on July 22, 2010
Picked it up Monday. Most impressive. Very responsive and has a slick design. Very pocket-able.
Let me tell you about my experience at the ATT store. This proves so well the love relation between Apple and ATT.
I went to check out the phone in store before I bought it and guess what. The display Captivate was not working. They stuck it in a corner turned off with a broken power plug; it was like on purpose. While the Apple stand was bright and shiny, with 3 impeccable phones and a big iPhone logo under a colorful projector.
REALLY !!! Really ATT, this is how you sell phones on the first week of release? I'm SO glad I got rid of my 3G. I was sick entire of the ATT-Apple shenanigans.
My impressions about the Captivate... 5 stars. But I'll still start with the cons (I'm a critic by nature)
- no flash on back camera
- the plastic on the back ( not the metal cover) feels too cheap. I would prefer a matte plastic.
- they removed essential apps for me like FM Radio. And they put the ATT bloatware
- touch buttons are hard to spot in the dark. I got to get used.
- GPS takes a long time to lock. This is a fixable software issue.
- Gorgeous screen - AMAZING !!!
- Fast and responsive
- Awesome design ( i just love that metal battery cover)
- Replacement battery (costs like 30 $)
- Android is generation ahead of iOS. You gotta try this.
- Open Android Market.
- Over the Air backup and OS Updates (hopefully ATT won't screw this).
OK. I'm gonna drop the rating to 4 stars until ATT/Samsung decides to fix the GPS lock issue.
on August 12, 2011
I bought a new-but-secondhand (i.e. someone else's warranty replacement, they'd already swapped for another phone) Samsung Captivate 897 in November 2010.
My first impression was positive: the bright clear screen.
But that's the beginning and end of what I found impressive about the phone. It gave me a tantalizing view of what mobile phones ought to look like in the distant future, but the present is just too primitive.
First, the worst: a few days ago I looked down at the phone and saw the screen faded almost to black, and the touchpad not working. I hadn't dropped it and there is no visible damage, so I can't tell what happened to it. The cost to repair: $165. I'd pay for the repair (or struggle with Samsung over whether as a second-hand unit it's covered under warranty), except that I just don't find it worth repairing. Here are the other less-awful things about this *fragile* phone:
* Everything the unit did was *slow*. Even the cheapest-of-cheap Android phones that I bought to get by since the breakage is faster. It would often take 1 to 3 seconds to respond to input. I had maybe a dozen apps installed on it: if it ran out of memory, it should tell me; I never could figure out the sluggishness.
* The camera lens is *raised* from the housing, where it's vulnerable to wear; it was scratched beyond usability within a matter of months, despite being kept in a pocket without any sharp objects.
* The Android 2.1 O/S is a work in progress in and of itself; the extra stuff AT&T adds to it adds up to a lot of clutter (and you can't remove it, at least not without rooting the phone which I never wanted to do).
For those of us on older cell-phone plans that can't be re-upped, we actually have to pay cold hard cash for our phones: this one certainly wasn't worth the big bucks it cost me, and I wouldn't even recommend this one on the freebie promotions being offered these days (you'll wind up having to pay cash out of pocket for any repairs it needs). Keep shopping, find something more rugged.
on April 7, 2012
My experince based on a Samsung Captivate (Galaxy breed) purchased at an ATT store on its release day.
Problems with GPS from day one... you may reach your destination before the GPS finds the location
ATT already replaced my first phone within 12 months of purchase because of some issues
Phone reboots itself intermittently
Phone stopped vibrating (hardware failure)... well, I already missed some important appoinments because of this... I am still under my 2 year ATT contract. Warranty doesn't cover the cost after 1 year
A thin layer of transparent coating on the plastic (near the edge of glass) has started peeling off
Speaker sounds too weak
Samsung support: Always responds quickly, but I keep hearing that "do that... do this" which resulted in a couple of factory resets and I ended up reconfiguring the phone for no reason. Finally, I hear from the service person "sorry you are out of warranty" (are you kidding? less than 2 years life for such an expensive device?)
