"Considering Captivate over iPhone? Yeah, me too."4.0 starson by Soapboxhothead
Pros: Lovely screen. Surprising build quality. Snappy response. Solid call quality. "iphone like" UI (skin). Notification tray & customizable user experience. Choice of input keyboard options. Not in the hands of every tweener & dying-to-be-cool gork.
Cons: Almost total lack of Mac software support for loading & backup. AT&T bloatware. Weird combo power/sleep button. Slightly confusing interface. Lack of camera flash (small complaint)
Summary: Like maybe many of you, I'm a longtime Mac guy (my first was a IIc & actually still have my Newton!) & I've of course owned the original iPhone & more recently the 3G. All have been trusty companions that I dearly loved and still love using, BUT, it's time to upgrade the handset. Of course, I wanted the iPhone4, no brainer right? Well ... not so fast. Perhaps like many of you, I was a little underwhelmed by what the "4" had to offer. Sure, Apple made some improvements but in my final view, FaceTime just isn't enough to wow me besides being nearly unusable & the other changes, let's face it, were mostly about catching up to other smartphone offerings, no real game changers. THEN "antenna-gate" hit ... and along with it, very real concerns about call quality and inexcusably, more dropped calls than my 3G, which is bad enough as it is. AT&T's network issues notwithstanding, Apple just didn't do enough with this phone, so, it became time to rethink my next smartphone. A helpful young lad at my local "T" store suggested I await their upcoming GalaxyS phone. I'm glad I did. Believe me when I say I'd prefer to stay with Apple & preserve my investment in apps but it says a great deal when a very loyal customer decides on an alternative product and foregoes that investment. (Are you listening Cupertino?)UPDATE: It's been 2 weeks and I'm thrilled! So for those of you considering this phone alongside the iPhone4, I can give it a solid recommendation with a couple of caveats. Firstly, it's not an iPhone so if you're used to the Apple iOS then it will be familiar but nonetheless a little funky. Previous reviews are spot on when the say Android could use a little more polish. Setting up email accts was a little funky (with the exception of GMail) but expected, otherwise email works well. On the plus side, the phone works great. Syncing with Google services is carefree & a snap. Loading app's is a breeze but it seems Android doesn't vett all apps in the market to the same standard as iTunes, I've had a couple of apps that keep crashing/force quitting. Finally, I HATE the AT&T bloatware! This is the biggest complaint I have. If I don't want or need Navigator, Music, TV etc then I want the option to delete them & I certainly don't want 'em running in the background. Are you listening AT&T?
It bears noting that I rarely make technology decisions without researching the bejeezus out of my options so trust me when I say I've read just about all there is to offer on the Captivate. It's not perfect but it's also pretty damn close to being so & it's easily on par or better than the iPhone 4, truly. I've held both in my hands and messed with them for perhaps an hour at that same local "T" store. It's been a tough choice but I'm gonna go with the Captivate & Android. (I will post a follow-up review after a week or two of using the handset so stay tuned.)
Why I chose the Android powered AT&T Captivate over the iPhone4 ... in no particular order: I just can't get past the antenna issues & dropped calls with the i4. I just can't. This is supposed to be a highly engineered & evolved communication tool & you inexplicably botch something as rudimentary as it's antenna? There's no excuse for that & a free plastic bumper is NO solution. It just isn't. Moreover, Apple & AT&T claim to have closely collaborated on this phone to ensure maximum performance on the network and dropped calls are WORSE?! How is this possible? Yes I know it's a radio & subject to the vagaries of obstacles, terrain, humidity & bird flocks but c'mon, you couldn't even make a modest improvement? Hype aside, the i4 just isn't that compelling an upgrade from the 3GS. Sure iOS4 adds "multitasking", unified inbox and folders but you can run that on your old 3GS. Yes the Retina display is stunning & a 1Ghz A4 processor is welcome but again, these just keep pace with the market, nothing game changing. In the end, the i4 is just too much like other iPhones before it & it's my opinion it's best to sit this one out & wait till next year's effort.
The Captivate captured me (sorry) for a couple simple reasons ... larger and none too shabby AMOLED screen. The extra real estate DOES make a difference. Android OS. It's making huge strides in improving user functionality and innovation and if Apple isn't extremely careful & ups it's game, it will slip into also-ran status quickly. Yes, the funky skins mfg's place over Android can be clunky, cumbersome & a little confusing but in the end, you have many more options to customize & change your user experience to your liking vs. iOS4's locked-down approach. Moreover, the pace on innovation seems to be accelerating with Android, I sense we are reaching a real tipping point. Samsung has long made some excellent mobile phones & it shows in the simple yet crucial aspect of this phone ... call quality. Data scarfing and game playing aside, let's remember these are communication tools & the fundamental function of calling people is still a big deal. Call me old-school but I kinda like my phone to make calls without sending my blood pressure thru the roof.
Finally, maybe this is trite & a little arrogant but I'm tired of seeing the same iPhone I carry around in the hands of tweeners & gorks with their heads buried in text messages, twitter & facebook. If the phone you choose says something about you then what does it say when spoiled brats & loners desperate for attention are toting the same tool you use to run your life? Frankly I'd like to see Apple re-invigorate the aspirational image of the iPhone & raise the barrier of entry by bumping the price.
Updated on Aug 13, 2010
Updated on Aug 13, 2010Additional info: Here's the things I dig. Can't say enough about that beautiful SuperAMOLED screen! The camera & video work well. I love the choice of keyboards & I find the Android kybrd works best for me, & I dig the haptic feedback option. It's silly but I enjoy "live wallpapers". The notification tray is terrific! Helpful info at a glance as well as be able to turn things like wifi, BT and vibration on & off from the tray. Email is a little funky but I manage 5 separate accounts no problem. The OS is snappy & switching between apps is a breeze, nearly instantaneous (this will only improve with Froyo 2.2) and I think Samsung's TouchWiz interface is quite good. Finally, I love that I can load docs, music & other media directly onto my microSD card and manage them all from there. In the end, the iPhone may be easier to adopt but if you've had a couple smartphone's by now, I think you'll really enjoy the flexibility & the power of Android. Sorry Apple, I may not be coming back.