Verizon Fascinate

This Verizon Fascinate review should have been an easy one. (And, yes, it should have been done some time ago.) It's the fourth version of the Samsung Galaxy S Android smartphone to be released in the United States. And for all intents and purposes, it's largely like the others (save for the keyboard on the Sprint Epic 4G, of course).

That is, until Bing came along. Look, we're not going to make this whole review about Verizon's deal with Microsoft to make Bing the default search engine on the Fascinate. That's a business decision. It's not one we agree with, and we're going to (mostly) look past it for the purposes of this review.

So join us after the break as we take a look at the Verizon Fascinate.

The hardware

If you've seen the other U.S. versions of the Samsung Galaxy S, then you pretty much know the Fascinate. Same 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, same 1GHz Hummingbird processor -- pretty much the same all around.


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The shell is pretty close to that of the T-Mobile Vibrant. That is to say the corners are nicely rounded and it fits nicely in your hand. We've said it before and we'll say it again -- a 4-inch screen is just about the sweet spot for high-end smartphones these days. The Fascinate is a just a smidge taller than the Vibrant and Captivate (AT&T). Thickness is about the same.

Verizon FascinateVerizon Fascinate

The right-hand bezel has the power -- we're quickly getting used to it being there on these new Samsung phones. Up top is the microUSB port (with sliding door) and 3.5mm headphone jack. They're in slightly different places than on the other phones, so you're not going to be trading cases with your pals. The left-hand bezel has the volume rocker.

Verizon FascinateVerizon Fascinate

There's nothing on the bottom bezel except for the slot with which you'll pry open the battery cover. Flip the phone over and you'll see the 5-megapixel camera (with flash this time!) and speaker port. Note that the bottom of the phone doesn't have the slight bulge that the T-Mobile Vibrant does.

Pry open the battery covery (hint: slip a fingernail into the slot, then move it sideways through the crease) and you'll find the 1500mAh battery. It's interchangeable with the other Galaxy S phones, which is nice if you're a bit smartphone schizophrenic like us. The microSD card also is accessible here, and you can swap it out without having to remove the battery first. That's a nice touch.

Verizon Fascinate

As far as battery life goes, we're pretty much able to get a day's use out of the Fascinate. We're not above plugging in our phones from time to time. But with mild to heavy e-mail and web use, plus the odd phone call here and there, we didn't have any real issues.

One little thing that may make a pretty big difference for some of you -- there's no LED notification light. How and why anyone would chose to go without one is beyond us. But there you have it.

The software

Turn on your Fascinate and you're greeted by the standard Galaxy S boot animation, with Verizon's logo thrown in for good measure. And if we haven't mentioned it before, these things boot pretty quickly. We're not talking that weird hibernation-standby thing you get in the new HTC phones -- just a solid, fast boot time.

Verizon Fascinate home screens

Once you're up and running, you've Android 2.1 with Samsung's Touchwiz user interface atop it. Touchwiz is a colorful as ever. You've got seven home screens on which to load widgets, apps, shortcuts and the like, and flipping through them is smooth and effortless. The Fascinate has the same launcher (app menu) as the other Galaxy S phones. And like the other phones (save for the Epic 4G, for some reason), you can rearrange apps, and swap out apps in the launcher.

As always, if you're not a fan of Touchwiz, you can install a third-party launcher. They work just fine, and the processing and graphical power of the Fascinate seem to handle things just fine.

Verizon Fascinate Apps

You've got a number of apps preloaded, including Blockbuster, the ever-present (but still pretty useless) City ID, Amazon Kindle, NFS Shift (racing game), Skype Mobile, Tetris, ThinkFree Office, Nuance Voice Commands, and a smattering of Verizon V Cast apps.

The Swype keyboard is preloaded and active by default, and you can change to the stock Android 2.1 keyboard if you wish.

The camera

The Fascinate comes equipped with a 5-megapixel with autofocus. And unlike a couple of its Galaxy S brethren, this guy's got an LED flash to light the way. Even if you never use the Flash, it's better to have it than not. The Fascinate has the same camera software as the Galaxy S phones, with the usual nine options for shooting modes -- single shot, smile shot, panorama, beauty, continuous, vintage, add me, cartoon and action shot.

