The Samsung Infuse 4G is a great-looking phone with exceptional media capabilities. Unfortunately, while it may shine at playing movies and music, in our tests images and text came out looking like a mess.
Samsung Infuse 4G: Polished Look
The Samsung Infuse 4G has a minimalistic design that is sure to turn a few heads. At 132 by 71 by 9mm, the phone is incredibly thin. The volume rocker and the power button are, respectively, on the left and right spines, and an 8-megapixel camera (with flash) is on the rear. The Infuse features a 4.5-inch display that takes advantage of Samsung's new Super AMOLED Plus technology.
While high-definition movies looked great on the phone, images and text were badly pixilated. I tried viewing several Web pages and high-resolution images on the Samsung Infuse 4G, and none of them came out looking very good. Text wasn't unreadable, but it can hurt your eyes after a while due to its jaggedness.
The front face of the Samsung Infuse 4G also features a 1.3-megapixel camera for video chatting and the usual Android soft keys (Menu, Home, Back, and Search). The Infuse also has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top, and the micro-USB charging port at the bottom doubles as an HDMI-out (more on that later).
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Samsung Infuse 4G: TouchWiz 4.0
The Samsung Infuse 4G runs the latest version of Samsung's TouchWiz, which adds more handy features to this already-useful overlay. Pinching anywhere on the screen gives you a birds-eye view of all your home screens and lets you rearrange them however you wish. Doing the same in your app drawer allows you to easily view all of your applications and quickly navigate to the one you are looking for.
This new version of TouchWiz also tweaks your Contacts List to make it easier to quickly call or text someone. Swiping left on a contact will take you to the Messaging app, while swiping right will initiate a call to that contact. This is a great feature for people who want to quickly get in touch with others without slogging through countless menus to do it.
Other than TouchWiz, the Samsung Infuse 4G we tested - a US-localised AT&T model - was relatively free of preloaded software. This was a breath of fresh air, as most mobile carriers seem to like to stuff their Android phones with as many extra apps as they possibly can. The Infuse - on AT&T at least - will also let you side-load applications. Now users can download apps from the Web and install them on their phone, whether those apps are in the official Android Market or not.
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Samsung Infuse 4G: Performance
The Samsung Infuse runs Android 2.2 (Froyo), but is due to get Google Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) later this year. The phone has a 1.2GHz single-core processor, which was able to handle most of the tasks I threw at it. The only time I saw any noticeable slowdown was when I was downloading and installing several dozen apps at once.
Samsung's decision to go with a single-core processor instead of a dual-core may have been due to concerns over battery running time. Other 4G dual-core phones that we have seen have had extremely underwhelming battery life. After 5 hours of heavy usage, I managed to get the battery down to only 23 percent on a single charge. You may still want to bring a spare charger with you in your travels, but at least you won't drain your phone as fast as you would with the Samsung Charge or the T-Mobile G2x.
The Samsung Infuse 4G takes advantage of HSPA+ for 4G speeds. While not the fastest 4G connectivity around, it did pretty well for day-to-day tasks. Websites like Yahoo or Yelp opened in seconds, and apps downloaded in a speedy manner.
Call quality was okay, though voices were a little quiet. Turning up the in-call volume remedied the issue, but I ended up noticing a faint background hiss in the calls I made. The hissing wasn't so bad that it took away from the quality of the call, and you will probably get used to it after a while.
Finally, the great thing about the Samsung Infuse 4G's large screen is that typing on its touchscreen keyboard is incredibly easy - even for people with thicker fingers. While still not as good as a physical QWERTY keyboard, I was able to easily pound out a several text messages and an e-mail with few to no errors.
Samsung Infuse 4G: A Media Master
The 8-megapixel camera on the Samsung Infuse 4G won't be replacing your stand-alone digital camera anytime soon. The Infuse's camera has a few neat options (like the ability to take panoramic pictures), but images are fuzzy and can have a reddish tint to them at times. The front-facing camera does not have the same issues, though pictures taken with it will look washed out and grayish. Videos recorded on the device fare better and lack the redness found in the still images.
The Samsung Infuse 4G makes a great portable media player, and even comes with an HDMI adapter and a pair of decent earbuds (as mentioned above, you can use the micro-USB charging port on the bottom for HDMI). Its 4.5-inch screen is perfect for watching movies on the go, and the external speaker can get pretty loud at higher volumes. The Media Hub app lets you rent or download movies to your device.
And don't worry too much about space: The Samsung Infuse 4G has 16GB of internal memory and comes with a 2GB microSD card (and you can get a larger one if you need it).