Earlier this quarter we had quite a show of Android based phones. Our previous reviews for the Sprint HTC Hero, Verizon Motorola Droid, and Verizon HTC Eris have definitely drawn in a lot of interest towards Google devices. The Samsung Moment is the latest addition to the growing trend. This smart phone sports Android OS (v1.5) with both a touch-screen display and a physical slide-out keyboard. There was plenty to like, but read on to find out if Samsung did the Android right.
The Hardware – 4/5 stars
I was quite interested with the Samsung Moment since I first noticed the large display and the physical slide-out keyboard when it was announced. Initially it does appear to be bulky, but once you get handle it for a bit, it’s not too bad. It’s actually not that bulky and relatively light weight too (5.67 oz.) The Moment is coated with a metallic chrome finish that complements the black trim well. Sliding the phone’s keyboard out feels solid, however it is a bit flimsy when slid-out. The two different pieces wiggle slightly. I’m not sure if it was just my unit, but other slide out devices such as the Motorola Droid didn’t have this issue. On the front face you’ll find a physical Call and End button. There’s also the Home, Menu, and Back keys right above a touch pad. It’s a well appreciated alternative to the trackball found on BlackBerry and HTC devices. The optical joystick registers your finger’s touch just like a regular touch pad. I found it worked well and at times more preferable to use than the touch screen. There is a dedicated button on the right side of the phone that brings up voice recognition as well as the camera. On the left side there’s a volume rocker. I was glad to see a standard 3.5mm headphone jack at the top and a flash included with the camera on back. Overall, the phone is definitely a bit larger than other smart phones, but won’t make much of a difference when carrying it around.
The Display – 3/5 stars
The touch display on the Samsung Moment is a 3.2″ AMOLED (320 x 480) wide-screen. When I first used it, it looks just fine. It’s a bit recessed into the phone’s frame, but isn’t an issue. However, once you compare the display to an iPhone or HTC Hero, you’ll be in shock. The colors on the Moment has a blue tint to it while other phones seem to have much warmer colors. It’s still better looking than the display on Sprint’s most expensive device, the HTC Touch Pro2. The screen was slightly lacking in terms of responsiveness. I often had to flick panels or items slower deliberately for it to detect my command properly. The Android OS interface seems to run a bit smoother (less choppy) on the HTC Hero and the Droid Eris. I don’t know if I can attribute that to a display issue, a software bug, or a processor lacking, but it’s there. To sum things up, the screen just doesn’t have that vibrant spark that you sense when you first look at other cell phone displays.
Slide-Out Keyboard – 4/5 stars
Don’t get me wrong, I love my touch-screen device these days, but I often become frustrated with its shortcomings. I sometimes do yearn for the original speed and feel of that physical keyboard. On the Moment I was pretty satisfied with how texting played out on my fingers. The keys are for the most part well mapped out and placed. It did at first take me a while to get used to the bottom row of keys which were positioned slightly to the left. It doesn’t pose much of a problem but you’ll have to tuck your thumb if you need to hit the ‘Z’ or ‘X’ buttons. The keys are well-sized and offer a bit of an edge over a touch-screen keyboard that sometimes won’t register your keystrokes properly. Plus it’s easier to have the physical feel when multitasking and can’t keep your eye on the device at all times.
Camera & Camcorder – 3/5 stars
Something that was left out and that I was longing for with my current phone is a camera with flash to complement it. To that end, the Samsung Moment does oust my HTC Hero. The Samsung moment sports a 3.2 megapixel camera with auto-focus. I took some outdoor shots with the Moment and the iPhone 3GS. The Moment resulted with brighter images, but the colors were slightly washed out. While the colors weren’t as rich as with the iPhone 3GS, it still looked better overall. Unfortunately the viewfinder isn’t as snappy as the iPhone. When held side by side and panning in different directions, the Moment was clearly a fraction of a second behind. The inclusion of the flash definitely does help with dark shots. The largest problem comes in with the software. It lacks any custom settings or features. The only available options are to enable geo-tagging, choose Hi or Low for Video Quality, and enable Flash. There’s not even an auto setting for the Flash. There’s no custom resolutions for images either. Even cheap camera phones offer some special effects and settings, this phone doesn’t. I should not that, it does allow sharing images with web services, email and MMS. There’s also an image crop feature built in. Overall, there’s still a lot of room for improvement for Samsung to do with a future iteration of this phone.