Verizon Fascinate panorama shot

The still camera shoots at the full 5 megapixels (2560x1920) by default. You also can take pictures in "widescreen" mode, which lowers the resolution a tad, but pictures fill the phone's screen when viewed.

Sample images below open in a new window.

Verizon Fascinate sample imageVerizon Fascinate sample image

Verizon Fascinate sample imageVerizon Fascinate sample image

Video recording is accessed through the camera application -- press the camera button in the top right of the screen. You can choose to record either in full video mode, or MMS mode, so you can send videos to friends.

By default, the Fascinate records video at 720x480 resolution. You can crank that all the way to up 1280x720 if you wish.

The Bing thing

OK, let's talk about Bing. The Fascinate isn't the first Android phone to have something other than Google as the default search engine. Anybody remember the Motorola Backflip on AT&T? Nope? That's kind of our point.

Verizon Fascinate with Microsoft BingSo, yeah, the Fascinate has Bing. We've given Bing the what-for, and in and of itself, it's not a bad app. The maps work OK, the search is decent and the photo galleries are very nice. But it's just that Bing really has no more place as the default seach engine on an Android phone than Google does on one of the new Windows Phone 7 devices. But, alas, that's the deal Verizon has made with Microsoft. If it's not a "Droid" phone, it'll have Bing.

And our chief complaint isn't just that Bing is on the phone and is set by default. It's that there's no option to switch to Google, and that you the harwdare search button is slaved to Bing, with no way to change it without rooting your phone. Yes, Google Voice Search is on the phone as a standaline app, and that's good. But it's not enough.

Think of it like this: The little search box in the Mozilla Firefox browser has Google toggled by default. That didn't happen by accident. Money changed hands. There are other options (and Bing actually was just added), but Google is the default. Verizon should have done the same. Make Bing the dfault, but make it so you can toggle back to the Google services, which is a big reason why many of us rock Android in the first place.

The good news? You can rid yourself of Bing on the Fascinate, (mostly) with or without rooting the phone.

The wrap up

Verizon Fascinate

We said at the top of this review that we weren't going to make this entire revew about Verizon's Bing deal with Microsoft. And there's good reason for that. Save for the whole Bing thing (could it really be called anything else?), the Facinate -- like the other Galaxy S phones -- is a top-shelf smartphone. The screen size is just about perfect. The processor and memory are more than adequate.

Really, Bing's the only thing we'll ding the Fascinate on. OK, the Bing Ding Thing and the lack of a notification light. But, really, that's about it. A Froyo update is on the way. (No official date has been given, though.) And once it's up and running on the latest and greatest version of Android (at least until Gingerbread appears), it should remain a top-tier phone for some time to come, rightfully alongside the likes of the Motorola Droid X and Droid 2.

 

Reader comments

Verizon Fascinate review

50 Comments

Decent review. I had the Fascinate for just under 30 days as an upgrade from a D1 before bringing it back. Bing and no LED notification were more minor annoyances. The fact that the volume rocker was hidden while in the desk dock was a bit more annoying. The real problem for me was a GPS that was accurate, but frequently took up to 5 minutes for an initial lock using Google Maps. The reps at the store claimed it was because the SF is made to work best with VZ Nav (which you have to pay for), but that doesn't pass the smell test for me. In any case, it was a deal breaker after I had to exit the freeway, pull over, and wait for a signal lock before I could continue on to my destination using Google Nav. The GPS problem has been widely discussed in the forms and at least deserves mention in the review.

I've had my Fascinate 30 days, From AT&T to Verizon. LOVE it. No trouble with GPS. Google Voice Navigation works great. There are so many awesome things about this phone it would be impossible to name in a small space. I've had WM PDA's/Phones for 10 years and the difference is fabulous, no going back. Almost waited on WP7, but I'm glad I didn't.

