A few short weeks after checking out the Galaxy S line in New York City, T-Mobile's Vibrant and AT&T's Captivate are now available for purchase. With a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, the Vibrant's touchscreen is absolutely gorgeous (I was going to say vibrant, but refrained). Colors are crisp and rich, and overall picture quality is quite good. I always forget how much I love AMOLED and Super AMOLED displays until I get my hands on one and use it for a few days. The quality is stunning, and I enjoyed watching Avatar on the display. Coming in at 4.82 inches tall by 2.54 inches wide by 0.39 inch thick, and weighing 4.16 ounces, it's one of the lightest smartphones on the market. The thin profile makes it easy to slip into a pocket, glove box, or any other small space.
The Vibrant is spared from a bunch of exterior buttons. The left side houses the volume rocker, and the right side has the power/lock button. The top has the microUSB charging port and 3.5mm headphone jack. One of my favorite things about the device is the little "door" that covers the microUSB charging port on the top. Instead of a "flap" like most manufacturers use, it's a door that slides from left to right.
The phone ships with Android 2.1 and a custom Samsung skin. I have found the skin to be incredibly useful and unobtrusive. In terms of custom overlays, I still prefer HTC's Sense, but it's functional and quite useful. Like the myTouch 3G Slide, icons in the menu are in box format, with the ability to scroll sideways versus down (think iPhone versus vanilla Android).
The Vibrant offers a 5.0-megapixel camera, but no flash. Pictures taken during the day came out well thanks to the autofocus, and surprisingly, pictures taken at night were decent thanks to "night mode." That being said, I can see instances where the flash would have improved the overall quality of the photo, but after a few days of snapping pictures, I didn't miss the flash as much as I thought I would. The Vibrant offers 720p video recording, though I haven't had a chance to test it out just yet.
I spent the weekend working with the Vibrant in the Charlotte metropolitan area, and call quality was very good across the board. I used the phone as my primary device for the duration of the weekend, and didn't drop any calls. The earpiece on the Vibrant is one of the best I've used in recent memory. Call quality is absolutely fantastic, and my callers told me that they could hear me well. I paired a Bluetooth headset to the device, and call quality was equally impressive.
Despite the Vibrant's lack of HSPA+ connectivity (sadly, it's HSDPA), internet browsing has been quite fast. I'm still working with numbers, but the mobile CNN homepage loaded in about seven seconds, and PhoneDog's page loaded in just under 24 seconds. I've been unable to get conclusive battery life numbers, but it seems to be on par with most Android devices I've worked with over the past three months - good enough to get through a day with light use, but that's about it.
When I first saw the Samsung Galaxy S series in New York City, I remember thinking "man, these devices feel cheap." And perhaps after handling devices like the Nexus One, iPhone 4, and EVO 4G, one could understand why. But after a few days of use, I found myself appreciating the overall design and build quality. Despite the plastic nature, the chrome accents and thin nature give the Vibrant a high-end look.
Stay tuned for a full review, and check out our testing notes in the PhoneDog Labs for a more in-depth look at the Vibrant!