Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nexus S 2.3.3 update adjusts screen's color temperature, we go eyes-on

We've been hearing reports about Nexus S' Android 2.3.3 update adding a yellow tint to the screen and even washing out its colors, but according to Google's Ry Guy, said patch is indeed intended to tweak the display's color temperature. Here's the full quote from Google's support forum:
"With your new OTA complete, you may notice a slight difference in the way colors are displayed on your Nexus S. For Nexus S, we have adjusted the color temperature settings to more accurately reflect darker colors at all brightness levels. The Gingerbread UI being darker, we found that the colors were not as accurate when the device was being used at lower brightness levels. For example, some users reported that the initial color temperature was too high leading to some darker greys having a reddish tone; with the new color temperature this is no longer the case."
So while this display tweak is well-intentioned, it looks like many commenters on both the forum and XDA-Developers aren't too happy with this. Being curious geeks that we are, we went ahead and manually updated our own Nexus S (and by the way, be sure to match your build number with the appropriate patch). As you can see in our comparison photos (shot with the same manual camera settings and medium screen brightness), the new overall color temperature is no doubt subtly warmer, although the dimmer brightness settings no longer suffer from the aforementioned red tone. Interestingly, we actually approve this change, and the Super AMOLED display certainly doesn't look washed out to us, nor do we see any noisy dithering that some have reported. Surely we can't be alone. Well, there's only one way to help solve this mystery: if you happen to be a fellow Nexus S owner who's applied this update, why not chime in below?

HTC Thunderbolt vs. Verizon’s iPhone 4

Once again we find our arch nemesis in the cross-hairs. Although the iPhone is still running the same hardware it started with last summer, it’s still a force to be reckoned with. Although I am Android-biased, as a tech enthusiast I respect the iPhone and will agree that it does have a lot to offer. However, we have an ace-in-the-hole, I’m not referring to flash capability, Verizon’s new HTC Thunderbolt is on the horizon.  Does the new HTC Thunderbolt have what it takes to bury this monster, or will we have to wait for a dual-core to emerge?
Apple iPhone 4 Quick Specs:
  • iOS 4
  • 3.5″ Retina display
  • 1Ghz Apple A4 processor (under-clocked to 800Mhz) with 512Mb RAM
  • 16Gb or 32Gb internal storage available
  • 0.3Mp Front facing VGA, 5Mp rear facing camera with auto focus and LED flash, 720p video capture
  • 3G Data speed
HTC Thunderbolt Quick Specs:
  • Android 2.2 Froyo
  • 4.3″ Super LCD display
  • 1GHz Snapdragon processor with 768MB RAM
  • 8Gb internal storage, expandable up to 32Gb via microSD
  • 1.3Mp front facing, 8Mp rear facing camera with autofocus and Dual-LED flash, 720p video capture
  • 4G LTE Data speeds

Samsung Galaxy S II Gets A Price And An Official Release Date

That dual-core monster of a device, the Samsung Galaxy S II, announced at MWC, has received an official release date of March 31st and a price tag of £599.99 (~$960) from UK’s site.  Keep in mind this is subject to change as most pre-release prices can do so.  We’ll just have to be patient, as time will tell.  The Galaxy S II is a device that I have had in my crosshairs for quite some time now.  The US of A is hoping for a graceful visit from this powerhouse of a device, soon. I would love to see Samsung do what they did with the original Galaxy S line, bringing it to each carrier in the US.  I’ll be crossing my fingers.   If you’re in the UK and you’ve been waiting generously for the device to arrive, then head on over to for your pre-order.  And hit the break for a list of special features and specs of the device so you can get your wow factor on.  