Two issues really bothered me. The lack of LED notifications as with itsparadoxical and the screen blanking out. I downloaded two Market programs below, one is free, the other has a free version and a paid version.

As far as no LED notification, I use noLED from the Market and it works great. I use the icon notifications instead of just the colors. Thought it might drain my battery but doesn't appear to.

The other thing that bothered me was the screen blanking out before I was ready. I downloaded Screebl free version. I wound up paying for it because it was so good. The paid version didn't cost much and it's awesome. I can set the angle I like for reading, browsing, etc. I then set the time-out to the very least because as soon as I set the phone down I'm ready for it to turn off.

I'm totally pleased.

MsGadget13

Bing stole my lunch money.

That said, my fiancée got this phone and the first thing we did was download all the cool Google stuff and remove the Bing search and it took all of 10 minutes so... while I dislike the forced Bing thing, is it a deal breaker? Not in the least.

P.S.
Bing ran over my puppy.

Any review ought to mention that the GPS barely functions.
I hope the upcoming "GPS Fix" release fixes it, but seeing is believing.

That was my biggest gripe with the phone since I bought the phone on October 3. When I went into my settings, I activated my VZW location services and Google location services. Ever since then I've had no issues; it is currently locating me even when I'm indoors. Not sure if this is what is messing with everyone else's GPS, but it worked with mine.

Besides the Bing thing, this phone is great.

"the whole Bing thing (could it really be called anything else?)"

- I personally like to use the term "bing'd up", I believe it needs no explanation.

The "Bing" thing is a very big deal. Verizon removed top notch services and apps from the phone for no other reason than to satisfy a multi million dollar contract with Microsoft. Obviously, every corporation exist to make money. But it feels great when said corporation delivers a product tailored to my needs, and actually works hard to get my money. Verizon's attitude about Bing is simply "Oh well", they made the product inferior and could care less that we don't like it. It would be like going down to the BMW dealer, knowing the exact features a 325i should have, but major features are stripped from the car with no explanation and nobody at the dealership cares.

People are right to be upset about Bing on Android phones

I don't disagree, but since I was able to put Maps and all on the phone without having to root, what's the big deal? Yes--it's annoying and I don't like it. But it wouldn't stop me from buying a phone whose hardware I love. (And, really, I'd root anyway.)

Your right, I do think it is a great phone. I went into the Verizon store and swapped out all the Bing apps for Google and barely noticed a difference between the phone and other Droids. My main complaint is just how hard Verizon tried to force Bing on the user search button and all. The whole thing is stupid, as you pointed out, you can download what you want and avoid Bing like the plague. So, in the end you are left being annoyed. If they can't force you to use it, then why not give you the option to change it? (idiot executives who know less about their products than consumers)

It's a bit more like they are a radio station getting paid to play certain songs more than others. Who's to say which song should actually get more airtime? Considering Bing is a search engine, searching the same internet as Google, it's hard to say something like "it does not have search" just because search in your mind is only done by Google. Get over it, if you don't like Bing don't get the Fascinate, plain and simple. Those of us with one realize pretty quick that it hardly matters. If it wasn't Bing, whiners would just find something else to nitpick.

I am a little confused why there is no mention not only of the GPS issues, but call quality??

The forums have blown up about call issues with the phone. Some people complain about it, some people do not.....I would have been curious to hear what the reviewers thought of call quality.

I picked up the Fascinate with the echoes of "GPS broken!" forum posts in my head. When the sales rep handed my new phone to me the first thing i did was DL google maps (wow was it fast to download and install) and then find out where I was. Indoors it had no problem getting a GPS lock within a minute or two of first turning the GPS on. After that it has been instant every time I open maps up.

Rumors be damned, I am satisfied with the GPS. If yours is "broken" take it back to the store and raise a fit and they will replace it.

It's boring, it's just a clock with a Weatherbug bar below it. You can find nicer ones without resorting to shenanigans.

