T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant [Review]

No I’m not holding the new Samsung iPhone, it’s actually the T-Mobile Vibrant, T-Mobile’s latest and greatest Android offering. The Vibrant, like all Galaxy S phones has great list of specs:

  • 1GHz Hummingbird CPU
  • 800×480 Super AMOLED Display
  • 16GB Internal storage
  • 5MP Camera w/ 720p video capabilities

Once you get your Vibrant home from your local T-Mobile store, you’ll be greeted by the normal accesories:

You’ve got your microSD to SD adapter, USB to AC adapter, miniUSB data/charging cable and earbuds with multiple inserts to fit different sized ears. To get a more in-depth look at what’s in the box, check out our unboxing and first impressions of the Vibrant. But enough of the boring stuff, let’s get to the video review:

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Now that you’re familiar with the phone and what you get in the box, let’s talk about the performance. Simply put, this thing is a screamer. Its GPU simply chews up and spits out any content you can throw at it. Since it’s a Galaxy S phone, you can check out our review of the AT&T Captivate which contains all the performance benchmarks of the device.

As for what’s unique about to Vibrant in comparison to the Captivate, there are few different apps that you’ll get.

The first one that comes to mind is Layar.

Layar is an augmented reality app that uses your phones camera to overlay digital “layars.” Just check out their video:

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Now in real-world usage, I didn’t find Layar that useful. Maybe there’s just nothing interesting around me (lol, there is) but I just didn’t seem to get that much from the app. Maybe you’ll find a use for it, but I just wasn’t that interested in it, it really is more of a novelty than anything. But again, that’s just my opinion.

Next is GoGo in-flight internet.

GoGo in-flight internet is currently available on more than 3,000 daily flights in the United States and is available on the following airlines:

With your Vibrant, you get one free month of GoGo and you just need to register your device to activate it:

You’ve also got a copy of ThinkFree Office.

ThinkFree Office allows you to edit and view office documents:

Also unique to the Vibrant, is the My Account app.

The My Account app allows you to check out the activity, alerts, billing and plan & services of your device.

There is also the My Device app.

The My Device app gives you quick access to a few things on your phone. Namely commonly personalized features, quick tools, Tips & Tricks (even though there aren’t any tips or tricks present, check out our Galaxy S tips & tricks for useful info) and finally storage and battery.

The Personalization tab allows you to change your CallerTune. CallerTunes is the sound people hear when they call you. You get a free month and after that it’s $1.49/month after that. With this tab you can also change your ringtones as well as your wallpapers. (And there are a few T-Mobile exclusive wallpapers as well)

After that you’ve got quick tools, which they should’ve called battery tools because it contains all the adjustments that have a big effect on battery life:

Finally you’ve got the tips and tricks tab, which doesn’t actually contain any tips and tricks at all and the storage and battery tab which (shockingly!) gives you quick access to information on your battery and amount of storage on your phone.

Another unique app on the Vibrant is visual voicemail.

Unfortunately, this visual voicemail isn’t the kind you’re thinking of. The visual voicemail app on the Vibrant will not translate your voicemail from voice to text, but rather it gives you a visual listing of your voicemail messages:

Once you tap on a voicemail message, it brings you to a screen where you can delete the message (red button), change to speakerphone (yellow button), and call the person who left the voicemail (green button). Also if you press the Menu button on the phone, it gives you a few options to handle the voicemail message itself. You can reply as a text or voice call, you can forward the message to your gmail (as a .amr file) or as a multimedia message and the rest of  the options are obvious.

The last app which doesn’t need much said about it is Slacker Radio. Slacker is a subscription-based streaming music service that is either $4.99/month or $3.99/month when paid 12 months in advance. Obviously I didn’t touch much on Avatar or The Sims 3, but those are ones you really need to watch the video review to do them justice.

As for the camera on the Vibrant, it’s identical to the Captivate’s, so you can view our sample images and video here.

So all in all, the Vibrant is a great phone. The display is gorgeous, the CPU is fast, the GPU is incredibly fast and besides the low-light picture quality, I don’t really have many complaints about the phone. If you’re looking for a new phone on T-Mobile, the Vibrant is the obvious choice.

Pros

  • Gorgeous Super AMOLED screen
  • Incredible GPU power
  • 1GHz CPU
  • Camera (as long as you have enough light)
  • TouchWiz 3 (some people will like it)

Cons

  • Not the best battery life once you start using the CPU/GPU
  • Camera, pictures in low-light really aren’t that great
  • Looks like an iPhone
  • All-plastic construction makes it feel cheap compared to the metal-backed Captivate

Review by Scott Young

» See more articles by Chris Moor


  • http://mydroidlife.com Kerry Garrison

    I absolutely love my Vibrant with the only disappointment being the lack of flash on the camera. That was just dumb.

    Today I installed LauncherPro and I am loving it over the TouchWiz, its much faster and more stock Android looking.

  • JessSayin

    The ‘My Account’ app I had on my G1, not new at all.

    This phone rocks! Not having a flash is a drag but the “all plastic construction” makes it light, (118 grams) compared to the iPhone (135 grams). Feels solid to me.

    The one nagging omission both on the phone and mentioned in this article is the lack of an LED notification light. But a fix is in the works both by Samsung and by regular, creative joes like you and me to fix this.

    Buy it, I love it!

  • Tina

    THIS PHONE IS A PIECE OF CRAP!!! I HAD THE IPHONE BEFORE GETTING THE VIBRANT……… I MAD A HUGE MISTAKE BY LETTING THE T-MOBILE REP MAKE ME BELIEVE THIS PHONE WAS BETTER THAN THE IPHONE!!!! THE ONLY THING THIS PHONE HAS ON THE IPHONE IS THE SCREEN QUALITY! THIS PHONE IS VERY SLOW, THE BATTERY LIFE SUCK, EVERTHING U TRY TO LOAD THE FORCE CLOSE ERROR POPS UP! T-MOBILE IS AWARE OF THIS, IM ALWAYS ON THE PHONE COMPLAINING. IM BEING TOLD TO TURN THE PHONE OFF AND TAKE THE BATTERY OUT TO REST THE PHONE. WHY?????

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  • http://orangeseweranddrain.com/ Shine

    I would love to own one of these phones.

    • Aldo Abruzzi

      I have one for sale, $225 shipped to you. 215.469.1609

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    It looks really modern, classy and with lots of features. I like it. :)

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    Is Vibrant cheaper than iPhone?

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    T-Mobile Vibrant….cool!