Special Features

  • Android OS v2.3 Gingerbread
  • Quad Band 850/900/1800/1900
  • Weight 116g
  • Dimensions 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.5 mm
  • Display Super AMOLED Plus capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
  • Gorilla Tough Glass
  • Multi Touch Input Method
  • Swype text imput
  • Vibration
  • 3.5mm Jack
  • Internal Memory 16GB/32GB storage/1 GB RAM
  • Card Slot microSD/up to 32GB
  • 3G
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct
  • Bluetooth vs3.0
  • USB
  • 8 MP, 3264×2448 pixels, autofocus, LED flash
  • Video Recording
  • Messaging SMS(threaded view), MMS, Email, Push Mail, IM, RSS
  • HTML Browser
  • Stereo Radio
  • Assisted GPS
  • NFC Support
  • Digital Compass
  • MP3/MP4/AAC+/AC3 Music Player
  • Organizer
  • Image/Video Editor
  • Document Viewer/Editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
  • Social Integration
  • Voice memo/commands

HTC Incredible S Now Available In The UK

The HTC Incredible S, the successor to the original Incredible, is finally available for purchase over at and The Carphone Warehouse.  You can purchase the SIM-Free device for £499.95 (~$800) off contract.  If you want to purchase it on contract, you’re looking at ranges from free to £319.99 (~$510).  The folks over at O2 and Vodafone are the only carriers offering the device on contract, however, O2 offers it for free with their £25 per month price plan.  Let us know what you think of the device in the comments below.
  • Sense UI
  • 4-inch Multi-Touch Screen (480 x 800 Res)
  • HD 8MP Camera With Dual LED Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
  • 1 GHz CPU
  • 1Gig of RAM
  • 1.3 MP Front-Facing Camera

Google Under Fire For Children’s Privacy Issue

Google is underfire again by the US House of Representatives Privacy Caucus. Congressmen Joe Barton and Ed Markey are disturbed by an entry form in a Google contest aimed at children called “Doodle for Google.”
To enter the Doodle for Google contest, the contestant’s parent or guardian needed to fill out a form which called for the child’s date and city of birth as well as the last four digits of their social security numbers. According to documentarian Bob Bowden in an SEO hungry editorial for the Huffington Post:
has been asking parents nationwide to disclose their children’s personal information, including Social Security Numbers, and recruiting schools to help them do it — all under the guise of an art contest
Bowden postulates in his editorial that Google is looking to collect data and possibly sell it to marketing companies. This data, according to Bowden, would be worth millions. He is probably correct but Google attests that they are doing this contest because “We love to encourage and celebrate the creativity of young people…”
Read more after the break

Bowden also seems shocked that Google would want the complete contact information from the parents, you know to contact them if their child wins the prize? Bowden seems to forget that Google is one of the biggest companies in the world right now and a child made Google Doodle to take the place of the Google logo on the main search page, would well, be worthy of telling ones parents.
Nevertheless the last four numbers of a social security number could be cause for concern. I mean it’s not like they can’t narrow down the right child based on all the other information provided.
Certainly Google is using some algorithm and a warehouse full of servers to take that child’s last four digits in their social security number and generate the other 5 numbers randomly, and spit out the correct numbers.. EVIL isn’t it.
It was reported later that Google was using the last four digits of the social security number to prevent duplicate entries and the city of birth to insure that the contest was limited to US citizens.
Google has since eliminated the requirement of the last four digits of the social security number in the online form.
Congressmen Barton and Markey released this joint statement
“We are deeply disturbed by recent media reports that Google may have engaged in sketchy practices with its Doodle 4 Google contest by collecting the social security numbers of children who participated in the contest. This is unacceptable…”

Samsung Galaxy S II To Hit Retailers In UK Next Month

TFTS is reporting that the Samsung Galaxy S II will arrive in the United Kingdom next month, a few months ahead of schedule. We first saw the Samsung Galaxy S II at their unpacked event at the Mobile World Congress earlier this month. Now, a UK cellular sales site said on their blog that it will be available in March and they’ve even started a pre-order page for it.
Clove’s blog site is reporting that the 32gb Samsung Galaxy S II will be available off contract for £590 which translates to $949 US Dollars (WHOA). The 16gb model is showing up for pre-order on their site for £510 which translates to $810 US Dollars (again WHOA).