Okay guys, I went to Verizon to get the Droid X which was sold out everywhere at that time. I was talked into getting the Fascinate because it was "a much better phone" than the Droid X. The rep at the store also said that the battery life sucked on the Droid X (he had one himself) and wished he waited for the Fascinate. So I bought the Fascinate and spent 2 weeks with it. BTW, I had the original Droid and traded up for the Fascinate. Here are my findings:

1. GPS. Takes 5 to 7 minutes to lock on. Not happy with that.

2. Touch FLO. Hated it. Put Launcher Pro (full version)on it and I was able to tolerate the phone a lot better.

3. Contact management. The way the Fascinate syncs Google contacts differs from the way the Droid does it. For example, you cannot appy a personal ringtone for a contact if it was synced from Google. You can only do this if you create the contact locally on the phone. I also could not find a way to sync the local contacts created on my phone into Google. Second, the Droid allows you to forward contacts directly to VM by simply checking a box from within the contact. The Fascinate? No such feature unless you have third-party software.

4. Music. Playing podcasts, MP3, Pandora, etc through the Fascinate and you will hear "pops" and "skips" on all of your selections.

5. Weight. This can go either way. It is feather light, almost feels cheap. But you can put this in your shirt pocket and not have your pocket bogged down.

6. Touch screen home buttons. These buttons (Menu, Home, Back, Search) are touch screen only which is not bad. But they don't stay lit long enough (2 seconds top) so you find yourself fumbling for these buttons and there is no setting to make them stay lit for any period of time.

These are my complaints with the Fascinate. Now I will talk about the good things:

1. Boot up and speed: This phone is really fast. Boots up quick and launches apps, goes between screens, etc. High marks here.

2. Screen. Awesome. Even iPhone 4 (retina display) purists admit that this screen is bad ass. Very high marks.

3. Call quality/sound. The Fascinate has a great speaker and the in-call volume is very loud. Even with my bluetooth headset (I have a Jawbone Icon and Jabra Stone), I had to turn the default volume down because it was louder on the Fascinate.

4. Battery. Sometimes I get through a day, sometimes I get through half of a day. Really depends on usage (txts, apps running in background, etc). I don't expect the world from a battery powering a 1Ghz phone with FB, Twitter, and all sorts of widgets running. No complaints here, it is what it is.

5. Power controls (Wifi, GPS, BT) is accessible from the the pulldown status bar. Very useful since you can access from anywhere in the phone. Nice touch Samsung.

So after playing with the Fascinate after two weeks, I went back and got the Droid X, the phone I wanted in the first place. And guess what? I love this thing. It may not be for everybody, but it is for me. Why? I will share:

Size: I'm a big guy with big mitts. The Droid X is big masculine phone with lots of real estate. 4.3 inch screen. Done.

GPS: Locks on immediately. Within seconds. Done.

Sound: Not as loud as the Fascinate, but loud enough. And no skipping, pops, etc.

Camera: Droid X has 8mp. Fascinate 5mp.

Contact management: Droid X can do all of the things I complained about on Fascinate. And then some.

Motoblur widgets, etc: I like the professional feel and look of the Droid X compared to the "cartoonish" look and feel of the TouchWiz interface on the Samsung Fascinate. But that is just my personal taste. Yours may differ.

HDMI port: Droid X yes. Fascinate no.

Froyo. Driod X yes. Fascinate later.

Battery: Both phones use 1500mH. I really didn't notice that much of a difference in battery consumption. They were about the same. But Droid X also has an extended battery you can purchase for about 40 bucks. (I think it is a 1900mH). I have one and it does extends it out well past a day.

Swipe/Mulitouch keyboard. I prefer a hw keyboard, but I will say on the Droid X, I am loving this. Samsung is good too, but the keyboard is a tad smaller. (But of course I'm comparing the Droid's 4.3 inch screen size to the Fascinate's 4 inch.)

My conclusion:

I'm a serious power user and use my phone as close to a laptop as possible. I want a handheld production tool that will meet my demands. The Droid X comes pretty damn close. After having the original Droid and moving to the Fascinate, I immediately missed the features the original Droid had. After moving again to the Droid X, I got those features back plus so much more. And no I don't work for Motorola. I'm just a gadget freak who probably has gone through more cellphone than I care to admit.

