pictures quickly.

As with the Galaxy S II 4G, we were unable to really test the 42Mbps HSPA+ speeds offered by the Amaze 4G, but T-Mobile bragged that they used the phone to download a 1.5GB move via 4G in about 10 minutes.

 

Amaze and S II 4G

Click a thumbnail above for a larger view.

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Subject Author Date
GPS jayb2274 Oct 6, 2011, 10:27 AM
  • Re: GPS by pittheels   Oct 6, 2011, 11:59 AM
    • Re: GPS by netboy   Oct 6, 2011, 2:21 PM
but will it do att 3G?? netboy Oct 5, 2011, 3:24 PM
Amazing :D lilly0x Oct 5, 2011, 2:43 PM
 
 
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