Froyo Now Being Served To The AT&T HTC Aria

In a video interview on Thursday, the same day Samsung Captivate’s Froyo update went live, AT&T’s resident Android Expert, Dante Martin confirmed that Froyo would be coming to the HTC Aria soon. So soon in fact that he had it running on the HTC Aria that was in his pocket.  No one thought it would be this soon, but the update started rolling out midday yesterday (Friday)

You will need HTC Sync to complete the update and it can be downloaded by clicking here like a mini-kies update for Samsung HTC Sync is currently only available for Windows machines.

What you need to know is after the break

What’s NEW:
  • Android 2.2 (FROYO)
  • App Sharing – Allows you to share an application via Bluetooth, Friend Stream, Email, etc.
  • Google Search
  • Latitude – A service by Google that lets you see your friends’ locations and share yours with them.
  • Navigation – Google Maps Navigation is a Turn-by-Turn GPS navigation application.
  • News and Weather
  • Places – A Google service that makes it easy to search and find Restaurants, Coffee, Bars, Hotels, Attractions, ATMs, Gas Stations, and more.
  • Videos – Links directly to videos that have been taken with the camcorder.
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot and USB Tethering – Allows the user to use their Aria as a mobile hotspot for up to 8 devices or connect a PC using the Aria’s data connection. A separate data plan is required for this functionality.
What’s Changed:
  • PDF Reader has been changed to Adobe Reader.
  • AT&T Radio Icon has changed.
  • Navigator changed to Car Panel.
  • Photos has been changed to Gallery.
  • Sound & Display has been split up into individual categories under settings.
  • Factory Reset relocated to SD & Phone Storage

The Latest HTC Thunderbolt Rumor: Battery Life

Engadget is reporting on good sources that the problems with the HTC Thunderbolt delay are stemming from bad battery life.  When all delays are considered the HTC Thunderbolt is on it’s 6th delay to release at retail.
Although the Merge was never formally announced until today, that device first leaked back in August when and simultaneously leaked the first photos of the merge on August 5th. Just as an aside that is 6 months waiting on that device. The merge was even featured in a full double page spread ad for HTC in Entrepreneur magazine.
While we aren’t suggesting the HTC Thunderbolt will be delayed 6 months, the continued delays are hindering the belief in what seems like an awesome device.
According to Engadget’s sources the current battery is getting 2-3 hours at best with the 4G LTE radio on.  Our Verizon ninjas have told us repeatedly about problems stemming from the handoff from 3G to LTE and back. Another one of Engadget’s tipsters told Engadget that there’s a new firmware in the works to handle signal issues and battery life which are related.

Archos Arnova 8 and 10 tablets hit the bargain bin (video)

We know, Archos already makes fairly cheap tablets, but believe it or not, the company's going after an even cheaper segment with its new Arnova 8 and 10. The two have been popping up all around the web -- they stopped by the FCC earlier this week and there was an early spec leak from a Russian site -- but now we're finally getting some real details and hands-on impressions courtesy of Charbax, who is quite possibly the biggest Archos fan in the world. The $199 10.1-inch Arnova 10, which we have to say looks a lot like the Archos 101, packs a 600MHz Rockchip RK2818 processor, resistive touchscreen, 8GB of storage, and Android 2.1 -- but before you gag, know that there should also be a 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8 Rockchip RK 2918 / capacitive touchscreen version coming in April. Meanwhile, the 8-inch Arnova 8 rings up at $150 with the same processor and resistive touchscreen, but only 4GB of storage. If the cut corners don't faze you and you're in the mood for a closer look, we suggest you hit the break for some Charbax video originals.

