I thought I was going to have a couple of weeks before I needed to work on my Staight Talk Samsung Galaxy Review. Like I mentioned in my Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy Preview, the Straight Talk website (the only place you can currently order this phone) said the phones wouldn't ship for a couple of weeks. I guess 2 to 3 weeks in Straight Talk time is the equivaluent of less than one week of real time because mine arrived today!
I noticed on the bottom left corner that it says CDMA-S and the bottom right shows the map that says Nationwide Coverage on America's Best Networks. The support reps on Straight Talk's Facebook page have stated that the Galaxy will run on Sprint. All signs here seem to confirm that, but I'll verify once I get it unboxed.
Here's the code from the bar code sticker on the bottom of the box:
The box itself is pretty standard for Straight Talk with the flap that opens to reveal the phone and list more features.
Here are the features in case it's a litte small to read:
- 3.2" Touch Screen
- Android 2.2 (an older version of Android)
- 3g/Wi-Fi Connectivity
- 2MP Camera/Video Recorder
- Instant Messaging
- Hearing Aid Compatible (HACI M4/T4
- GPS Enabled
- 5 Home Screens
- Download over 250,000 Android Apps (Angry Birds?)
- Supports microSD card up to 32GB
- Gravity Sensor/Tilt and Shake
- Battery Talk Time up to 6 hours
- Stand By Time up to 9 days
- Includes Battery, Charger, 2GB microSD Memory Card, Activation Card, Services Guide, and User Manual
Did I just read that it comes with a 2GB microSD memory card?
It's time to unbox this puppy and see how it looks!
Yes, it comes with a 2GB micrSD card. I came in the phone, but I took it out for the pic.
It also comes with a usb cord and charger and all the standard Straight Talk pamplets (not pictured).
Here's the unbox video I posted on Youtube:
Tip: Read the instructions and activate on the Straight Talk website before turning on the phone. Otherwise, it sits there and thinks for a few minutes before it comes back and tells you it can't activate. Aside from that, the activation process went smoothly.
One of the first things I did was go to the Android Marketplace and download a free, though it has ads, version of Angry Birds. Success! It plays pretty well, but not quite as smoothly as on an iPhone.
Please excuse the lousy photography when I take pictures of the screen. It's hard to take a decent picture of a phone's screen, and the actual screen doesn't have those funny lines.
Here's a new video I made covering some of the main features of the phone.
So far, everything on the phone seems to work as it should, and I haven't found anything that's been locked down like is sometimes the case with TracFone, Net10, or Straight Talk phones.
Tomorrow I'll take a little drive outside of the Sprint coverage area to see if roaming works. <crossing fingers>
I did test of the Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy coverage area, and unfortunately I found that it does not do roaming. Once I left the Sprint service area, I had no voice or data service. Click here to read more about my test.
One thing I did notice was that the GPS worked fine even when I was out of the voice/data coverage area. It's too bad you can't use the GPS satellites for voice and data coverage! One issue was that Google Maps couldn't download the higher resolution maps as I drove along outside of the coverage, so I soon got into an area where the map was a little fuzzy.
Once I got back into the service area, I called home to tell my wife that we were on our way home. I asked her what she thought of the call quality with the Precedent, and she thought it sounded better than the iPhone. I don't know if that's because the phone is better or because it's using Sprint instead of AT&T, but I agreed with her that the call quality sounded good.
I've been asked several questions, so I'll pull together the answers here.
First, I've been asked a few times is I recommend this phone. My answer is that as long as you are OK with the Sprint coverage area, then I do recommend the Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy Precedent. Everything works as advertised, and having access to the apps in the Android market is a big plus. Sure, there are more expensive phones out there, but at $149.99 with no contract on the $45/month unlimited plan, I have no problems recommending this phone.
The Precedent does do 3 way calling. If you call the first person, then hit the menu button, you will have the option to add a call. That puts the first person on hold, and if you press the menu button again you can merge the calls. When you hang up, it ends the entire call and hangs up on everyone.
The text messaging is organized into threads, so you can see the whole conversation.
