Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Samsung Moment

In the world of Android, it's not yet clear who's going to come out victorious -- QWERTY sliders or their keyboardless brethren -- but does there really need to be a winner? We say there's room for just about everyone in this open-source party, and Sprint is starting to round out its Android offerings by introducing the keyboard-equipped Samsung Moment to saddle up alongside the HTC Hero that was released a few weeks ago. In the scheme of things, the platform is still extraordinarily young which means that virtually every new handset that's announced brings "firsts" to the table; in the Moment's case, it's both the first Android device with an 800MHz ARM11 core and the first Android QWERTY phone with an AMOLED display (you'd have to go back to another Sammy, the Galaxy, to find the first AMOLED Android phone regardless of input method).

In the year since the first Android-powered device came to market, there's been virtually no effort on the part of any manufacturer to release beautiful, solid hardware that captures the imagination of an aspirational, high-end audience the same way that an iPhone or -- dare we say it -- many modern BlackBerrys do. That seems poised to change with the Sholes, granted, but for the time being, Android has left users stuck with a higher ratio of wobbly plastic than perhaps any other platform (some might actually contend that webOS takes the cake there thanks to the Pre's questionable build quality, but for the sake of argument, let's restrict ourselves to platforms with more than one released device). The Moment doesn't make a lot of upward progress in this regard, but that's not necessarily a bad thing -- yes, it's all plastic and it's not particularly sleek, but what is there feels tightly manufactured. When the display is closed, there's less play between the two halves of the phone than there is on the CLIQ; pressing hard on the left edge gives you just a little creaking, but it's not a continual "tap tap tap" as the halves clank together when you're touching the display like we've seen on both the G1 and the CLIQ.

We observed something interesting in the course of fiddling with the Moment in our hands: even though it's no thicker than the CLIQ and only marginally wider and taller, it somehow feels significantly more imposing. We think we can chalk that up to three things. One, the Moment is a very square device -- a little like the G1 in that regard -- which means that it's more likely to take on a brick-like feel sitting in your hand than a large phone with more deeply curved edges. Two, it's got a soft-touch back, causing it to stick a little more in your pocket and contribute to the sensation of it being too thick; don't get us wrong, soft-touch plastic is almost always preferred to its hard, cold, unforgiving alternative, but it's just a little food for thought. Finally, the Moment's screen slides a bit higher than the CLIQ's, giving it pretty massive footprint when open. Put simply, we didn't find the phone to be too big by any stretch of the imagination -- but if you're on Sprint and you're upgrading from something like a Centro, the Moment's large-and-in-charge presence might come as a bit of a shock. For more Detail

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