What I like about the phone: The quality of the screen and touch screen response. Reasonable battery life.
Problem Summary: These phones are not built to last for more than couple of months for an average user like me. My 4 year old Motorola phone is still dependable.
My Next phone: HTC or Motorola (I am not a iPhone fan)
on April 15, 2012
I got my Captivate last fall, moving up from an LG Incite with Windows Mobile. The difference was like night and day! The Captivate is a very well-made, very ergonomic phone. It is quite rugged in design and after half a year of usage with no case or screen protector there is only one tiny scratch on the metal battery cover and one extremely small scratch on the screen. (As long as you don't keep the phone in your pocket with keys it should be fine. If you plan to keep it in a pocket with keys I'd invest in protection!)
I love that the Captivate has an internal SD card as well as the optional external SD card. This gives me more than enough space for programs and music. I'm not even close to using up the space on the phone itself and still have the option to get a bigger external card.
The camera works great outdoors (good lighting) but very poorly indoors. However, video works very well in either setting. I think if they had included a "flash" as some phones do then this wouldn't be such an issue.
on July 20, 2010
Was in the market for a new smartphone and stumbled upon this little beauty on CNET just one day before it was released. I had one year left on my AT&T contract and after seriously considering the Motorola Droid X on Verizon I ended up buying the Captivate instead (paying full retail price), and I honestly couldn't be happier with my decision. I'll try to condense this as much as possible since I have so much to praise about this phone so I'll start by listing some of its shortcomings.
First of all, this phone has a lot of design flaws that could have easily been corrected but instead needlessly hamper the user experience. This is a very common and frustrating trend in consumer electronics and is also the same reason why companies like Apple have been so successful since they know how to keep their products simple and useable. Things like having the headphone jack on the top of the phone (incredibly annoying when you're listening to music and have to flip the phone around every time you pull it out of your pocket) or, conversely, placing the power/lock key on the side of the phone when every other phone on the planet either has it at the top or on the front. The worst offenders by far, however, are the four touch-sensitive shortcut keys that Samsung insists on using for all their products. Why on earth would you use touch keys over physical keys when physical keys are more visible, more tactile, more responsive, and arguably look better too (touch keys in my opinion look tacky and uncomfortable to use). I can't tell you how much time I spend fumbling for the back and home keys either because the backlight only feels like staying on for .6 seconds, or because they don't always respond the first ten times I tap them. Touch keys are stupid and I hope manufacturers stop using them unless they provide some specific benefit or need. Lastly, the camera is pretty mediocre (my 2-year-old Sony Ericsson k850i crushes this in terms of picture quality) and the screen is also just the slightest bit lacking in the resolution department.
Having said all that, this phone does many, many things incredibly well. The super AMOLED screen has a real wow factor that's particularly evident once you fire up some videos or start browsing the web. Browsing itself is a joy thanks to the roomy four-inch screen and screaming fast Hummingbird processor that makes everything just fly. The Samsung TouchWiz interface is very solid I have no complaints and the Swype text-input feature that comes preloaded is amazingly fast and accurate. I'm very surprised it doesn't get more attention given how intuitive it is. And Android, what can I say, it's completely blown away all my expectations. The level of customization is unreal and makes the iPhone OS look like Windows 7 Starter.
All in all, I'm in love with this phone even with all it's design quirks. It's nice that AT&T finally gets not just a worthy Android phone but a supremely capable one at that. If you're interested in a new smartphone and aren't totally enamored by Apple, I encourage you to take a long, hard look at the Samsung Captivate. It truly is a sight to behold.
on March 10, 2011
Yes, the official version of android 2.2 was released in February 2011. Late, yes, but available through Samsung mini keyes (a download on the samsung web page). Android 2.2 is FAR better than 2.1. Not counting the little things, 2.2 is at least twice as fast and far more stable.