Music, Media and Syncing – 3.5/5 stars
Music playback through the phone’s speakers as well as the standard 3.55mm audio jack both sound great. The jack is protected with a plastic cap cover which I found to be a bit annoying and cheap-looking, nonetheless it’s there. Especially seems like a small complaint, when they finally adopted a standard earphone jack. The Music app that comes with the Moment is fairly basic. There’s no fancy album cover flow features as found on phones like the HTC Hero/Eris. Graphic layout aside, it is easy to navigate through, browsing by albums, artist, and songs. There’s also the standard play all or shuffle all option. Music on the Moment functions well enough and audio quality comes in at an enjoyable level. Being that it is an Android OS phone you have the option of downloading more enticing music apps and services such as Shazam, Pandora, and Last.fm.
User Interface – 3/5 stars
Perhaps I came into this review with the expectation bar set too high , but after using the Samsung Moment‘s interface for a few days I began to appreciate the interface on my HTC Hero more. The Sense UI that HTC has customized Android is truly marvelous. On the other hand, the default interface on the Moment is quite bland. The only extra custom widgets are from Sprint and aren’t exactly too attractive. Some even look like 8-bit Nintendo era icons. Well maybe not that bad, but you get my point. There’s just not that WOW factor. That being said the phone does come with some extras. These include an Instant Messaging, Nascar Sprint Cup, NFL Mobile Live, Sprint Navigation, Sprint TV, and a few more. This aspect is quite neat since other Android devices from competing providers don’t include these features by default. I also did all my data syncing with Google this time around. I was able to instantly pull in my Calendar, Contacts, and Email from the ‘cloud’. The Google features worked smoothly.
Battery Life – 3/5 stars
Just like with my current HTC Hero I feel that the Moment is a bit pressed on battery life. The projected 5.5 hours of continuous talk time is a bit ambitious. I felt as though I reached a lot for the charger through my day-to-day tests. I would recommend having most services turned off when not in use (GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth). This will just mean not checking your email and Facebook updates as often throughout your day. Additionally, I would consider the option of investing a little money in a portable external battery to take with you if you do run a little low on juice. That being said, most smart phones are known for their horrible battery life. The Moment isn’t an exception. Even the famous iPhone 3GS gets rendered useless in no time.
My initial reaction to the Samsung Moment was definitely positive curiosity. After spending time over my week with it, to be quite honest there were definitely some shortcomings. None that would at all impede the average user who just needs a little bit more control over the features of their phone. The physical keyboard adds a nice functional flair to the phone and will be likely appealing to the heavy texting crowd. I know I voiced my complaint over the interface to be bit a little bit lacking as well as the battery life, but when it works, it does just about everything you want it to do. The display’s colors was a bit odd to get used too, but if you don’t have another device to compare it with, you won’t notice. The Samsung Moment comes packaged with Micro-USB charger, Headphones, and Micro-USB transfer cable and documentation. I would have to say that the Moment is a mid-range Android phone. It certainty isn’t as well designed as the Sprint HTC Hero. Even the Palm Pre offers a lot more for nearly the same price. Speaking of cost, the Samsung Moment will run you about $179 with a new 2-year agreement after a $100 mail-in-rebate.
DEAL: Samsung Moment for $80
Links: Sprint.com Samsung Moment
Phone is highly underrated the amoled screen is amazing probably the most amazing I ever seen on a phone extremely vibrant. If you want to customize it there so many widgets you can get off the android market & you can also get a home replacement apps like OpenHome or PandaHome to add more homescreens or themes and so on. If any1 is thinking about 1 i wouldn’t go by reviews id goto your local sprint store and test it out yourself. This phone is one of the most highly underrated phones I ever owned.
Have you tried the Verison Droids? You should. I know they are better!
Agree with njbianco, I believe the eval to be a little harsh. The one thing I was surprised about was that I was unable to directly Sync with Outlook. I found this to be a major short coming. I hope the 2.0 version of the OS is pushed out to the Moment soon, it is my understanding that this feature will be available in that release. Like everything else you need to just go and try it. By the way the Droid does not have a pull out keyboard, that was a must for my wife. Also the Processor on Moment is actually 800MHz compared with 528MHz on the Droid, the real question is if the programming will make use of it!!
Correct the Droid does have a keyboard!!
If you have Exchange or IMAP, you can directly get access to your Email, Calendar, and Contacts. It’s there for 1.5, but the Moto Droid which has 2.0 does it a whole lot better. And with Android 2.1 around the corner, things should get even better soon!
And it’s awesome to have a great processor, but that doesn’t mean anything if the software it’s running has been poorly designed. Unfortunately we’ve shipped out our review units of the Droids back to Verizon, so I won’t be able to do a side-to-side comparision.
