"A much better *phone* than iPhone 4 (just returned)..."4.0 starson by bosbrucec
Pros: No dropped calls like iPhone 4 (mostly Apple's fault - I got a micro SIM adapter and had no dropped calls in same areas with my old LG Incite), much more flexible Android platform, amazingly cheap unlimited data / text plan.
Cons: Not the greatest (size, resolution, clarity) screen. Not the fastest CPU (some 3D games are unplayable). Took 36 hours before data connection with Virgin Mobile stabilized. Need to do some housekeeping with Task Killer to keep battery life up.
Summary: Having lived for 2 years with an aging Windows Mobile 6.1 LG Incite, I first tried the unbelievably brilliant Samsung Captivate (AT&T) and was thrilled with that except it has a well known extremely poor GPS receiver, so I decided to try the iPhone 4, which has a much better GPS and sharper (though much smaller and not nearly as good contrast) screen. I must admit the iPhone 4 was the pretties phone I've ever seen. But also the worst. Dropped calls on day 1 in my house, and continued to every day or two in various locations (BT stopped working, Genius Bar folks ran diags, said apps were running out of memory but they didn't know which ones, asked me to backup, reset the phone to factory and then restore - a messy hour long process, then BT worked fine but the piece of junk would freeze when a call was coming in so I couldn't swipe to answer!).
As I had only 2 days left of the iPhone 4 trial fiasco but Samsung still hadn't fixed the far better (IMO as a user who doesn't mind the flexibility/complexity of Android) Captivate GPS issue, a coworker pointed out he was going to consider the Samsung Intercept. I decided why not give it a shot as I wasn't that thrilled with AT&T (and am cheap so was trying to keep to 200MB/month for $15 on top of my $45 voice plan - difficult for the Captivate, almost impossible for the iPhone).
First experience wasn't great ... Radio Shack got the *phone* working but I had no data and couldn't even use it wifi for the first 24 hours, then had some intermittent data issues until it stabilized around 36 hours and has been fine since. Going to the smaller, lower res display and slower CPU wasn't easy, but at least I was happy to see the much more flexible Android interface again and very much liked the keyboard right away.
Though it is the case with most phones, this phone had particularly bad first-full-charge battery life, though got much better after the 3rd full charge, but would still barely make 8 hours if I had sync on both email accounts and facebook. I've since turned sync off (manual check required) and can now get 12 hours easily with ~40 mins talk, 1 hour web, 30 mins email, 30 mins game playing and BT on.
After the unexplained data teething issues (despite some calls to VM support), I've been quite happy with this phone. It is a bit fat, but a keyboard is such a welcome addition it seems worth it to me. I couldn't live with the iPhone 4 keyboard on a 3.5" screen, though I could have survived with the Samsung Captivate's 4" screen and Swype - but a real keyboard is a good step up in any case. Some 3D racing games are unplayable, but lots of games (Bonsai Blast, Labyrinth, Bubble Blast, Blow Up...) work just fine including even some 3D games like Winds of Steel.
Ability to stream Pandora music background is awesome, Movies is a great app for movie reviews and previews which stream in decent quality. (Youtube inexplicably uses very low resolution even on wifi here, so is barely passable). Skype works great though currently requires wifi to make landline calls (the hacked version allowing 3G calls crashes on all Samsung Android 2.1 phones FWIH and certainly didn't work here, but hopefully they'll hack the latest version). This phone, unlike AT&T Android phones, allows sideloading with no need to root (just a warning on the setting asking if you want to allow this).
The CPU / GPU is so slow that running Speedtest and other network performance apps returned extremely variable results. But I then tried the *highly recommended* "Easy Tether USB" app (free version - $9.99 if you need https ports), and visited speakeasy.net/speedtest from my laptop using the Samsung Intercept to get to the net. Not quite the 26 Mbps down I get from Comcast, but 900Kbps is pretty respectable for a low end cell phone data plan! Upload speeds weren't so hot, 60K-90Kbps, but certainly fine for sending small files (use wifi for big uploads).
In general, I think AT&T voice quality is a step up from Sprint (and Virgin Mobile using Sprint) /Verizon, but I can use Skypeout with wifi now and hopefully 3G later to get better qualilty), but I'd have to pay $70/month to get basically the same data+text plan on AT&T I get here for $25. And many people don't notice the difference (just like many don't hate the quality of XM/ Sirius like I do).
This phone does have limited memory for running apps, but I run the Advanced Task Killer which always shows me how much is free and I select certain memory/battery hogs to be killed from time to time (unlike iPhone 4 which, when out of memory even the experts can only recommend reboot and then reinstall OS).
I'd highly recommend this phone to anyone who is tech savvy and on a budget. It isn't by any means the prettiest or fastest phone out there, but it is among the most flexible and is far and away the best performance for your (phone+plan) dollar. I just hope Virgin doesn't quickly increase their data plan prices once they've got us hooked!