Nintendo 3DS launches in Japan, populace tears through initial 400,000 unit shipment

You won't be able to snap one up at your local GameStop for a full month, but the Nintendo 3DS had a solid launch in Japan today, reportedly liquidating nearly its entire initial shipment of 400,000 spiffy stereoscopic gaming handhelds by the end of the day. Some of those sales were to customers waiting in a few lines up to 2,000 persons long, but those lines were exceptions to the norm -- several publications note that very few stores actually had any lines to speak of, as most Japanese electronics retailers sold out when the 3DS went on pre-order over a month ago. Get a refresher on what to expect from the system here (and here) or read all about the surprisingly orderly Japanese launch at our source links.

Update: Our friends at Engadget Japanese were on hand for the 3DS launch, and picked up a pair of systems themselves -- get a closer look at one of the first retail 3DS units in the gallery below!

Public Beta Of FullHDMI Released, Lets You Mirror Your EVO’s Screen On Your HDTV

Fellow EVO 4G owners, were you envious when Sony Ericsson demoed the Xperia arc’s full HDMI capabilities? Fear not – once again, the developer community has come to the rescue!
Android Central Forums user Orrebmas has developed a "limited time" public beta of FullHDMI, an app that lets you output any content on your EVO’s display to your HDTV. Yep, that means you can finally get your Angry Birds on in full, 50-inch mode.
Unfortunately, there are a few caveats. First, simply installing an APK file isn’t enough; to get FullHDMI up and running, you’ll also need to flash a custom kernel. Additionally, support is limited to Sense-based ROMs, eliminating compatibility with CyanogenMod and other AOSP firmware.
Performance isn’t fantastic, either. Due to some poor coding on HTC’s behalf, the Gallery app force closes about 40 seconds after being launched, and while 3D games run smoothly, the same cannot be said of their 2D counterparts. And thanks to image-enhancing engines like Insignia, some TVs display the content about half a second after it is shown on the phone, thus making games practically unplayable.
It’s quite obvious why FullHDMI for EVO carries a "beta" tag with it, but I’d say it’s worth checking out nonetheless – if you’re intrigued, be sure to download both the app and the kernel below.
Download Link (RAR file contains both APK and kernel)

Test Release of CyanogenMod 7 for the Vibrant

CyanogenMod is one of the most popular custom-built ROMs out there, and with version 7 they are bringing Gingerbread to more and more phones.  The T-Mobile Vibrant just got an official Froyo release recently, but the CyanogenMod team has got the beginnings of ROM for the Vibrant that, when finished and stable, will bring it Gingerbread in the near future, without waiting for the official Gingerbread release from Samsung.  It’s only a test build right now, so there’s still some work to be done, but this is an awesome team with a lot of experience at building these ROMs, so it’s safe to assume that it won’t be too long before they’ve got a solid build for you.  As always, we’ll keep you posted.

HTC Releases Source code for the HTC Inspire 4G

HTC is giving developers the chance to test their handy work by offering the source code for the AT&T HTC Inspire 4G up on their Developer Center. This should make it alot easier to root and get some sweet ROMs available much faster. I Guess it’s easier to start where someone left off rather than compile from scratch.
The HTC Inspire 4G is a 4.3 inch Android smartphone with Dolby and SRS Surround Sound, 8 megapixel camera with LED flash, 720p video recording, DLNA, Android 2.2, 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and 768MB RAM, running on AT&T’s 4G LTE network.

HTC Thunderbolt coming to Best Buy on March 10th?

We reported to you yesterday that the HTC Thunderbolt may be delayed past March 4th, but it seems we may have good reason to believe that it’ll be out by March 10th over at Best Buy judging by the pic above. The first line shows the HTC Thunderbolt available on March 10th through Best Buy Mobile in all stores.
Whether that came out after we heard about the March 4th delay from Twitter, or before remains to be seen, but we’re keeping our eye on it regardless!