And don't forget that FROYO has flashplayer.
The Samsung galaxy S series (including the captivate) uses a hummingbird processor that is faster than the snapdragon (of the same generation).
Now to the review. I ordered two of these from Amazon. I was originally hesitant, as opposed to ordering directly from ATT. But, beyond the 30 day warranty each offers, all you can do is rely on the manufacturer. Amazon delivered promptly. Out of the two phones, mine has had no problems, while my wife's was glitchy and sometimes powered off by itself. Research online suggested no fix. We contacted Amazon, which sent a replacement before requiring the original to be sent back first--- far better service than I ever recieved from ATT online. The second phone started to glitch as well, but by this time android 2.2 was officially released.
After installing 2.2, the phone has become stable. I'm still watching it for any glitches, but it's been over a week without problems.
So, for the verdict? Ther are only three top of the line choices for android on ATT. If you want to pay $60-100 for the Inspire, vs the 1cent for the captivate, go ahead. The captivate comes with more internal storage, and a faster processor. Reviews suggest better phone call quality as well.The Inspire has slightly more RAM and a larger screen.
The captivate can do anything android can do with the best of them. Far more customization than IPhone and windows phone 7. I wouldn't trade a free captivate for a $300 iPhone 4 anyday.
Amazon offers great service and unbelievable prices. I have to say I've been impressed.
on April 26, 2011
I've had this phone for over 7 months now and I really like it. I used to have an iPhone and I prefer the customization that Android allows you. I do miss how polished the iOS software was. The iPhone generally just works and is easy to configure. Android apps occasionally crash like software on a computer might. My email crashes from time to time and Facebook crashes sometimes when I turn the phone on, but works after that. The phone is incredibly thin and light but solid feeling. The screen looks awesome and is very responsive to touch. The battery is also better than other Android devices compared with friends' phones. Bloatware from AT&T is not too bad. Sync with Google and Facebook is great, sync with MS Exchange is not great, but works.
No complaints about the user interface, however I am disappointed that Captivate has still not been upgraded to Android 2.2, which they said was supposed to be released in late September 2010, then end of the year, then beginning of 2011, and it still isn't here. My one other complaint is the GPS, which is practically unusable. They have known about this since it was released, released a patch that did not work, and still have not fixed it. I have read that it depends on the individual device how well the GPS works, but I have a feeling that anyone who thinks it works is really seeing their location through cell phone triangulation, which works ok. I now don't bother to try using the GPS.
If not for no upgrade to 2.2 and the problem with GPS I would give this phone 5 stars, but until those problems are resolved it stays at 4.
on July 5, 2012
When it works, it works OK.A bit slow with an annoying amount of lag. The big problem is with lock ups. Happened twice today. I seldom go more than a week without a problem.
The GPS works well. But the latest version is full of bugs. AT&T must know about this because you can opt out of the update.
Audio playback over bluetooth has some annoying pauses.
Audible.com audio playback is also a but buggy with occasional lock ups. And it will sometimes lose my book marks. Very annoying.
Voice dialing is very poor. Just about useless.
Oddly, voice recognition is pretty good. I use it for texting and email.
Hopefully the latest version III is more reliable. (The two is several years old). Still, I'm going to wait for the iphone.
Oh... yes... it works very well as a phone.
on May 20, 2011
With the Captivate's specs and amazingly gorgeous screen, it has a lot of potential, but unfortunately with poor quality control it doesn't live up to that potential.
I got my first Captivate in September. It dropped most calls after a period of about 30-90 seconds, and four out of five outgoing calls I attempted would not connect. So after a week, I took it back.
The second one had a bad radio or bad antennas, so most places where I should have been getting full signal, I got no signal at all. So on the very last day of my 30 day return period, I took it back.
