Samsung Tansform w/Sprint ID, A Solid Phone

Posted by at 1:05 am on November 17, 2010

We recently completed a trial spin with the Sprint version of the Samsung Transform that includes the new Sprint ID feature.   With this Samsung you get a mid range Android smart phone with a medium-size touch screen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and front- and rear-facing cameras.   The outside finish of the handset is gloss black with rounded corners.   It is 4.6 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.6 inch deep and weighs 5.4 ounces, which gives it a hefty feel for a phone of this class.   Whether you want to call it “heavy” or “solid” is a matter of personal preference.

What It’s Got

The 800Mhz processor does a good job of managing Android 2.1 and associated apps, but lacks the snappy response of the 1 Ghz processors available on competing handsets.

The 3.5 touch screen HVGA display supports a 480×320 pixel resolution and 16 million colors.   It is bright and responsive, but it is does not give the same level of video quality that some other Samsung phones like the Galaxy S get from Super AMOLED displays.

Also found on the front of the phone are touch-sensitive buttons that pull up the menu, go home, go back, and trigger search.   On the right spine you’ll find the dedicated camera button, voice command control, and power button. On the left is the volume rocker a 3.5mm headset jack and Micro-USB charging port can be found on the top side.

Cameras and Storage

The front facing camera provides images for self portraits and video calling that will do the job but do not have a huge wow factor.   Camera controls are Android standard.   On the back is the 3.2-megapixel camera with an adjacent flash; both are square-shaped. The back cover has a soft-touch finish that makes the Transform comfortable to hold.

There’s also a microSD card slot that can hold up to 32GB of expandable memory. It’s tucked under the back cover, but you don’t have to remove the battery to access it. Samsung gets you started with a 2GB memory card that comes with the the phone.

Can it Call?

Calls with the Samsung Transform are the same as calling with any other Android phone. There’s a shortcut on the screen that takes you to the phone app, where you can dial from the keypad, or use the Call Log, the Contacts list, or your list of Favorites.

The in-call screen is a bit different from the basic Android in-call screen. Some of the shortcuts that are normally visible on screen are now hidden under a menu. Mute, Bluetooth and Add Call buttons are now hidden.   You can open the dial pad if you need to enter numbers during a call.

The phone book is limited only by the internal memory, which is 256MB RAM and 512MB ROM. There’s room in each entry for multiple numbers, e-mail addresses, IM handles, group IDs, and photo caller IDs. It also supports visual voice mail to manage your voice mail box.

Other Features

Also included are: a speakerphone, conference calling, voice dialing, text and multimedia messaging, and the full range of wireless options: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 3G (EV-DO Rev. A), and GPS.

The slide out QWERTY keyboard has good response and springy action but the keys are flat rather that shaped so it can be challenging to hit them accurately.

The battery needed a boost after about 6 hours of typical use, so plan on carrying some sort of charger.

Show Us Your ID

The  ships with version 2.1 of the Android operating system and takes advantage of Sprint’s new Sprint ID feature.   Sprint’s new ID Packs give you preselected packs of applications, wallpapers,screen savers, and ring-tones that are based on a theme.   Some themes are topical, like Fashion, while others focus on a brand like Yahoo! and EA Games.

The ID packs are a good starting point for users who might otherwise get lost in the confusion of the Android Marketplace, but they still need some refinement. Many of the apps still have to be individually installed after you have downloaded the ID pack, and the ID packs themselves can take a very long time to download.

Rating 3.5

To sum up, this is a middle class Android handset.   It has a few features that make it a good pick, but it takes a back seat to Samsung’s other products, most notably the Galaxy class phones.   The Sprint ID packs are handy but need more content and are slow to download initially.   It is available from Sprint for $149.99 with a new 2 year contract.

Pros:

  • Good design, feels very solid to hold
  • Has a front facing camera for portraits and video calls
  • Ships with Sprint ID

Cons:

  • Battery life is below average
  • ID Packs can be slow to download
  • Only Android 2.1, not 2.2

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