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on August 14, 2012
I really have to wonder why there aren't a lot more reviews of this very capable Samsung handset. Maybe it's because everyone else is too busy talking, texting, and surfing to write one! I spent a lot of time carefully comparing the vast selection of smart phones on the market, and 'auditioned' quite a number of instruments; including a bunch of Motorolas, Nokias, LG, Samsungs, and the famed Galaxy SII and the near legendary iPhone 4...which were also the two most impressive of the bunch. But I had major issues with both. While nearly perfect, the iPhone was just too limited in terms of 'fine tune'ability, and the Galaxy SII was just too large to hold comfortably, yet so thin I felt it might shatter in my hand at any moment. I realized that what I wanted was the versatility and features of the Samsung SII with its Android operating system, but in the smaller, more ergonomic form factor of the iPhone 4. And just when I was about to give up and go another two years with my pedestrian (but reliable!) Samsung Impression, on June 10, Samsung released the Galaxy Exhilarate i577 and solved my dilemma!
What's so great about it? Well, the ATT website covers the specs pretty well, but here's the short version. Despite it's quite affordable price, the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate (i577) is a very up-to-date and sophisticated device. Dual core 1.25GHz processors running Android 2.3.6, 4G connectivity, 1GB RAM, 4" SuperAmoled HD screen, Blue-tooth, lightning fast WIFI (with Wifi hotspot capability) 5Mp autofocus main camera with optical zoom and HD video plus a front mounted cam for video calling, Bluetooth, 32GB micro SD card slot, full GPS capabiliy, and best of all, you DON'T need iTunes to load and play your music and video collection!
Basically, it does everything the Galaxy SII does (and almost everything the galaxy SIII does) in a more solid and compact enclosure. Call quality is exceptionally good, reception is excellent, and it has the fastest Internet speed I've ever seen...26 Mbps downstream and 5.5 Mbps upstream (tested on browser-based to Atlanta GA and Chicago, IL servers) That's better than the SII, SIII, iP4 and for that matter, most 4 core laptop computers! It handles all the myriad Android applications with aplomb, and more importantly without lags or freezes on any of them, and being used to a 4 core desktop PC, I've tried some very demanding apps on my little Exhilarate. Top scores on all points. Battery life, the downfall of nearly every smartphone, while not the equal of the flip-phones of years ago, is quite respectable. It will go 3 full days on a single charge in light usage, and just under two days running it hard with long voice calls, frequent texting, and heavy Internet and app usage. There may be a better phone out there, but I guarantee you won't pay $30 for it!
Yes, I really love this phone!
About the only thing it can't do is rip and burn DVDS!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012:

The best smart phone for the money just got even better!
Samsung just released a FREE firmware upgrade to Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 for the Galaxy i577 Exhilarate handset, joining the Galaxy SIII on the short list of serious alternatives to the iPhone5!

2727 comments| 153 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 22, 2012
I had an LG Thrive for a while on a prepaid android plan with AT&T. It was a great basic starting android, but I found myself wanting something more.

I was contemplating getting a samsung galaxy s2 until I found this phone ebay. And I am SO happy that I did! This phone was just about everything I wanted and didn't think I could get in one phone!

First of all, it's the peeeerfect size for me! It's 4 inches, about .7 less than a galaxy s2, which I am SUPER happy about. I always felt that my friend's s2 was a bit too large for me, but figured if I wanted a phone of that quality, I'd have to just get used to the size. WRONG! This phone is the perfect size and has just as great of a performance as the s2, if not a better performance. Like a previous reviewer said, it's like a galaxy inside of an iphone, which I absolutely love! I'm not an iphone fan at all, but always loved the size/shape of them. Now I have the best of both worlds :)
And for those of you with smaller androids like my old thrive (3.2 screen), this phone will rock your world! Imagine finally being able to write a decent length text with your phone (in the vertical position that is) without messing up half your words! Simply fantastic.
I adore the feel of the screen too. Feels solid, and it's super responsive. Texting is pretty much a breeze. And, even though I thought I wouldn't, I'm getting used to the swipe keyboard as well.
In addition, this phone is crazy fast! My apps/games load very quickly and never stall. And thanks to something I found online, I was able to change some settings in my phone so my data could work with this phone on my prepaid account. It's so much faster than my 3G android (but that may have been obvious! haha).
The camera is a 5 megapixel, which isn't an 8 like the s2, but I really don't mind that much at all. I still think it's a great, clear picture. It also has a flash as well as a front camera.