The third one connects calls, but is incredibly slow and unstable compared to the first two. Apps crash for no apparent reason, and occasionally when I restart the phone it takes two or three tries to get everything to load correctly. (A couple of times I restarted and even after a few minutes had no apps in the apps menu.) Before the Froyo update (which came ten months after Google released it), I even had trouble with the software processes that manage the phone part of the phone crashing. The Froyo update fixed a lot of the random FCs, but not all; now it just hangs at random times. Over the course of the last couple of months, I've begun having trouble with the proximity sensor not working. The screen comes on while I'm in the middle of a phone call, which results in buttons on the screen being pressed by my face (usually mute, but sometimes it's the keypad and even End.)
I have had some problems with Ford Sync in my car (sometimes I have to restart the phone to force it to connect, and a lot of times it will keep playing music after I have turned the car off - especially when I'm listening to the radio and not bluetooth audio), but when it actually connects it works fine - I'm able to make and receive calls through Sync, and bluetooth streaming works with the steering wheel controls. (From reading on the Sync message boards, this is not always the case with all Sync users.)
On top of the major quality flaws, there are also some minor annoyances. I was surprised to find that some settings were different, and in different places, among the three individual phones I had, and in true Linux fashion, sometimes it takes a an hour or two of research to figure out how to change settings that should be straightforward and one or two taps from the homescreen. After the Froyo update, the screen no longer stays on and unlocked when the phone is plugged in, which is annoying when using the phone as a media player, and dangerous when using it as a GPS unit, because rather than being able to glance at the map quickly and back at the road, you have to actually turn the phone back on and unlock the screen. (The Widgetsoid app has a way to disable this, but it has to be done every time the phone is rebooted.) The music player app works really well for playing music, but there is no good iTunes-like way to synch music between the phone and a computer, so it has to be done manually through folders.
All that said, the calls (on one that is actually able to make calls) are just fine. The reception is good - on par with the iPhone 3G and Blackberry Bold 9700 I had before - and I can generally understand what people are saying. The camera is at least as good as my point-and-shoot, and the video quality is nice too (though not as nice as the iPhone 4's). And it has the absolute most beautiful screen I have ever seen in my life. Several of my friends and coworkers have Droid Xs, and their grainy, washed-out screens look just plain old in comparison, and compared to the Captivate's Super AMOLED, even the iPhone 4's "Retina" display looks a little bit sad. The brightness and clarity of the screen make it look about like the faked, pixel-less sci-fi displays, and earns this piece of you-know-what its second star.
Features: **** (4 stars out of 5)
Reliability: * (1 begrudgingly-awarded star out of 5)
Quality: (0 stars out of 5)
Screen: ************ (12 stars out of 5)
EDIT 7/3/11: The phone randomly buzzed a few times last night as I was going to sleep, and when I woke up the screen was what would pass for black on another phone (but is more like a dark gray on the AMOLED.) I had to remove the battery to get it to come back on.
It seems to be coming up with new annoying tricks every day...
8/27/11: It's gotten to the point where I treat it like an old Windows 95 computer, and just reboot it every day. Today it froze while shutting down.
8/28/11: The calendar seems to be having trouble syncing with my Exchange calendar at school. Some of my classes (which I've put in as repeating appointments) show up multiple times, some don't show up at all, and some show up multiple times only on the first day. A lot of good it does to have a smartphone that's supposed to sync with Exchange when it doesn't actually do so.
on June 6, 2012
My first Captivate was in the batch Samsung recalled for the power-off-after-a-full-charge issue. The second one has been great. I'm very disappointed in how long it takes AT&T to certify and release updates for devices (Gingerbread took another 6 months after Samsung OK'd it) but we have Gingerbread now (and that's as far as it will go on stock ROMs). I'm happy with the speed, the capabilities, the photo and video quality, and the speed (although multi-core CPUs are now taking over and are faster). My battery life is greatly improved since Froyo - I can make it to the end of the day with 30-40% battery remaining with normal/light usage while it used to be about dead by then with Froyo. Still a good phone if you don't want to pay $100-$200 up front.