There is a Netflix app that you can download, but I found the playback to be a little stuttery, and it gets a buffering message every couple of minutes. Overall, the Netflix app isn't an enjoyable experience on this phone. Youtube videos, on the other hand, have all played flawlessly for me.
You can configure the phone to unlock using a pattern on a grid of 9 circles, or a PIN, or a password. If you don't configure any lock settings, then you just swipe a little unlock icon across the screen. Here's a picture of the 9 circles thing:
What you do is configure a pattern through the circles that you swipe with your finger to unlock the phone.
Tomorrow I'll write some thoughts about the voice recognition features, and I'll post the answers to more questions.
When I first received the phone, I had tested some of the voice recognition features, and found that the phone was surprisingly accurate in translating speech into text.
One place you can use voice recognition is on the Google search widget on the home page. You can touch the box to type in your search term, or you can touch the microphone icon and say your search term, and it will magically translate your speech into text and pull up the search results. Kinda cool!
Another place you can use the voice recognition is on the keyboard. That way you can say the words for a text message, or whatever other short sentence you might want to enter.
This had all worked great until yesterday, when everthing I said was translated into text totally wrong. After pulling my hair out for a while, I finally figured out that I had accidentally hit the button on the keyborard that switches the voice recognition from EN (English) to ES (Espanol). Note to self, speaking words in English produces weird results when your phone is set for Spanish.
The EN/ES toggle key is on the bottom row next the the SYM key, which brings up the symbols keyboard. It's all too easy to toggle your voice recognition into ES if you're not careful.
The microphone key to activate the voice recognition is on the bottom right of the keyboard.
I was asked today if the phone does picture text messaging. I tested that tonight, and it worked just fine.
I've tested the Android voice actions on the Precedent some more, and it's pretty slick. Here are the options:
send text, listen to, navigate to, call, send email, map of, go to, note to self, directions to.
But rather than me trying to explain how it all works, here's a video Google put out that explains how the voice commands work. They all seem to work as advertised on the Precedent.
One thing I learned from my testing is that the voice to text feature isn't very accurate when a four year old is doing the speaking, but a four year old will endlessly pester her daddy, and find it wildly entertaining, to let her say words to see what words the phone comes up with when it translates it to text. If you also have young children, you've been warned. :-)
The Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy Precedent and the Boost Prevail are physical close, so any of the Boost Prevail Accessories that you find will work with the Precedent. I do recommend a screen protector, because I have caused a few little scratches in the screen already after using the phone for 10 days now. The body of the phone still looks fine, but the screen has a few hairline scratches.
The Precedent does not have a proximity sensor, so when you place a call the phone locks. If you need to use the dialpad again during the call, or when it's time hang up, you press the power button to unlock the display. You can then swipe the dial pad slider up to show the dialpad, or you can swipe the end call icon across the screen to hang up. It's all intuitive, and I didn't find it very cumbersome.
I was asked if the wifi works, and I not noticed any problems with the wifi.
I was asked if you can change the wallpaper, and you can access several options when you press the menu button. One is to use one of your pictures on the phone or from your picasa gallery. You can also select from some images that come with the phone. There is also what it called live wallpaper, where the image can move and change. For example, the one I have now shows blades of grass swaying in the breeze and the sky changes from day to night based on the time. It's maybe a little gimmicky, but it's pretty neat.
Another question was whether you can upgrade to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). It looks like Gingerbread required a 1Ghz processor, and the Precedent has a 800mhz processor, so you won't be able to run Gingerbread on the Precedent.
This brings up another point about the fact the the Precedent is an entry level Android phone. Let me just say it: The Precedent is an entry level Android phone. If money is no object, then by all means go out and buy a new high-end Android phone or iPhone and sign up for a 2-year contract. If money doesn't grow on trees for you, however, and you don't care if you don't have the latest and greatest fastest whizbang bells and whistles phone, then I think you will find that the Precedent will meet your needs just fine.
More to come...
If you have questions about the phone that you want me to try to answer, please leave a comment!
If you want to order a Straight Talk Samsung Galaxy for yourself, you'll can go to the Straight Talk website and enter your zip code to see if it's available in your area.