When we first heard the rumors of a new Samsung Galaxy phone for Boost Mobile, we envisioned a handset very much like the Samsung Mesmerize for U.S. Cellular; in other words, the next clone in the black, ultraglossy Galaxy S line. To Samsung's credit, the Galaxy Prevail is its own phone, with a sophisticated--even elegant--design: a sloping screen, dark, metallic accents, and a soft-touch finish on the back and sides. The Prevail is Boost Mobile's second Android smartphone, and runs Android 2.2 Froyo.
The handset's more upscale fit and finish, however, belie the modest, even disappointing, specs, such as its 2-megapixel camera. On the other hand, the lower-end and midrange components make for a more affordable phone that's appropriate for Boost Mobile. The Galaxy Prevail costs $179.99 without contract; the $50 monthly plan includes unlimited voice, text, and data. The Prevail is also eligible for Boost's Shrinkage plan, which knocks down your monthly bill to as low as $35 after a total of 18 on-time payments (each set of six on-time payments lowers the bill by $5).
We'll go ahead and say it: the Samsung Galaxy Prevail looks like a million bucks. Its reflective black face is balanced by a soft-touch finish on the spines and back cover. In addition, the handset's face, sides, and back are bordered with dark gray, metallic-looking accents that give the phone polish. The screen curves downward at the top and bottom in a manner that invokes an "infinity pool," similar to the screen on the T-Mobile G2X and the LG Optimus 2X. The Prevail measures 4.4 inches tall by 2.26 inches wide by 0.47 inch thick, and weighs a light 3.8 ounces. We wouldn't recommend dropping it, though, as the face appears scratch-prone. Thanks to its glossy surface, the Prevail glides easily into pockets.
Despite its debonair, uptown appearance, the Prevails' hardware specs are notably midtown and downtown. It has a respectable 3.5-inch TFT display with an HVGA resolution (800x480 pixels). That's the minimum size for comfortable touch-screen navigation. The icons are sharp and the colors are appropriately bright. It's only when you compare the Prevail with other Galaxy phones like the Samsung Epic 4G with its knockout Super AMOLED screen that you see the stark difference. However, the Prevail's resolution is just fine for everyday use, and the screen feels very smooth under swiping fingertips.
Unlike most of its Galaxy brethren, the Prevail doesn't use Samsung's custom TouchWiz interface; instead it sticks with Android's original flavor. There are five home screens with the usual complement of widgets and icons, plus the three static buttons at the bottom of each screen that call forth the dial pad, the application tray, and the browser.
The app tray displays a vertically scrolling list of app icons on a black background. You can find more details on the Android 2.2 Froyo interface in our T-Mobile G2 review.
Beneath the display are four touch-sensitive buttons for the menu, home, back, and search. As with most Android handsets, search is powered by Google's default engine, but you can also extend your query to the Web and locally stored apps and contacts.
There is a camera shutter button on the right spine and a volume rocker and microSD card slot are on the left (the Prevail comes with a 2GB starter card, but can hold up to 32GB). The Micro-USB charging port is on the base, and on the top are the 3.5mm headset jack and the phone's power button. The 2-megapixel camera on the back has no flash, which leaves all lighting adjustments to the software.
If you're already familiar with the Android platform, there are few surprises in the Prevail's feature set. Android 2.2 Froyo is simple to use and brings with it the ability to view Flash content. Unfortunately, Boost Mobile has disabled Froyo's hot-spot feature, which usually costs an additional $20 to $30 on other carriers. Understandably, that helps Boost keep its all-inclusive monthly fees low.