Nook for Android gets an update – Barnes & Noble promise Honeycomb version in Spring

A couple of things to mention for the Nook app from Barnes & Noble. The first is that the Nook app has been updated to version 2.5 and includes a Wish List feature, a library Grid View, as well as a book download progress bar, cause Barnes & Noble knows hoe we LOVE to watch the progress of downloads and installations (kidding). The app will serve as a nice improvement for Android tablet devices around 7 inches and larger using the Library Grid View.
Speaking of tablets, here’s the second thing B&N has going down for us Android folks. We should see a Honeycomb version of the app coming out around Spring, which by my count, should be any day now, but maybe they mean ‘end-of spring’.

MLB at Bat 2011 comes to Android

MLB at Bat fans rejoice, because MLB Advanced Media has updated their baseball news app for the new 2011 year. MLB at Bat 2011 is now available in the Android Market for installation and features the following;
  • Customize At Bat’s home screen to feature your designated favorite team.
  • Favorite team icon home screen widget for one-click access to your favorite team’s At Bat 11 homepage
  • MLB icon home screen widget for in-progress scores around the league
  • Listen to available radio broadcasts of Spring Training games
  • Follow batter-by-batter action for every Spring Training game
  • Enhanced video library archive, searchable by player, team or keyword
  • Breaking news, schedules and interactive rosters and players stats for every team
The app will cost you $14.99 from the Android Market, or if you’re strapped and would rather test it out before you commit to the full app, there’s a ‘Lite’ version as well for Free available here with the following features;
  • Customize At Bat’s home screen to feature your designated favorite team.
  • MLB icon home screen widget for in progress scores around the league
  • Follow batter-by-batter action for every Spring Training game
  • Breaking news, schedules and interactive rosters and players stats for every team
To grab the full paid version, hit this link for the Android Market to install.

Verizon’s system showing HTC Droid Incredible 2 coming soon?

Well, well, HTC… you’ve been mighty busy. It looks like a tipster over at engadget got some juicy news, and they’re here to share it with you. After seeing the Incredible S, we knew it wouldn’t be long until we saw it in the states.
According to the screenies sent in by the tipster, Verizon is dubbing the device the HTC ADR6350, whereas another shows off the HTC63503, also shown as the “INCRD2″. Fortunately, it doesn’t take rocket science to put these together and come up with the Incerdible 2 coming to Verizon… eventually. We still don’t know about a date, but keep it here, and we’ll let you know as soon as we do.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

HTC Incredible S Ships In The UK With Froyo, Initially

Looks like our fellow UK’ers are getting a bit of an early surprise this week.  HTC has moved the launch date up a bit for the Incredible S device that we saw at MWC.  You can now order the device and get it fairly quick.  However, take note that the device will not ship with Gingerbread, but rather Froyo with a promise to receive Android 2.3 in the “near future”.  So, if you’re ok with that stipulation, then get your order on and let us know what you Brit’s think of the device in the comments below.  It definitely looks like an impressive piece of hardware.  Check out the specs below:
  • Sense UI
  • 4-inch Multi-Touch Screen (480 x 800 Res)
  • HD 8MP Camera With Dual LED Flash
  • 720p Video Recording
  • 1 GHz CPU
  • 1Gig of RAM
  • 1.3 MP Front-Facing Camera

Turn your Android device into a second monitor with iDisplay

This may or may not be the best use of your Android’s display ever conceived. That being said, it would look OK if you were using your laptop, and needed a second screen onto your newly purchased Motorola Xoom perhaps, taking advantage of its 10inch screen. This would be annoying for me to use on my smartphone, as a 4 inch screen just wouldn’t cut it.
The app is called iDisplay, and it’s been around for some time for Apple products, but it’s now available in the Android Market and will only cost you $4.99. It uses an app that needs to be installed on either your PC or Mac (sorry, don’t see any Linux support just yet), where you would enter the IP address of your computer onto your Android device so it can grab the streamed display.
Key features include:
  • Extend the display – spread the desktop over both displays and drag items between the two screens.
  • Duplicate displays – view the same desktop on both the monitor and the Android device.
  • 100% Compatible – works with the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Google Nexus One, or any other Android tablet or smartphone on the market.
  • Works in portrait or landscape device orientations.
You can purchase iDisplay by clicking here for the Android Market