I read a lot of reviews on gadgets which in my opinion only seems to scratch the surface and don't really put it to the test. I think if you are trying to decide between a Droid X or Fascinate, than this should shed some light on your decision making. I'm just saying...

That rep obviously liked the droid x because if you work at a verizon stand you get any phone for free whenever you like, and you can also switch phones whenever you want for free, and you get unlimited everything and its free :P

Just so you know,as a former Verizon rep, I can assure you that pretty much everything you said is incorrect.

-We have to pay retail price for our phones
-We do get discounted service on our devices, significantly discounted, but it isn't close to free. I payed $70 a month for an Android device and an air card. Service on the aircard was unlimited, as well as the data package and texting on the phone, but voice calling was limited and we didn't get all the other features for free either.
-We can't switch whenever we want for free either, we have a 30 day "Worry Free Guarantee" just like everyone else does.

If the (:P) was to indicate you were joking than just disregard everything I said.

I just can't get excited for anything on Verizon anymore. I absolutely hate Verizon, was with them for 9 years and don't miss them. I have an EVO and love it. Not to mention their 3g coverage is not what they say it is.

I went in to the Verizon store when it came out to look at it, with the possibility of getting one. I was wooed by its beautiful screen, but other than that, it wasn't all that. I also knew about the GPS issues, and was bothered by that AND the Bing thing.

Phil: Your review was more like an unboxing, or a cnet first look. You covered a lot of good stuff, but left out important things that should be in a review. Not a mention of call quality or the GPS issues.

I will tell you right now, I could not use the phone. I got it for my mom at Best Buy for free. It's perfect for her. However, trying to get it set up for her drove me crazy. I hate touchwiz. It's cartoonish, and the "dock" is too big. The icons are all square. It really looks like they tried to copy the iphone ewww. Not to worry. I put launcherpro on it and trashed bing. I got google set up for her and all is good...for her. I do not like the phone. It even looks a lot like an iphone. It's too light, making it feel like a toy. The cartoonish icons make it look like one. Bottom line, it was free and it was for my mom. It's her first smartphone, and she thinks she's the shit.

PS- Maybe it's just me. But, I think the screen is too colorful. I prefer my LCD -screened EVO, soon to be LCD-screened Droid 2.

PSS- The GPS sucks. Should have already been fixed. Call quality is just ok. Sound is not too crisp.

I'm just happy Verizon made it easy to determine which of their Android devices are "pure-breed" Google devices and which are "Bing Mutts" with the DROID prefix in the device name.Makes the HTC Droid Incrdible the easy choice.Or even waiting for the Droid Incredible HD.

I'm just happy Verizon made it easy to determine which of their Android devices are "pure-breed" Google devices and which are "Bing Mutts" with the DROID prefix in the device name.Makes the HTC Droid Incrdible the easy choice.Or even waiting for the Droid Incredible HD.

I love this phone. FWIW I get GPS in seconds, both in NYC and out in the suburbs.

I've gotten zero complaints about call quality too.

Sorry about that guys, the "submit" button wasn't working at first (or so I thought), so I hit a few times not knowing that it would repeat.

I've had my Fascinate for just over a month now and couldn't be happier! I guess I'm one of the few that actually like Bing and don't have a problem using it. I don't use search that often and when I do, Bing will bring up pretty much the same search results that Google will, so I don't understand what the big deal is. Regardless, the only other issue was not having an led notification light for sms, mail, etc. That was a quick and painless fix by downloading a free app called NoLED. It works perfectly and viola!, now I've got a notification light for text messages, mail, missed calls, etc.
This is one of the best phones on the market right now and once 2.2 is released on this bad boy, nobody will be able to compete. (at least not for a couple of months until the latest and greatest are released)

The battery life on my Fascinate is great. Mine lasts all day with moderate to heavy use and I still have 30-40% left by the time I get home at the end of the day. As long as you don't have a bunch of apps running in the background, the battery life on the Fascinate will last you all day no problem.

