Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Samsung Captivate: After Playtime Review

I love this phone.  There are still times when I say, "What just happened? Why is it buzzing at me?  How do I make the sounds go off?" but now I know why so many people practically have their phones glued to their hands...and not their ears.  The Captivate is awesome.  It is basically a mini computer that I can stick in my back pocket.  Well, sort of.  That is one of the major downsides for me.  It is so huge.  I feel like I'm holding a small notepad in my hand and definitely have to use two hands to navigate around.  Just in Nick's car alone I dropped it twice on our way to SF for the weekend.  I got a skin for it that has a little bit of grip, which helps a lot.  Other than that, this is a piece of technology I'm glad I finally bought into.  For as much as I complain about AT&T's service, there are some pretty cool features on here that I'm impressed that they are just giving away and not charging outrageous prices for.  Don't get me wrong, there are still a few built in applications on here that are on a pay-by-usage basis, but they must be pretty outstanding if you have to pay for them.  Here are a few features that I really like.  A/N: I am a new Smartphone user so other phones may have already done this, but I'm still in awe.

  • Navigation: This app comes on the phone and is totally free.  It basically turns my phone into a GPS.  It talks to me and everything!  I can view the directions in a list or the map and the recalculating/rerouting is really fast.  It also works hand-in-hand with Google Maps, which is useful.
    • Talk-to-text: I have had the phone for a week and I'm already getting too lazy to text.  All I have to do is talk into the microphone and it will translate my voice into a text that I can send.  This also works if I want to do a general Google search.  I can press the Google bar that is on my home page and say "Chicken recipes" and it will pop up with all the top links on Google as if you typed it into your search bar.  This feature is particularly handy for the Navigation app, as I can say my destination and it will find it for me and start routing me to the place. 
      • The downside:  You have to speak semi-slowly and enunciate very well otherwise it will make mistakes. 
    • TV Out:  The hole at the top that looks like a standard headphone jack is also a TV-out jack. This is function is one that I'm still squealing and happy dancing over.  All I had to do was purchase an RCA adapter cable for $10 on Amazon and I can watch movies from my phone on our TV.  Now, I know that you are probably thinking, well that's no big deal.  Most TVs nowadays come with USB and HDMI ports galore.  However, I live in a Chinese household and our family TV is pretty out of date and was purchased years before I had even heard the acronym HDMI.  So for me to be able to watch movies and TV shows from my phone with a simple red, white, and yellow cord, I'm ecstatic.  We have always had a problem in our family that my dad will want to watch a movie and Christopher and I will say, okay we'll download it. But then we can't get it onto a DVD because we don't have the programs on our computers to burn .mkv's and .avi's.  As a result, my dad never gets to watch the movies he wants.  Now, all I have to do is load the movie or show onto my phone, plug it in, and ta-da!  Movies!
      • The downside: It really does drain the battery on the phone, but luckily for me, we have a power outlet nearby so that I can have my phone plugged in.  Another downside, minor albeit but it is a downside, is that the cord for the RCA adapter is too short for me to be able to pause and start my videos easily from the sofa. 
    • Charger cable: The man at the AT&T store who sold us our phones told us that AT&T is trying to standardize their power cables.  This phone is included in that it uses a mini usb to charge.  This is great because that means that I can charge my phone through my computer, which saves me from bringing clunky chargers with me when I travel.  It also means that I can use any mini usb charger.  I've been able to use my Kindle charger to charge my phone and vice versa.  Also an added bonus, if AT&T is really moving to standardize power cords, that means that I won't have to buy anymore car chargers.  I've always hated how after I upgrade my phone I'm left with useless car chargers.  I stopped buying them after a while because I rarely use them anyway.
    • Expandable Data:  There is a Mini SD card slot in the back of the phone.  My blue phone had this too, but now it is actually useful.  Christopher bought himself a 32gb Mini SD for all his music, but I think I will stick with my 4gb.  The phone has the capabilities of being expanded to 128gbs but the largest Mini SD cards on the market right now are the 32gbs.  I have read that sometime in the near future Mini SD cards will be able to hold 2tb of info.  That's a lot of memory. 
    • Feeds and Updates:  This feature comes standard on every Captivate and you can chose to turn it on or off.  I have mine on.  I also signed up for a Twitter account just for these feeds.  I had been considering subscribing to an US Weekly or People, but now with my new Twitter account and feeds on my phone I can just follow Access Hollywood and save some money.
    • Camera: The camera on this phone is so much better than on my little blue one.  Now I can take pictures on the go for my blog without them looking horrible.  The camera also shoots video in HD, which I thought was pretty neat.
      • The downside:  Unlike the iPhone4, the camera doesn't have a flash.  The flash on the iPhone is pretty darn bright, and it would have been nice if that was included in this phone too.
    • Display:  All the reviews I've watched and read and people in-the-know whom I've talked to alway gush about the display.  I do have to admit that it is pretty impressive.  It is much bigger than the iPhone4, but since I'm not a game player and rarely watch movies or shows on the actual phone, I don't think I appreciate it as much as some.  The colors are really nice and the Navigation app is really easy to see on it though.  The AT&T guy was boasting about how the screen is made of Gorilla Glass and wouldn't get scratched easily.  I bought a screen cover anyway because I didn't believe him.  Plus, I had no idea what Gorrilla Glass was until Nick told me. Hey, I'm a girl.  Ask me about what nail polish brand I think is best and I'll tell you.  
      • The downside:  It makes the phone huge! ...Which I will stop complaining about now because it's not going to make the phone any smaller.
    • Tons of Apps:  I have already downloaded more apps than I know what to do with and there are still so many out there. 
      • The downside:  So far I have managed to stick with free apps, but I'm sure somewhere down the road I'll be spending plenty of money on apps for this phone.  
    Welp, I think I'm all talked out about this phone.  If I took a break I could probably come back and sing more praises, but for now this is all.  At first it was a little difficult for me to adapt to this phone, but Nick and Christopher ensured me that it really is quite user friendly and that I'm just not used to Smartphones. I was also worried that we wouldn't be able to hook our phones up to our macs, but with a little forum searching I was able to figure it out easily enough.  I highly recommend this phone to anyone who is ready to upgrade. 

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