Alright, this is the last time I'm pointing out that prepaid carriers are on the rise and that they no longer carry the stigma of having only "crappy" phones. From now on I'm treating them just like every other carrier. It's only fair. I mean, MetroPCS goes from having these horrible commercials that contain so many elements that only seem to solidify the misconception that they are not a technologically advanced company (please take note of that comment Metro) to now having the very first 4G LTE Android smartphone available on the market. Granted, we'll still have to live with the badly-designed commercials, but the phone itself is impressive.
The Samsung Galaxy Indulge is a pretty cool phone. Four months ago it would have been the envy of gadget freaks everywhere, but now it's just a really awesome phone. It's packed with the same 1 GHz Hummingbird processor that you'll find in all of the Galaxy S devices and a physical keyboard that's similar to the Epic's physical keyboard, only smaller. Oh, and it's a 4G LTE device with Android 2.2. So, what do I think about it? Well, I've only had it for a day, but so far, I'm really digging this phone. Let's run through some first impression notes:
- 4G is fast. 4G on the Galaxy Indulge is fast. All you people who are bashing MetroPCS' 4G network and saying that this phone is 'garbage' have probably not used their 4G network or this phone, so shut it. Speeds so far have been on the fringe of what LTE can deliver, but it's much faster than I expected from a prepaid carrier's network and certainly faster than what I expected from this particular prepaid carrier's 4G network after I tested out the Samsung Craft, which was also a 4G phone. It's so fast, I haven't even bothered to connect the Indulge to my WIFI network at home. Yeah.
- Android 2.2. I don't really think I have to say anything about why this is a big deal. Basically, Samsung and 2.2 are not two phrases that you generally put into a sentence together unless some negative adverb like 'no' or 'not' is also in there. It does have Samsung's TouchWiz UI so that's something to consider. Some love it, some hate it.
- I'm slightly disappointed that the display is not a Super AMOLED display or even an AMOLED display. However, once you read the rest of the spec sheet, you'll find that this is basically a slightly watered-down version of the Galaxy S devices. Keep that in mind.
- On that note, I'm very disappointed in the camera. Three megapixels with no flash? I know we're going for moderate here, but I've seen featurephones with better cameras. At least give us a flash. Or a 5-megapixel camera with no flash. Either way, that feature definitely could have been better.
- The Hummingbird processor is buzzing along just fine so far. Pinch-to-zoom in the web browser is quick and had no lag at all. A quick Quadrant Standard test gave the phone a 1,030, slightly above the estimated score for the Galaxy S.
- I don't have any concrete thoughts on the physical keyboard just yet. There are some things I don't like about it and there are some things about it that don't really bother me, so I'll put it through further testing before I pass judgement on it. I will say that the keys are very flat and almost recessed in the plastic molding that surrounds each key. We'll see how/if this affects the performance of the keyboard.
- I've heard other reviewers say that battery performance wasn't that great with the Indulge. Since I just got the phone, I have no comment on this for now, but I'll be sure to keep an eye on it and comment on it in the full review.
- The phone costs $400. Yikes. More than anything, you're really just paying for 4G. Yes, the phone itself is great, but that's only worth about $300. Tack on an extra 100 bucks for LTE.
To summarize, I'm very impressed with the phone, but there are definitely some things that disappointed me. Are these things enough to make me not recommend it? Only time will tell. Check back in for the full review and see what my final verdict is.