If I had to find a con with this phone, it would be that it's a bit of a smudge magnet. But if you don't mind your phone looking a big smudgy, then you should be fine.
And the battery life doesn't seem as great as my thrive, but then again, I am using this phone WAY more than my thrive, so it's to be expected. With heavy use I get about a day out of it (excluding calling). With very limited use, I got about two days out of it before needing to recharge it, but my data was turned off (with help of a widget from the app store) for the majority of it. So battery life is decent.

Overall, I'm in love with this phone! I'm just hoping that I'm not totally jinxing it by writing this review!! Haha. If you're contemplating getting this phone, I would get it again in a heartbeat!
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on April 18, 2013
I love almost every feature of this phone, especially at this bargain price. First, the order came with the whole box, instruction manuals, battery and cover, and a bonus set of earphones. Set up took no time at all - you can use any gsm SIM card you'd like, and it is currently used prepaid. The display is beautiful, the device feels nice in my hand, the camera is really nice, the front facing camera a bonus. The phone is said to come equipped with Android OS Gingerbread; however it came with the more advanced version of ICS (Ice Cream Sandwich). From this seller, the price was less than the $200 margin - unactivated elsewhere would run you upwards of $350.
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on October 18, 2013
This review has less to do with the phone itself (which, if it weren't for the malware/spyware that is linked to this phone and ALL Samsung phones as well as other Samsung devices, like mp3 players, would garner a 4 or 5 star rating) than it has to do with the software program, Samsung Kies, that is required to upgrade the OS, and recommended by Samsung to sync the phone with one's computer files. The Kies software program unethically and without user authorization or awareness installs a malicious program/ActiveX control, called ContentSafer, manufactured by a Korean company, MarkAny. Once it's installed, there is no direct way to uninstall it. ( spyware or malware programs flag ContentSafer as malware, but it is, without a doubt, malware.)

This malicious program watermarks media (and other) files on the host computer then phones home and logs the watermarked information. It then compares that information any time the file is accessed. It's part of a DRM (digital rights media) anti-piracy program, but it goes so far beyond the bounds of anything related to the phone itself that it ought to be outlawed. In the absence of such a ban on this practice, the next best thing is to simply boycott Samsung products.

If you DO decide to go ahead and purchase this phone, DO NOT install Kies software on your computer. If you don't like the OS that comes with it, too bad -- you're stuck with it. Because even if there IS an upgrade, you can't do it without Kies. (Or you could make a full system image back up, install Kies, and pray that the buggy software even recognizes your phone and doesn't get hung up 99% of the way through the upgrading process, like lots of other users have experienced. Then you can enjoy waiting while you send your phone back to Samsung for them to unbrick it. But assuming you are able to do the upgrade, you then have to re-install the system image you made prior to installing this malicious junk on your computer to get everything back to normal, because as noted above, once it worms its way into your computer, there's no way to simply uninstall it.)

This situation is so outrageous I'm amazed that it hasn't been talked about before. But since it hasn't, I feel compelled to discuss it here. The notion that software for a phone I purchased would wreak havoc on my PC and alter files that have taken me over a decade to collect is simply unconscionable.

NOTE: I did not purchase my Exhilarate from Amazon -- I purchased it from Consumer Cellular, and the phone I got from CC came with the upgraded 4.0.4 OS. Consumer Cellular has since dropped this model, and while looking here at Amazon to get a backup I ran into the question of whether these phones come with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). THAT'S when I learned about Kies, installed it on my laptop in the event that a phone I purchased from Amazon needed to be upgraded, and that's when all the "fun" began. So hopefully by posting this review it will help others make more informed choices.

For a more detailed account of the problems caused by Samsung Kies, see what this software developer has to say:


Final Note: Depending on the proprietary watermarking system used, the introduction of an audio watermark (as opposed to Metadata information which is silent when added to mp3 files) could very well degrade the sound quality of music files. This is absolutely intolerable, especially considering that end users IN NO WAY AUTHORIZED this program to be secretly installed on our computers in the first place. It's one thing to buy a Blu-Ray player that has to have this kind of DRM/anti-piracy malware installed by law. But we've purchased PHONES. And they have NOTHING TO DO with the media files on our computers. And so to have this malware garbage come along and degrade our files is criminal.

Update 10-25-13: I did purchase a Samsung Exhilarate from Amazon to have as a backup since Consumer Cellular no longer sells/carries that phone. It arrived today. It came out of the box with the old Android 2.3 operating system. So I did a full system backup, installed Kies, and hoped for the best as far as being able to upgrade to 4.0.4. It took about an hour, and I was able, using Kies, to successfully upgrade the OS. This phone was recognized immediately (whereas my other Exhilarate was not), and it completed the upgrade process without a hitch. Now I will restore my system using the backup I made prior to installing Kies. It's a hassle to have to go through this, but at least the upgrade completed itself successfully.

