Photo: Steve Kovach, Business Insider
I’ll say this right off the bat: I’m not going to go super in-depth about Samsung’s Infuse 4G.It’s pretty much the same phone as the rest of Samsung’s Galaxy line, just in a different shell. If you go back and read my review of the Galaxy S 4G, you’ll get the idea: Android 2.2 Froyo, the Android Market, Samsung’s Media Hub and Video Player…it’s all there.
There’s nothing shocking or revolutionary to report with the software side of things. (To be clear, that’s not a bad thing at all.)
Instead, I’m going to concentrate on what sets the Infuse apart from most other Android phones: The size and the “4G” moniker.
To sum it up: The Infuse is HUGE. The “4G” speeds are pokey.
And now the rest:
A Monster Phone
The Infuse 4G really pushes the limit of how big a phone can be. With a 4.5-inch screen plus the extra metal and plastic bordering it, the phone barely fits in my hand. It’s more like a tiny tablet than a phone.
If my word means anything, phone manufacturers should heed my warning and not make a phone any larger than this. It’s borderline absurd.
But a huge screen doesn’t mean the Infuse is bulky. In fact, it’s the opposite. When I saw the phone from a distance, I thought it would weigh a ton. Instead, the Infuse is thin and incredibly light. And it’s still small enough to slide in my jeans pocket. No problem.
It’s just barely thicker than my iPhone 4, but feels like it carries half the weight. That’s mostly due to the Infuse’s plastic body though, which feels a bit cheap on the backing.
I’ve always been a fan of Samsung’s displays on everything from TVs to computer monitors. The Infuse 4G’s touchscreen doesn’t disappoint.
At Samsung’s launch event last week, there was a lot of geek-speak about pixels, sub pixels, and AMOLED Plus technology. To the layman, that can get really confusing.
I’ll make it easy on you: Videos and the web look gorgeous on the Infuse. The large screen really pays off and it feels like you’re holding a mini big-screen HD TV.
If you’re on the fence about buying the Infuse, but love to watch movies on your phone, just a few seconds with the phone should convince you to go for it.
The downside: While video looks great, you’ll have to do some digging for content. Samsung’s Media Hub store has some good movies and TV shows, but it’s library is nowhere near as extensive as the one you’ll find on iTunes.
(But as a bonus Samsung includes a $25 credit to the media hub with the Infuse, so take advantage of that.)
This may get better once Google starts allowing movie rentals through the Android Market, but for now you’ll have to find some creative ways to get your favourite videos on the Infuse.
Ignore the “4G” Label
It’s still a bit frustrating to me that carriers think 4G is any service even slightly faster than 3G. For the record, there’s no such thing. We’re a long way from that technology.
“4G” is just a marketing term, so if you’re making your decision based on that, don’t do it. To put it in perspective, I conducted several speed tests on the Infuse, and for the most part it wasn’t much faster than my iPhone.
Most tests hovered around 3 Mbps, which is what my iPhone hits when it has good signal. And although AT&T claims the Infuse is capable of faster uploads, my speed tests showed that they were still embarrassingly slow, usually 0.50 Mbps or less.
The lesson here is to ignore AT&T’s 4G claims for now. Wait until its LTE network launches (which will also be called “4G,” in case you weren’t confused enough) later this year. Those speeds should be similar to the impressive ones we’ve seen on Verizon.
Should You Buy it?
The Infuse 4G is definitely a great Android option for AT&T customers. You can get it for $199.99 with a two-year contract starting May 15.
Personally, I’m looking forward to AT&T landing a more normal-sized 4-inch phone Android phone. (Although I hear the Nexus S could be coming soon.)
Just make sure you try the phone in the store before you buy it. I can easily see it being too big for some people.
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