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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Samsung Infuse 4G Android phone has big, bright screen and excellent performance on AT&T

24

June

screen_shot_2011-06-24_at_6.09.17_pm.pngOn the Android platform, new smartphones are now introduced so frequently that it can become a big blur. Some phones are introduced on different carriers with different names and often the features are changed incrementally, if at all. For that reason I don't review every phone that comes out but instead, I try to find the ones that offer something new and stand out in the crowd. That's why I decided to take a look at the Samsung Infuse 4G from AT&T.

The most striking thing about the Infuse 4G is the huge screen. It has a 4.5" Super AMOLED Plus screen that absolutely dwarfs the screen on my iPhone 4 and looks just as good, if not better. With a resolution of 800X480 and incredible brightness and contrast, the screen looks good at all angles. Of course screen of this size makes the phone considerably larger too, but because it's so thin and sleek you don't really notice. The overall dimensions are 5.2" by 3.8" and just .35" thick with a weight of 4.9 ounces. When it's in your pocket you barely realize it's there.

Inside you'll find a 1.2 GHz single-core processor which makes it not quite as powerful as some on the new dual-core phones on the market, but no bother. The Infuse feels snappy and handles it's tasks with no problem at all. And while you'd think that a phone with such a large screen would eat battery power in a hurry, the Infuse 4G might but the included battery is so large that battery life is excellent too. Hidden beneath the back cover is a huge, 1,750 mAh battery rated for up to a whopping 400 hours of standby time and up to 8 hours of talk time. I ran the phone all day, testing various functions, and the battery barely dipped below 50 percent.

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As a multimedia device the Infuse 4G really shines, with an 8.0-megapixel auto-focus, rear-facing camera capable of 720p HD video. Also included is a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats. With the included Samsung Media Hub you can watch hit movies and TV shows and the included 2GB microSD card comes pre-loaded with a collection of movie trailers to get you started. Media Hub is a paid service and you get a $25 credit with the phone so you can try it out. A special edition of the popular Angry Birds game comes pre-loaded on the Infuse and players can unlock a special “Golden Egg” level to register and win Samsung prizes exclusive to Infuse 4G users.

Although this phone is marketed as a 4G unit, it's really an HSPA+ phone but it is the fastest one AT&T has released so far. HSPA+ is like 3G-Zilla (3G on steroids) and it's capable of impressive speeds when the conditions cooperate. HSPA+ is capable of very fast speeds in excess of 8Mbps but I didn't experience anything close to that. Most my tests gave me download speeds between 1.5 and 3Mbps with the upload speeds around 1MBps. It was, however, definitely faster than my AT&T iPhone 4 running on straight 3G.

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As far as the build quality goes, it does feel a little cheap to me but I suspect that's because it's so light. The back cover does have a nice texture to it to give it some grip and the rest is a nice, glossy pewter color.

The phone ships with Android 2.2 Froyo. There is 16GB of built-in storage that is broken into three partitions and the included 2GB microSD card brings you to 18GB. You can expand this with a 32GB microSD card (purchased separately) to bring your total storage up to 48GB.

All things considered, this is the best Android phone I've tested so far. It's thin and light with a stunning screen and great battery life. The processor has plenty of power to get the job done with ease and the wireless network performance is a huge improvement over standard 3G, even though it rarely reaches the promise of 4G speeds. If you're looking for a new Android phone, you need to check this one out.

[Last modified: Friday, June 24, 2011 6:37pm]

    

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