Verizon Samsung Fascinate Review

Ah the final chapter of the Galaxy S lineup, the Verizon Fascinate. Verizon was a little late to the party with their version, but better late than never, right?
Anyway, the Fascinate is your typical Galaxy S phone, featuring that beautiful 4in 800×480px, Super AMOLED display, blazing 1GHz Hummingbird processor and roomy 16GB of internal storage. Another nice feature of the Fascinate that two out of the four Galaxy S phones don’t have (Captivate and Vibrant are missing this) is an LED flash for the 5MP camera.
That’s really the only thing different about the Fascinate when compared to the other Galaxy S phones (hardware wise) so let’s unbox the Fascinate and get this review started.
The Fascinate box differs from all of the other Galaxy S phones. The white portion of the packaging you’re seeing is actually a sleeve that goes over a rather attractive looking, Samsung-branded box:
Opening up the box, you’ll be greeted by Verizon’s newest Android phone:
So what lies beneath the phone? Let’s take a peak:
Everyones favorite things, manuals! And beneath those? Accessories! So here’s everything that comes in the box:
I find it odd that Verizon chose to not include the nice headphones that ship with the other Galaxy S phones or a microSD to SD card adapter (that doesn’t really bother me). Maybe they dropped those in favor of the 16GB microSD card that’s included with the phone? Most people will probably be ok with trading headphones for a 16GB microSD.
So now that we know what comes in the box (and what doesn’t) let’s take a spin around the phone and see how it compares to the other Galaxy S devices. The top and bottom of the phone are the same as the other Galaxy S phones, with the miniUSB port & 3.5mm headphone jack up top:
And microphone at the bottom:
Onto the sides of the device, you again have the typical, Galaxy S setup with the volume rocker on one side and power button on the other:
Onto the back of the phone you will find the 5MP camera with LED flash:
The Fascinate (like the Vibrant) has a plastic, glossy back-plate that is an absolute magnet for fingerprints. You can’t pick this thing up without leaving the back covered in prints. That being said, it does look good when it’s clean, with the pattern looking similar to the Vibrants:
Once you pop off the back cover of the Fascinate, you’ll find Samsung’s 1500 mAh battery:
As well as a location to attach a lanyard: (Something that every Galaxy S phone has, except the AT&T Captivate)
So now that you’ve read all about it, watch the video to see the phone in action, and some of it’s unique applications:
YouTube Preview Image


Is still broken. In my brief testing, it took the Fascinate 56 seconds to lock onto a GPS signal. My Nexus One? Three seconds. C’mon Samsung, get that Galaxy S GPS fix out already!


Like the Epic 4G, the Fascinate packs in a LED flash to go along with its 5MP camera. How much difference does a flash make? Well look for yourself:
Now let’s turn that flash on:
Obviously there’s quite a difference. However the one thing lacking on the Fascinate’s camera settings is a “Night Mode” setting. If you look at our Epic 4G review, putting the phone on Night Mode resulted in a better low-light photo that using the flash. For some reason however, the Fascinate lacks this feature.