You can however checkout our reviews of those phones on Skatter Tech!
This review is EXTREMELY harsh, and it’s all out of a skewed perception: “The Android OS interface seems to run a bit smoother (less choppy) on the HTC Hero and the Droid Eris. I don’t know if I can attribute that to a display issue, a software bug, or a processor lacking, but it’s there.”
This is just WRONG – or you had a bad phone. I’ve had two Heros (both bricked, btw) and a Moment. The Moment’s processor runs at 800MHz versus the Hero’s and the Eris’ 528MHz variants. The Moment’s Android performance SMOKES HTC’s. HTC’s “Sense UI” just slows everything down. You want choppy and laggy? Just ask most other people who have used one and read all the other reviews.
That’s really interesting. I wonder if the unit we received was a ‘dud’. I had a chance to play with the Moment after Jordan reviewed it. As I’ve also reviewed the Droid Eris and tested the HTC Hero, I’ve actually found those more responsive. For example, even that simple menu tab you drag open jittered and sometimes even lagged on the Moment. It didn’t even open at times. I’d have to wait then press on it again. And the HTC Sense UI, I actually truly liked. And I agree, if you use too many widgets, yes it will slow the phone down. The fastest of these are still the Motorola Droid.
But I’m shocked that the Hero bricked for you. It’s one of Sprint’s most touted phones. Were you trying to install a custom OS by any chance?
I was not trying to install a custom os or root the phone in any way. I just know that over time, the hero behaves VERY inconsistently. This is probably the best light to see it in. When it behaves as it “should,” all is roses. When it acts up, it’s at random and for seemingly no apparent reason at all. Many times I would “press” something on screen or the menu button to unlock the phone, and it wouldn’t respond for seconds – sometimes not at all. And hanging up from a call? What a pain in the ass. Poorly designed phone, and the Sense UI crap (I understand you like it) has to go, in my opinion? It just bogs down the phone. Poor little 528MHz processor. What will happen to him when he has to cope with Android 2.0 with Sense UI “2.0”??? Good Lord!
I have had the Moment since the day it was released. I love it more everyday! I can’t understand the majority of reviews being slightly or totally negative. This is a great phone and now that 2.0 is confirmed to be coming soon, I can’t wait to see how the 800mhz processor functions with it! My thoughts are that people will begin to change their minds about the Moment and the allmighty, overrated Droid will begin to slide down the list of most wanted Android phones. Thats just my take on the subject.
While I apologize for my eval being a bit harsh, I was merely being honest about how I felt after spending a good amount of time with the Moment. Whether or not our particular review model was a ‘dud’, it was perhaps unfairly and informally compared to some other Android phones available. Like Sahas said you can still go back and read our more in-depth reviews on THOSE phones. You guys all bring about some good points. Many of the UI’s shortcomings CAN be remedied with apps/widgets from the Market. And for most earlier Android devices out, 2.0/2.1 should bring about nice number of fixes to offset some of the shortcomings you have expressed. It is MORE responsive perhaps due to the faster procs and performances in certain applications because it doesn’t have the somewhat taxing senseUI found on the HTC Hero/Eris. Having a physical keyboard absolutely rocks – I just felt like Samsung could have done a better job on the UI especially since that is what I am navigating through a majority of the time! The web browser which I forgot to touch on is pretty much on par with the Hero’s -it hiccups every now and again but something that I approved of on the Hero is the ability to multi-touch gesture on the screen. But maybe I am spoiled by HTC’s senseUI. That aside the Samsung Moment is still a very solid phone. My best advice if you are still unsure if this is the ‘droid for you. Go to your local Sprint retailer and ask to test drive it yourself!
I tried the Hero for 10 days and now have the Moment – about day 7. The battery life – even turning everything off on the Moment is poor compared to the Hero. Mid-day I have to recharge. I went to several online forums and found some info to be helpful.
The Hero has a flashing light if you have new calls, the Moment does not. The Hero’s contact list – when integrating from Google works well – while the Moment’s fields do not match up and create havoc. Glad I keep backups. Hero’s contact list also lets you link to Facebook, while I cannot find this feature with Moment (not a big deal – nice feature – as you it then links the Facebook picture with the contact list – and that pic appears when friends call.
I really like the Moment keyboard – I had a hard time with the Hero touch pad. I would like to have a Hero with a keyboard – I thought that would meet my needs by switching to the Moment, but not happening.
Not certain what I will do – may go back to Hero before my 30 days. Any thoughts?