I don't know about you but I don't talk 4.8 hours a day on my cell. Maybe an hour or two at the very most. I don't know anyone that talks 4-5 hours a day on their cell other than my teenage nieces & nephews!

I've had the Fascinate for over 2weeks now and I love it!
My GPS is instant.
Call quality is great- have not heard one complaint.
The screen quality is outstanding.
And the things I dont like, I can change. Thats the reason I got this phone in the first place, because I can customize it how I want.

I had to choose between Droid X and Fascinate. I realize that Droid X wins on functinality but I went for the design. And I am happy with the phone. I am a heavy user and I have almost no complaints about this phone ...just one or two.... I do not have some of the major complaints that I have been hearing from other users.
The first one being the GPS issue, which has been non-existent on my phone. Perhaps, it varies from device to device. Some hardware issues here? I don't know. Anyways, I probably lucked out and got the one that did not have any GPS issues.
Secondly, I have never had any dropped calls ... and call quality has also been good. Samsung devices are known for poor call quality but this one has not given me any problems so far.
The Bing Thing was not a problem for me. I just removed it. Installed google stuff from the market and for the search widget, I god "universal search" widget from the market. Not a biggie but yes, it is a nuisance.
Battery life is not so bad but again it is not great either. But I am not unhappy with it.
I am not too unhappy with TouchWiz. I love Launcher Pro Plus but recently i decided to give TW one more try. The most of the TW widgets suck but I like their facebook (feeds) widget.

Complaints:
My first issue is with the volume of Google Voice navigation compared to media volume. It is too low. I came from BlackBerry Storm and the navigation volume on that device was awesome. I don't know what it is like on Droid X or DInc.

My second complaint is the absence of a dedicated or customizable softkey for camera. I don't like it that I have to get my finger on the screen to click on the shutter. Maybe there is a way around it that i am not aware of.

Overall, this is a great phone for me. And I am eagerly waiting for Froyo update - for flash, and also to change the text-to-speech voice to one with British accent (it's just one of my things).

My rating for this phone 9/10

Honestly this phone is much better then any "Droid" phone out there. Lets face it the D2 is slow. The Droid X is suffering right now from the Froyo update and it looks like its mama beat it with an ugly stick...in the face. The Incredible it good. But coming from an Eris I am a little burnt out on Sense and HTC phones in general.

That leaves the Fascinate. All the issues this phone has will either be fixed or are already fixable. It all comes down to who you are. Either a rooter or your not.

If you dont mind rooting then the following issues arent issues:

Bing
Verizon Bloat
Lag

If you spend 5 minutes of your time to root the phone you can fix all that. And run it rooted until Froyo comes that will fix that stuff.

The GPS issue will also get fixed. Just have to have patience or actually get a GPS. TomTom FTW.

Once those issues are taken care up why would you get a Droid?

I am going to get a Droid X because of the things you state here. The issues you talk about may be fixed in the future, but right now, they are issues. Don't get me wrong, I do think the Fascinate is a fine phone, but Froyo is not going to fix Bing or the bloatware.

The reason you get a Droid is BECAUSE it doesn't have all those issues. Who knows if/when a fix for the GPS will come? Why would I buy a Fascinate and spend another $200 on a separate GPS unit when I can get a phone whose GPS works?

The question is, why would you get the Fascinate when it has all those issues that need to be taken care of?

Let me tell you how terrible the Fascinates that I wife and I had really are.
1. Bing search would return about two relevant results and would stutter when it was opened because it needed to update it's stupid background picture.
2. I use OWA for my Exchange mail at work. It worked great. Yahoo!, on the other hand "couldn't connect to server." At all. Even after tech support and answers from blogs. Unless I deleted my Exchange account, of course, or downloaded an app.
3. Opened the "dashboard" app or (or whatever car navigation app comes preinstalled), it automatically launches VZ Navigator. That and the visual voicemail, they almost trick you into paying for that s*** at every chance!
4. Every social networking program seemed inadequate on the Fascinate.
5. The lack of an LED? You don't think you'll need it until you realize you missed an important call or e-mail an hour or so too late.
6. The connectivity to Wifi was poor. As soon as we got our replacement phones, we were happy to see full connectivity AFTER the phones walked us through syncing all of our other accounts (there was a lot of guesswork when setting up the Fascinate compared to the X and Incredible we now own).