With regard to WHY I chose to get a second Exhilarate rather than going with another brand...that's a good question. The answer is: I have 8 batteries and several other accessories that are compatible with the Exhilarate. Also, when I looked at other brands, there were very few that offered replaceable batteries, microSD card slots, and some of the other features offered on the Exhilarate. As I stated at the beginning of this's not the phone that's bad, it's the KIES software. So once I came up with the workaround noted above, it was sort of like "dealing with the devil" to make the best out of a strange situation. I would, however, never purchase another Samsung unless or until they stop this nonsense with their KIES software.
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on September 27, 2012
I have to tell you this is by far the best phone I have had. I just upgraded it Android 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich). This phone is very powerful with the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

The specs of this device is on par with some of the best(higher priced)smartphones. The only other Samsung smartphone I had was the Samsung Propel Pro (which by the way ran perfect for 2 years) and then I got a Blackberry 9810. The Blackberry was the worst decision ever. I know buying this budget phone (Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate) was going to be of quality but was pleased by how well it runs but absolutely stunned and surprised with the BIG BOYS upgrade (Ice cream sandwich).

What a great phone!
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on April 29, 2013
I was looking for an unlocked smart phone, because I was tired of always borrowing my husbands iphone 4. I wanted to stay with platinumtel (ptel), because I love their service, and save tons of cash using them, but I didn't like the selection of phones they had. After doing a lot of research I came across this gem. And gem it is. It blows away the iphone, both in speed, and screen size. The resolution may not be as high, but to my eye it seems very nice and crisp. I am not a gamer, I just want to surf the web, and get messages, and this really fits the bill for me. It accepted the ptel sim card with no problem, and in a few minutes it was up and cruising. Specs are ideal for ptel service, get all phone functions, and nice 4g speed. Both wifi and bluetooth connectivity is a snap, with no drop outs, or stuttering of signal. It definitely came with some crapware, so I may have to do my first root, but might not bother, since I am a noob, and might chicken out, plus it is running so beautifully, as is.

I don't know if my seller, MobileImage updated this to ice cream sandwich, but it was a nice surprise to receive it already updated. This phone is just fantastic, I cant believe more people aren't in on the joy. Thanks to those reviewers before me, you helped me make a great decision.
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on July 6, 2013
1st smart phone for the wife an I. We both are loving it. The price (150 @ Sears) scared me a bit. Two phones for half the price of just one of the newer top of the line babies? Yet this thing rocks. Along with Consumer Cellular's excellent performance,pricing,serve & no contract BS, it's a no-brainer if you want a smart phone without the stupid prices.
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on April 16, 2013
Sadly I dropped it and cracked where the digitizer actually connects the phone. It worked for about a month or so, and then the screen just stopped responding to touch. The phone still works, so I'm working on repairing if I can cheap enough.

I haven't looked at other reviews so this is my own opinion.

Pretty good camera
Very easy to use
Large enough screen with good resolution
Easy to text and receive messages/pics
4G lte was fast

Battery life! It did not last too long. Fortunately it charged somewhat fast, but still could hold a better charge.
One person I talked said my voice would cut out occasionally on the phone.

Basically it did everything I needed. Easy to set up and navigate. I have had iphones and other android devices, but I prefer android for phone use. I did not put any music on this, so I can't really speak to that. Although it does have extra storage space to purchase. The price was perfect ($50 with 2yr), I just wish more phones and parts for this phone were available online!
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on March 20, 2013
I cannot believe how well this device performs. For the money I would have expected mediocre performance. Connectivity is amazing. I'm so happy with it.
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on December 26, 2013
For the record, this is a complaint more or less. I ordered a "new" AT&T Samsung galaxy exhilarate rather than the refurbished one for obvious reasons and when i got the phone i realized it was a little different than the picture that was shown. Also, the fact that i own this exact phone and was buying this phone for my father. the differences were obvious. on the front at the top of the screen where the picture shows and as my personal phone shows is an AT&T logo and below the screen is the Samsung logo. this phone only said Samsung at the top and nothing at the bottom. so this could mean a few things. 1 this is a refurbished phone and not new. 2 this is an international version of the phone, still at&t but not the USA sgh I577 the picture shows. also the box was all weird and the battery is not the usual silver and black. its white and blue. also it did not work out of the box in the fact that i cant access the internet. only make calls so i have to register it with USA at&t. kinda lame.....but the prime 2 day shipping was great!!!!
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