@Steve I wholly agree with you on the battery life comparison. Also, the flashing light indicator was something I sorely missed having on a phone. Personally, the Hero just seems to have a few more features in terms of contact/email/google sync-ups too that I found missing on the Moment. It was my understanding that HTC has always been pretty good about that sort of thing which is why I particularly enjoyed the default mail app that came with the Hero. Even if the hardware is slightly lacking when compared to the Moment and despite a few hang ups here and there – I am for the most part happy with senseUI’s presence. I am truly sorry to hear that your experience with it has been so unfortunate, @Kevin. When it works it IS all ‘rosy’ though as you put it. Also @Steve, to address the keyboard issue have you looked into an app that’s available on the Market called “Better Keyboard”? I’ve personally not used it but a couple of my friends have told me it is well worth the $2.99 asking price. Regardless, it probably won’t be as good as a real physical keyboard but there’s a suggestion nonetheless. In the meantime we’ll just have to wait and see if 2.0 brings about any major tells in these phone’s respective hardware specs… My intention with this review here was not to make unnecessary war between Android fans. We need to rally together here guys. Just sayin’. ;)
One thing you reviewers do not seem to take into account when harping on small nibbly features like the cover on the phone jack and the UI of some phones is the interaction between the phone provider, the phone manufacturer and the OS provider. In many cases, the manufacturer creates phones to spec. I believe that the Moment, the Instinct and the whole SPH-M series are all created for sprint to spec and are an evolving line that Sprint uses to target the mid-range customer. IT feels like a mid-range phone because it is designed to be one. Sprint in conjunction with Google DIDN’T want a cusomized UI. I am guessing (pure speculation) that Sprint won’t get a Nexus One. The Nexus One will go to AT&T and T-Mobile. The Moment and it’s brethren from Samsung will go to the CDMA Carriers. Since Samsung was willing to provide a bare Google Experience with better hardware, I don’t think we’ll be seeing the Nexus One released for CDMA. The Moment is just about everything that Google could ask for and I think Sprint is hoping for it to be a silent killer at it’s low price point and open nature.
how do i exit out of the music app?!?! i tried everything and it still plays!!! plz help!
Was interested in trying asmart phone other than the Iphone as the cell. coverage was marginal in my area. Checked out all the new phones and finally settled on the htc Hero. Loved everything about it. A solid compact phone with all the features I needed. Worked great for 2 weeks. Testing and email started to lag. By the third week, incoming calls went right to voice mail without any sign of an external ring. Did a reset and continued to have challenges with lag, battery drain and no external ring. Sprint customer service was great and supplied a new replacement htc Hero. Experienced the exact same issue 1 week later with the 2nd Hero. BTW I did not use any ring tones other than factory. After 2 major Hero issues Sprint replaced Hero with new Samsung Moment. MOMENT has been an ok phone. Larger and bulkier than Hero. Prefer Heros virtual keyboard. Moment seems faster. Havevbeen dissappointed with battery life. Just upgraded moments software 2 days ago and the upgrade seems to have improved battery life. Look forward to the droid upgrade this year..hopefully the android upgrade will fix the Hero bugs and Ill be back to using the Hero…..
Ok this is day 2 of having the samsung moment and I absolutely love it. I feel that the review was a bit harsh and biased. For one the screen of the moment has vibant colors that draw you in and not to mention the brightness. The keyboard is a life saver because now I dont have to worry about taking 20 minutes to text and then constantly backspacing because I pushed the wrong letter. There are all the apps there just like the hero there’s facebook, myspace, twitter you name it, this phone has it. The camera is amazing not to mention it has a flash and the quality is amazing. My one problem would be the sprint tv but when it comes to the phone itself its amazing.
After reading your review I would recommend a complete rewrite since many of your statements are completely false. The camera has all the features you claim it doesn’t have. Auto flash, night mode, etc. etc. The screen doesn’t have any type of bluish hue to it, the screen is nice and bright and vibrant when i seem to look at it. Maybe you had the brightness turned all the way down which does seem to make colors look a little washed out. The bottom row of keys are actually centered along the bottom of the slideout keyboard. The music app shows album covers for all the music you have as long as the picture for the album is actually in the album folder on the sd card. After reading your findings it’s actually kind of hard to believe that you actually used the phone as opposed to you looking at pictures of the phone and maybe reading some actual users comments and complaints to write your review. I am not saying that the Moment is an amazing phone, but in reality it is actually pretty decent phone considering the price, it’s a shame that it is already obsolete and won’t be getting the next android update.