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Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G: A Solid Phone For Android Lovers That Won't Break The Bank

The Samsung Galaxy Blaze Brings Android Goodness Without Emptying Your Wallet

If you've been in the market for Android phones, you'll often find that most recent choices aren't particularly pocket-size friendly. With the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, T-Mobile is offering a solution to those who want a solid Android phone that fits naturally in your hands.

Some may say it's a step backward for Samsung, which recently released the humongous Galaxy Note. But the Galaxy S Blaze offers decent specifications for the price (despite still running the old version of Android - it's a Gingerbread device), and is a great mid-range phone for those who prefer a nice, compact Android without breaking the bank.
  • Hardware: The Small But Vivid Screen And Grippy Case Design
Even though the Galaxy S Blaze boasts a modest 3.97-inch display, it's definitely more than enough if you're not looking to use your phone to replace a camera or entertainment center. The phone offers an AMOLED display, but is said by reviewers not be as responsive as those found on higher end devices. This shouldn't prove to be a problem for most users, but could be frustrating if you were to try to play a game like "Fruit Ninja".

While the Galaxy S Blaze has an all-plastic build, it's the back casing that impresses. Compared to the more expensive Galaxy S II, which has a shiny and slippery plastic back, the Galaxy S Blaze has a rubbery finish that makes the grip more firm. However, this does add a little weight to the phone, which some users may actually prefer this so that it won't feel like it would easily fly out of their hands.
  • The Camera
The Galaxy S Blaze boasts a 5 MP camera, which takes relatively nice photos on the go. It's got everything most smartphones these days should have: High resolution of 2592x1944 pixels per photo, HD recording capabilities, image stabilization, built-in flash, and auto-focus. It's also got a front-facing, 1.3-megapixel camera that takes decent pictures as well.

Testers said the camera boots up in about half a second, but the photos taken aren't as colorful as the screen display itself. Both outdoor and indoor photos can get a bit grainy, though if you're more well versed with photography you can try playing around with the balance and exposure levels and color filters like sepia or black and white.

Some of the other pre-installed apps include Netflix and Lookout T-Mobile TV, and with the 4G streaming power from T-Mobile, movies should play quite well on Netflix with very little buffering.
T-Mobile and Samsung say the Galaxy S Blaze is capable of up to 42 Mbps in speed. (That's really, really fast, by the way.) In testing T-Mobile's 4G network by streaming a movie on the Netflix app, testers found the screening to be smooth, fast, and without any odd pixelation. T-Mobile's network is said to handle it well, but didn't get close to that 42 mbps.

For mundane tasks like watching videos and downloading apps, the Blaze performs, but don't expect a mid-range phone like this to compare with its more powerful counterparts.
  • Battery Life
Tests showed that with 4G turned on and no Wi-Fi, the phone was able to run several free games for approximately 20 minutes each (despite the fact that free apps supposedly suck the heck out of your phone's battery life), receive e-mails, handle various Foursquare check-ins, read Twitter updates, make random calls and still finish the day without the battery level getting into the red zone.
  • Should You Buy It?
If you're looking for a compact, Android phone in the Galaxy S family, the Blaze is a good option for those who aren't looking to shell out more than $200 bucks for a new phone.

At $150 with contract, the Galaxy S Blaze is a mid-range phone with strong capabilities given its spec and size. While some of its competition includes the HTC Sensation 4G with an 8 MP camera, the Galaxy S Blaze blows the Sensation's battery life out of the water.

The lack of Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of Android, is a bummer, but hopefully with many smartphones receiving updates soon, the Galaxy S Blaze might just be on that list. No promises, obviously.

The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze is available exclusively through T-Mobile starting March 28.

Source : Samsung USA; Pocket Mobile