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Review: Samsung Fascinate

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Browser

The Web browser on the Samsung Fascinate is the standard Android kit. It can handle HTML pages with ease and my favorite sites, including our own PhoneScoop homepage and the full CNN site, looked just like their desktop counterparts. The phone has Flash Lite support, but it was useless in my browsing. None of the CNN videos I wanted nor our own YouTube samples played back properly on the phone.

Even without Flash, the Web browser is still top notch. Text was always sharp and easy to read, and photos looked clear. The browser responded nicely to pinching and swiping gestures, and the huge screen made it easy to read long Web pages. In all, browsing is a solid experience on the Samsung Fascinate.

 

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Customize

Except for that one big thing, there's quite a bit that you can customize on the Samsung Fascinate. There are plenty of widgets and useful shortcuts for the homescreen panels. Samsung starts you with a generous seven panels, but you can cut that number down to your liking and even rearrange the panel order with a flick.

You can rearrange the order of the app icons in the application folder, or view your apps as a long list, instead of an icon grid. You can also change which show up in the bottom four shortcuts on every menu screen. You can't change the basic theme or color scheme, but I didn't mind Samsung's TouchWIZ interface in the slightest. It might be a bit too bright and cheery for some tastes, but I found this version to be customizable to the point of being useful, and it never seemed to get in the way.

You can also download plenty of apps, including some that fill in the Google blanks, like Google Maps. Google Search isn't available, and at press time Verizon Wireless reps were being cryptic about why, saying only that Verizon "isn't blocking" Google Search on this phone. Who knows what that will mean for users in the long term.

 

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