The Fascinate does sport a few unique features on the software side. Like the Captivate and Vibrant, you can customize the TouchWiz3.0 icons, which is really nice. Just open your applications, then press the menu button and edit. Then just long-touch whatever icon (except home) that you want to replace.
The Fascinate is also the only Galaxy S phone to feature colored icons in the settings menu:
It also has a backup assistant, which will backup your address book and sync your contacts:
Probably the most-unique feature of the Fascinate is the restriction to Bing search. There’s no way (yet) to get the Google search widget onto the phone and Bing is heavily wired in:
The Fascinate also sports four different analog clock widgets:
And it has two digital and dual clock variants:
The Fascinate also comes with the Weatherbug, weather clock widget:
And to round out the unique widgets, we have the widgets for Bing, the program monitor and data plan usage:

Another unique Fascinate feature is the little gear next to the homescreen “dots” right under the notification bar. Pressing that gear will allow to you add or remove homescreens as you see fit. The other Galaxy S phones support this (except the Epic 4G) they just access it using the Menu key.
The final unique feature of the Fascinate that I would actually make use of is the Desktop Cradle setting. You get to this via the Applications launcher:
Obviously from here you can access your alarms, do a voice search, access your picture gallery and your music. It’s also a great way to keep your Daily Briefing widget displayed while on your desk. Note that the Daily Briefing mode in the desktop cradle supports portrait viewing, while the desktop cradle itself only displays via landscape.
In addition to the Daily Briefing mode of desktop cradle, it also has a night mode, that can be accessed by pressing the little Sun icon in between the Home and gear buttons. This will be very useful for those people who charge their phone at night and use their phones as alarm clocks:
Last but not least on the more interesting apps on the Fascinate is the My Verizon Mobile app. It allows you to view minute/data usage, how many text messages, as well as a ton of other info:
So besides the above features of the Fascinate, here’s apps that are included with the device:
  • 3G Mobile Hotspot
  • Allshare
  • Bing
  • Blockbuster
  • Car Cradle (puts most common buttons on the screen)
  • City ID (displays city and state of incoming phone #s, you can also search #s)
  • Desktop Cradle
  • Kindle
  • MobileIM (AIM, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo IM)
  • My Verizon Mobile
  • NFS Shift Demo, full version $9.99 (Needs to be downloaded & installed)
  • Skype Mobile
  • Task Manager (allows you to end running programs)
  • Tetris Demo, full version $7.99 (Needs to be downloaded & installed)
  • ThinkFree Office
  • VCast Music, Tones & Videos
  • Nuance Voice Commands (watch Youtube video for demo)
  • Visual Voicemail ($2.99/month)
  • VZ Navigator (Needs to be downloaded & installed)
So obviously, Verizon has crammed a lot of “extras” into the Fascinate. Personally I could do without almost all of the programs in the above list, but I’ll let you be the judge of how useful they are.


