Review: Samsung Captivate
What's not to love about Samsung's Super AMOLED display? It truly is beautiful. Colors literally jump off the screen. You want bright? Indoors the Captivate is so bright that you shouldn't be surprised if it attracts flies and moths. Outdoors, it is readable, despite direct sunlight and finger grime. It's not perfect, mind you, but you can interact with the phone and see what you're doing on most screens.
The Captivate sounds decent, but not amazing. During calls I placed, I noticed a slight muffled and digitized sound to voices. Those with whom I spoke reported the same. As far as volume goes, the earpiece volume is good. It was loud enough that I could hear calls over a noisy air conditioner in the same room. Ringers and the speakerphone may be problematic. The speaker for both is placed on the back of the Captivate. Since most users won't want to scratch the screen and will want to see the display, they'll naturally place it on surfaces with the back down. When placed on a hard surface, such as a table or desk, you're not going to have any problems. You'll hear it just fine. If you place it on a soft surface, such as a bed or couch, however, the volume is diminished enough that you might miss calls if you're in another room.
The Captivate did fairly well at capturing AT&T's signal, though it lagged the performance of some phones. In my tests around the metropolitan New York City area, it generally held onto three bars in areas where other phones held four or five. It waffled between two and three bars most of the time, and easily lost contact with AT&T's network altogether in some instances. Despite the iffy signal reporting, I didn't miss or drop any calls with the Captivate during my tests. I did notice inconsistent data speeds, however. Sometimes it was really fast, other times it was really slow.
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The Captivate's battery life is astounding. With the cellular radio, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth on, I was easily able to make it through two days of use. That's far and away better than most other Android handsets on the market. We can thank Samsung's Super AMOLED display a bit, as it sips power slower than other display technologies do. The results here are noticeable. Color me impressed.
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Samsung recently announced the availability of Android 2.3 Gingerbread to the Captivate smartphone. Installing the new system software requires the use of Kies Mini and a computer.