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Review: Samsung Fascinate

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The Samsung Fascinate worked well with all my Bluetooth devices. I was able to pair with my Bluetooth headset with no trouble. Reception was okay, as good as it is with any mobile phone. Reception is always better with a larger device, like my stereo Bluetooth speakers, and these sounded great for music playback, with no reception problems. I was also able to transfer files from the image gallery to my laptop over Bluetooth with no hassle.


The Samsung Fascinate will appease clock obsessives and those on a schedule. The phone has a clock placed prominently at the bottom of the lock screen. It's visible in all sorts of light, indoors and out. There's a small clock in the notification shade. You also get a ton of clock widgets from Samsung, including a weather clock and dual-time clocks for travelers. The phone also has a built in alarm and timer.


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Out of the box, the Samsung Fascinate uses Bing and VZ Navigator to handle mapping and navigation duties. When you tap on an address in your contact list, a menu pops up asking which app you want to use. The correct answer is neither. Instead, download Google Maps. Bing Maps is kind of like Google Maps . . . for a Palm Treo. It doesn't use multi-touch for zooming, it is a sluggish piece of software and it often got my location wrong, placing me in New York City instead of Dallas, TX. That's pretty far off.

VZ Navigator has been improved for Android, but Networks in Motion's mapping and navigation app just doesn't live up to any of the competition. It's a sluggish app that constantly refreshed the map pages every few seconds. The interface still isn't multi-touch friendly, and it isn't as advanced as Sprint Navigator or AT&T Navigator, both TeleNav products, and it isn't as friendly as the free option from Google. It is convenient that VZ Navigator offers local gas prices and special event calendars, so it might be a useful location-based tourist app, but for driving directions, I much preferred Google Maps.



The commercials for Samsung's Galaxy S line of phones, including the Samsung Fascinate, might fool you into thinking this is a gaming powerhouse. In fact, there are almost no advanced games available for Android phones. I tried playing Speed Forge, one of the most advanced 3D games, on the Fascinate but the game would not load. I'd love to see Samsung put its money where its mouth is and buy a gaming studio to create the games it claims these advanced phones can handle.

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