Seriously, the list goes on and on. We couldn't tolerate the phones by the end of the 5th day.

I liked touchwiz a little better than sense except that any app you downloaded wasn't placed in alphabetical order. Swype was AWESOME and I miss that on my Incredible. On the Fascinate, a lot of the useful tools to turn on/off WiFi or GPS were in the top menu and didn't require the widget. The Fascinate also made it a lot easier to manage apps that were running in the background. The sound quality was also exceptional.

Rooting and all that stuff to fix the "little annoyances" and the BIG PROBLEMS? I'm sure rooting is loads of fun. But when I put spend a lot of money on a phone, I want the equipment to work. On its own.

This phone still has some serious bugs. Stay away.

I agree with smoke. I had it a short two days and it froze alot, gps didnt work right, felt very cheaply made (shake the phone the buttons rattle) took it right back and got the x no restocking fee. Nice screen though

Not bad but I'll stick to the Droid family of phones. The one sticking point is the Bing. I hate Bing. I had the Storm 2 and it was the search engine without the ability to choose Google or anything else.

Good phone but Bing did it in for me.

I'm so happy with my new unlocked cell phones! This has an unbelievably fast processor, great feel and easy to text on. I used to own a unlocked htc phones, but I'm so much happier with my brand new unlocked samsung phones. This Samsung Fascinate is so much better for my business and pulls my email in so much faster. And I really couldn't be happier with it since it is an unlocked verizon phones and it's a unlocked 3g phones I can take it overseas. My family loves my new phone and can't get enough of the games. I'm going to purchase another one for my son for his birthday from gsmauthority.com. Definitely would recommend this phone.

I purchased a Fascinate in trade from a Droid X - The X seemed to large and was like talking into Kleenex box. But - I welcome that day with the X. The Fascinate has had a constant Buzz in the upper speaker. I spoke with Verizon Tech Support and they stated it is a Know Issue with certain lot numbers (batches) from Samsung. Samsung has not made an official recall but they recognize the issue and have intsructed Verizon to warranty any phones with the problem. I exchanged one at the Store, then after that due to their shrink (Items lost, returned etc.) did not want to exchange any more phones for me. So I utilized the Technical Support through Verizon (you must use an alternate phone) and they are working with me to get me back to the Droid X. - Stay from the Fascinate or make sure it does not have the Speaker Buzz Issue BEFORE YOU LEAVE the store. Make a few calls while the phone is hot - There are two change outs you get. 1 is called the Worry Free - also called a M1 (Management 1), then tech support helps you with what is called a M2 (Management 2), and you have to put the money up at the price you paid for the original. So they keep your money while you return the old phone via Store (24 hour credit) or mail (7 day credit) to the card you pay with. Be ware - this is a KNOWN issue with these phones. MANY batches have the issue. If you exchange one, do it at a DIFFERENT store, likely many of them have been manufactured with this blown speaker in the upper ear peice. Verizon Clovis, Ca

I recently spoke to the samsung usa office in texas and they stated that nobody knew of the "buzzing earpiece" issue but they would submit the problem for review (yeah and the surgeon general wasn't sure smoking could kill you either ... BAH) got 2 of these phones thru vzw telesales in early october and they BOTH have the same "unknown" issue. Hmmmmm. Oh and my personal favorite vzw tech support suggestion "turn the volume down". Worthless, low-level, manual-regurgitating pawns. Sorry got a lil excited there :-/

this is by far the best phone on the market, i did my homework and am glad i got this gaming power house sporting the best single core GPU SGX 540. im a gamer so im glad no lag on games unlike every other phone with one core :)

Interesting to come back and re-read this review now that FROYO finally showed up last month for this phone. It brought a handful of problems and bugs, but this phone has held up pretty well in light of the slew of new phones coming out now.