Verizon's Samsung Fascinate is the fourth Galaxy S device (shipping after the Vibrant, Captivate, and Epic 4G, respectively), and the last one to come to a nationwide carrier. It's available now for $199.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate (instantly when purchased online), and competes with the DROID lineup of Android devices. Like the other devices, it offers the beautiful 4.0-inch Super AMOLED display, 1 GHz processor, and a 5-megapixel camera (with a flash as an added bonus). That said, some Verizon-inspired changes and a few bugs make the Fascinate my least favorite Galaxy S device.
The design of the Fascinate is somewhat similar to T-Mobile's Samsung Vibrant, but it's slightly thicker and evenly distributed across the back. It ships in a box that's larger than the rest of the series. Inside, you get the AC adapter module, USB cable, instruction manual, and a 16 GB microSD card (installed in the phone), but no earbuds. The overall design is the same (volume rocker on left side; power button on right side; 3.5mm headphone jack and microUSB charging port on the top), but the battery door is slightly different.
The Fascinate ships with Android 2.1 and Samsung's TouchWiz user interface. It ships with Verizon's 3G Mobile Hotspot, Bing, Blockbuster, City ID, Mobile IM, My Verizon Mobile, Skype Mobile, V CAST (Music, Tones, and Videos), and VZ Navigator. Unfortunately, the Fascinate ships with Bing pre-installed instead of Google search, and there's no way to change it. Verizon also nixed Google Maps in lieu of VZ Navigator (which conveniently costs $9.99 monthly), but you can pick it back up in the Android Market. Verizon has since gone on the record and stated that Google search will be available with the Android 2.2 update, but that the search button will always default to Bing.
The phone has a 5.0-megapixel camera, but it's one of two (along with Epic) to come with a flash. Picture quality is quite good, though I wish that the device offered a physical camera button for autofocus purposes. You can access it by pressing the screen prior to taking the picture, but using a physical button often allowed me to better position the camera.
I've been working with the Fascinate in the Charlotte area, and so far, so good. Call quality is very good, and like the other Galaxy S devices, the earpiece is nice and loud. Callers have reported decent call quality thus far, and I've been very pleased. When driving through a Verizon dead zone in Northeast Charlotte, I was able to hold the call, despite a mile of choppy audio.
It offers the same 1,500 mAh battery, and with moderate use, I was able to make it about a day before the device required a recharge. For those that are on their phone regularly, an extended battery may be needed. Data numbers are still being tested, but early reports look good - I've consistently gotten download speeds in the 2,000-2,200 Kbps range.
I've noticed a few quirks while working with the Fascinate:
Check out my full Samsung Fascinate review.