Samsung Infuse review

The Samsung Infuse 4G is available from AT&T for $199.99 on contract and $549.99 without commitment.

Pros: Elegant body, glorious Super AMOLED Plus display, plenty of processing power, takes great stills and video, 1,700mAh battery offers sufficient life, AT&T’s first 21Mbps HSPA+ device.

Cons: There are very few cons to mention. Those that do exist are either trivial, or can be chalked up to a conflict of personal taste.

Introduction:

Samsung’s Infuse 4G is AT&T’s fastest HSPA+ device yet, with a 21Mbps limit for mobile download data. With a 1.2GHz single-core processor, it can’t compete with the ridiculously fast dual-core Motorola Atrix, but the horsepower under the hood is more than enough for the above average consumer. The trim body frames a stunning 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, which is the first feature you’re likely to notice. It is beautiful, and the materials surrounding it, while light, feel elegant. There is no question, when holding an Infuse in hand, that it is a decidedly high-end device. Infuse may not be a record holder in the specs department, but it is near the top of the heap, and at $199.99 on contract, you could do a lot worse with your hard-earned cash.

Software:

Infuse runs Android 2.2.1 at the moment, with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI on top. TouchWiz adds some useful interface elements to Android as well as some colorful gloss. However, it lacks the scheming and theming of HTC’s Sense. Those looking for deep customization will need to focus on the selection of home replacements that can be found in the Android Market. That said, TouchWiz does offer some polished and useful widgets that allow a personal touch.

The virtual keyboard keys are well spaced and make for easy rapid tapping in landscape and portrait modes. The blue/gray theming is subtle and sophisticated. The prediction is very good and will speed up your typing, used properly.

The Infuse 4G has been frequently been compared to Verizon’s Samsung Charge (full Charge review). But the similarities are more evident on paper than in the hand. The primary difference I’ve found in testing the Infuse–aside from the much more pleasing form factor–is performance. Where the Charge lags, hiccups, and stutters, the Infuse glides like butter. This is most apparent in managing and swiping between home screens loaded down with widgets. That extra 200Mhz that the Infuse processor has over the Charge’s makes a difference.

Hardware:

The Infuse is a thin, wide slab dominated by a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED Plus display at 480 X 800 pixels. Four capacitive buttons grace the bottom of the face, in Smasung’s preferred arrangement for Android: Menu, Home, Back, Search. Other than the speaker, the only other face feature is the front-facing camera: no LED notifications here. The power/lock button is on the right edge of the phone, and the volume rocker on the left. There is a 3.5mm audio jack on top and a microUSB port on the bottom.

On the back of the device, you’ll find a nicely textured panel that awkwardly peels away to reveal a 1,750mAh battery. Near the top of the back sits the sensor for an 8MP camera capable of 1280 X 720 video capture.

Under the hood, Infuse rocks a 1.2GHz Hummingbird processor that keeps the phone snappy. There is a 2GB microSD card included (with standard support for up to 32GB), and the phone has 16GB of built in memory. Approximately 2 of that 16 is used by the system. So at unboxing, you’ve got about 16 gigs to play with and fill up with music, photos, and video.

Camera:

The Infuse’s camera behaves like that of the Charge (see photo and video samples here), and probably shares a lot of the same elements. Daylight shots look great and low light shots aren’t too colored or distorted, as is the case with HTC’s Thunderbolt.

Stills:

Video:

Outside, Day:

Inside, Day:

Inside, Night:

Outside, Night:

Daily Use:

Relying on the Infuse 4G as a daily driver for a week has been a pleasure. That might be the first time this Sense fan has uttered such words about a Samsung phone, but there is no denying that Infuse stands out as one of the premier TouchWiz Androids available today. The Super AMOLED Plus display is one of those features that dramatically wows on first inspection, and the thrill does not fade. The phone performs admirably for calls and data, though AT&T’s HSPA+ speeds aren’t quite as impressive as Verizon’s LTE–at least in my area. Software performance is entirely satisfactory as hangs and stutters just aren’t an issue–it’s a different story with Samsung’s Charge.

One of the pleasant surprises Infuse has to offer is remarkable battery life. Even running Google music for close to an hour, taking several videos and photos, and using the phone regularly for text messages and phone calls, Infuse made it through the day without any low battery warnings. That isn’t say say that I couldn’t tax it more heavily, and we all can, but it lasts long enough for what I would consider an average to heavy use day.

A sample call is embedded below:

Conclusion:

The Samsung Infuse is a powerful and luxurious phone that can be had at a common entry price for lesser devices. It is currently available on AT&T for $199 on contract, and is coming to T-Mobile soon. So you’ve got your choice of HSPA+ network. Infuse is lacking very little from the reasonable shopper’s checklist, and it’s difficult to discount. In the end, the only suitable reason for recommending against a purchase would be a dislike for Samsung’s hardware stylings or TouchWiz. If you’ve already accepted or embraced these two design standpoints, Infuse will satisfy.

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