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Samsung Moment (Sprint)

>> Monday, December 7, 2009

You wouldn't be off base if you initially confused the Moment with Samsung's other touch screen phones. Indeed, with its rounded ends and prominent display it looks a lot like the Samsung Rogue. Yet, a closer look will show that Samsung Moment (Sprint) is larger than its siblings and its color scheme and soft touch material on its battery cover put it more in line with the Hero. The result is a rather unremarkable design, particularly when compared with its Android counterparts, but the smooth lines give the Moment a minimalist appeal.

Samsung Moment (Sprint) is more than just large (4.6 inches by 2.34 inches by 0.63 inch), it's also quite heavy (5.67 ounces) for any kind of cell phone. The extra bulk is noticeable and Samsung Moment (Sprint) can make for a tight fit in some pockets, but the trade off is a solid device with a sturdy build. The slider mechanism is sufficiently stiff and the handset has a firm feel in the hand. We noticed, however, that when the slider is open Samsung Moment (Sprint) feels a bit top heavy. When typing, be sure to steady the back of the slider with your fingers.

At 3.2 inches, the Moment's vibrant AMOLED display is smaller than the iPhone's, but still large enough to allow for comfortable navigation. Though the resolution (480x320 pixels) is lower than on the Rogue, the rich color support (16 million hues) means that colors and graphics pop right off the screen. You can change the brightness, the wallpaper, and the backlight time, and you can adjust the accelerometer settings so that the display doesn't change automatically when you rotate the phone. A proximity sensor will switch the screen off when you're on a call.

Samsung Moment (Sprint) ships with Android OS 1.5 so its three home screens and phone dialer interface will be familiar to Android users. The dialer features round buttons and offers quick access to a list of favorite contacts, though it lacks the additional shortcuts we liked on the Cliq. The main menu is also unchanged from other supported handsets to access it, tap the small pull tab at the bottom of the display. Naturally, you can add or delete shortcut widgets and move them around the home screens.

But in a change from other Android phones, the display offers vibrating feedback for the virtual keyboard and keypad (you can turn this feature off). Fortunately, the physical controls just below the display are better. You'll find large Talk and End or power keys and a square OK button that doubles as an optical mouse. The latter is a unique Samsung creation that acts like a touch pad. By swiping your finger cross the control, you can move the cursor or swipe between home screens. Though the optical mouse is tiny, it works well. In fact, it's so sensitive that you need to use it carefully.

On the downside, we'd prefer to have a dedicated search control. Other exterior features include a volume rocker on the left spine and a camera shutter and a voice dialing button on the right spine. A Micro-USB port on the left spine accommodates the charger and a USB cable. We thank Samsung for giving us a standard charger port and the 3.5 mm headset jack on the Moment's top end. The camera lens, flash, and mirror sit on the rear side near a speaker. You will need to remove the battery cover to access the microSD card slot.

Essentials include text and multimedia messaging, a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, a calculator, an alarm clock, and a nifty "Device self Service" that allows you to, among other things, quickly activate your phone. Some basic apps like a world clock and a notepad remain absent, and we're a little perplexed by the new File Viewer feature. Though we welcome the capability to view files that are stored on the phone a feature not available on previous Android phones you can't do anything other than delete the files once you find them.

To be really useful, we should be able to move files as well. Beyond the basics, you'll have 802.11b Wi-Fi, USB mass storage, Google Talk, instant messaging, Sprint visual voice mail, stereo Bluetooth, PC syncing, and speaker independent voice dialing. The Moment also comes integrated with apps from Facebook, The Weather Channel, CNN, ESPN, and a demo version of Bejewled. Of course, Google voice search is also onboard and you can populate the home screen with a handy search widget.

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