What’s a review without benchmarks? Everybody likes “bench racing” their devices, so that’s the purpose of these benchmarks. All of the devices in these benchmarks were running Android 2.1 except for the Xperia X10 which runs 1.6 and the Nexus One which runs 2.2.
First up on the benchmark block is Google’s V8 Benchmark version 5. This test benchmarks a devices JavaScript performance, mainly while web browsing. (Click on these graphs for larger, more readable versions)
Obviously the Nexus One with Android 2.2 runs away with this test. If you do a little snooping around the web you’ll find that pre-Froyo, the N1 was getting scores in the low-60’s. So to say that Froyo has a few performance increases is an understatement. I can’t wait to redo these tests once the Galaxy S and Droid X officially get Android 2.2.
BenchmarkPi calculates Pi, so it’s all about CPU power, plain and simple:
There’s a few interesting things to note here. One, the HTC Aria has a 600MHz CPU and it beat out the Xperia X10 which has a 1GHz Snapdragon. Chalk that up to the differences between Android 1.6 and Android 2.1. Moving on past the Samsung Intercept you have the Galaxy S (aka Fascinate) and the Droid X, these two phones both sport different CPUs, but run at 1GHz and they’re essentially neck and neck. Once again however the benefits of Android 2.2 can’t be ignored.
Next up is Linpack. The Linpack Score relies heavily on CPU performance and how it handles some of the interactions with the Dalvik VM in Android:
It really is sad how badly Android 1.6 cripples the 1GHz Snapdragon, barely beating the 600MHz CPU in the HTC Aria. Once again the 1GHz CPUs in the Fascinate and Droid X are neck and neck, with the Froyo-sporting N1 taking the cake. One anomaly that I can’t figure out is the Samsung Intercept results. Having such a low MFLOPS result should result in a lot more than 1.85 seconds. I re-ran the test multiple times and continued to get this result, so I’m not sure what’s going on there.
Neocore is an OpenGL-ES 1.1 graphics performance benchmark for Android devices. It shows off some of the techniques that are possible on accelerated platforms such as 1-pass light maps and bump mapping.
Here we can see the Galaxy S flexing its GPU muscles. Even though this benchmark is made by Qualcomm (who makes the 1GHz CPUs in the Xperia and Nexus One) the 1GHz  Hummingbird in the Galaxy S line of phones just screams. Any sort of graphical content just gets chewed up and spit out by the Galaxy S phones. The lowly Samsung Intercept couldn’t even run this benchmark, quite possibly due to it’s oddball resolution. As for the Xperia X10, it performs on par with the other Snapdragon phone here, the N1. Finally the HTC Aria held its own here due to the lower resolution of its screen in comparison to the other devices with larger screens.
The next benchmark in our tests is fps2d. Fps2D, like Neocore, is an app to measure Android’s frames per second performance. However, Fps2D, as the name implies, tests 2D performance rather than the 3D performance that Neocore tests.
Poor, poor, Xperia. Hopefully once you get updated to 2.1 you’ll be able to play with the big boys, in the mean time your hardware is squandered. The HTC Aria does fantastic at this test since it has the lower-resolution screen. The other phones are essentially neck and neck with each other.
Last but not least, we have the all-encompassing Quadrant benchmark. Quadrant is a CPU, I/O and 3D graphics benchmark.
Here again we see the N1 with Froyo take the win with the Galaxy S and Droid X left fighting for third and second place. As with the rest of the benchmarks, the X10 is crippled by Android 1.6 and is almost surpassed by the wee HTC Aria. Again, once the Droid X and Galaxy S line of phones receive Android 2.2 officially, it’s going to be very interesting to revisit these benchmarks to see how the scores change.


Well here we are, you’ve read the review, looked at the pictures and watched the video, so what do you think? The Fascinate is in a unique situation because without a doubt, Verizon has the strongest lineup of Android phones of any carrier, so unlike on AT&T or T-Mobile, where the Captivate and Vibrant are no-brainers, the decision isn’t so cut and dry if you’re with big red. Having to choose between the Droid clan and the Fascinate will require careful deliberation.
You really need to think about what you like to do with your phone and your personal tastes. The Droid X is a large phone, to large for many, so make sure you play with one before committing. That being said the 4.3in screen is huge. However the Fascinate ties or beats it in most benchmarks.
If you’re used to physical keyboards, then you have to determine if you can transition to touch-keyboards. In my opinion the touchscreen on the Galaxy S devices is excellent and very accurate, but it’s nothing like typing on physical keys. So if you can’t imagine ditching a physical keyboard, you’ll probably be better off with a Droid 2.
But if you’re looking for a “just right” size phone with a gorgeous display, accurate touchscreen and on the “for sure” list for Android 2.2 (and most likely Gingerbread as well), then the Fascinate is a safe bet. Sure it comes with a lot of bloatware, but I find it pretty easy to deal with those. Besides once this thing get’s rooted (which shouldn’t take long looking at how fast it happened to the other Galaxy S phones), removing those extra apps will be easy as pie.


  • Super AMOLED screen is still the best I’ve seen
  • GPU is a powerhouse
  • 1GHz Hummingbird CPU will only get faster once Android 2.2 lands
  • Camera (now has a flash!)
  • Desktop cradle app is great


  • Lots of extra apps that aren’t really necessary
  • Like the Vibrant, the plastic back of the phone is a fingerprint magnet, and feels cheap
  • No Google search!