Samsung Fascinate review roundup

Samsung Fascinate will hit store shelves tomorrow. So how does the newest Samsung handset stack up?

Samsung Fascinate, pictured here, is the latest Samsung handset to hit the smartphone market. Reviewers particularly like the accessible interface on the Fascinate.

This week, Verizon Wireless will release the Samsung Fascinate, a smartphone in the Galaxy S line. The Fascinate is a similar handset to the Samsung Captivate and Vibrant – currently sold by AT&T and T-Mobile, respectively – and comes equipped with an array of features, including a gorgeous AMOLED touch screen, a 1GHz processor, and a software interface which includes a mobile version of the Microsoft Bing search engine.

So how does the Samsung Fascinate stack up to, say, the Apple iPhone?

We'll give the first word to Engadget, which calls the Samsung Fascinate "arguably the first handset that gives something like the Droid X or the Incredible a proper run for its money." In his review, Engadget's Joshua Topolsky says the design of the Fascinate is basic but attractive enough: "a simple slab with rounded edges, a slight silver band that runs around the sides of the device, and little detail save for a gray and black patterned back."

Topolsky admits that the phone lacks the "heft of some other devices in this class (such as the Droid 2)," but says the Samsung Fascinate is "more comfortable to type on than the Incredible or iPhone."

Over at Slashgear, Vincent Nguyen praises the multimedia functionalities on the Fascinate, which he says are especially well-crafted. "The 5-megapixel camera produces excellent stills and 720p video, with touch-to-focus and sensible automatic use of the LED flash," Nguyen writes. "The results outclass what we produced with the 8-megapixel Droid X, which once again goes to show that it’s not the number of pixels you have but how you use them."

He adds that the camera flash can be "used during video recording, and unlike on rival devices, when you’re shooting in low-light situations it comes on as you frame the shot rather than just when the picture is taken."

Of course, as Bonnie Cha of CNET notes, the Fascinate isn't for everyone. "Android purists and business owners," for instance, might want an Android phone that's a little less "bubbly," and comes armed with a bit more firepower. But for the entry-level smartphone user, Cha says, the Fascinate is a good choice indeed.

"Samsung's custom TouchWiz interface offers an easy-to-understand presentation of menus that makes the transition from feature phone to smartphone a little easier," she writes. She especially likes the grid-view of the applications menu, which feels "more natural and easier to navigate" than the standard Android layout.

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