Without the Apple iPhone, T-Mobile has focused on providing customers a wide selection of Android phones. With their current HSPA+ network speeds topping out at a theoretical 42 Mbps, T-Mobile wants to provide phones that allow you to take advantage of these speeds and the new Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G (someone needs to tell Samsung to shorten up these names) slides in at the very affordable $119.99 price. You can check out a few photos of this new Android smartphone in my image gallery.
I understand that T-Mobile wants have devices along the entire price spectrum, but does saving $50 to $100 on the initial price of a phone really matter that much? Consumers should understand the phone they buy will likely be with them for one to two years so they might as well spend a bit more for a better device. The Samsung Galaxy S II is available for $229.99 ($110 more) and supports the fast 42 Mbps network. It is getting the Ice Cream Sandwich update soon and is a much better device than the Galaxy S Blaze 4G. In any case, if you only want to spend $120 for an Android phone, the Blaze 4G is a good choice.
In the box and first impressions
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G comes in the same kind of solid box T-Mobile has been using for some time with the glossy image of the phone on the front and main features listed on the back. You will find the Blaze 4G, battery, charger, USB cable, SIM card, Start Guide, and preinstalled 4GB microSD card.
The SGSBlaze 4G feels a lot like one of the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 series devices and is really quite solid. Most Android devices today seem to be sporting 4"+ sized screens, but the Blaze 4G comes in a bit smaller and feels nice in the hand. The display resolution is a bit of a disappointment to those of us who have HD displays, but it's not bad for a lower cost device.
Specifications for the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G include the following:
- 3.97 inch Super AMOLED display at 800x480 pixels resolution
- 1.5GHz dual core Snapdragon S3 processor
- Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread
- HSPA+ 42Mbps
- 4GB internal memory, 4GB microSD card in the slot
- 1GB RAM
- 5 megapixel camera with LED flash and 720p video recording capability
- 1.3 megapixel front facing camera
- Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi, GPS, NFC, and compass
- 1750mAh battery
- Dimensions: 4.79 x 2.48 x 0.44 inches and 4.5 ounces
WiFi Calling is supported on this phone and as you can see above it has all the latest wireless radios and capabilities. The display is a bit dated compared to high end devices and I am not a fan of new Android devices in 2012 launching without Ice Cream Sandwich.
Walk around the hardware
The Galaxy S Blaze 4G looks like a BlackBerry device from the back and appears to be built as tough as one of them. Like all touchscreen devices today, the front
is dominated by the display. The 3.97 inch size is just about perfect for a pocketable device and Samsung's Super AMOLED technology makes the screen bright and vibrant. However, the 800x480 pixels resolution can't compare to devices like the Galaxy Nexus or iPhone 4S. There are four capacitive buttons below the display and a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera on the upper left front.
The traditional Samsung power/lock button is on the upper right with a microSD card slot down below this button. The volume button is on the left, the microUSB port is on the bottom, and the 3.5mm headphone jack is on the top.
A 5 megapixel camera, flash light, and mono speaker are found on the upper back of the Galaxy S Blaze 4G. Below the soft touch, textured back cover you will find a large 1750 mAh battery with NFC capability.
Software and HSPA+ speeds
The Blaze 4G comes with Gingerbread and Samsung TouchWIZ UI. There are a TON of preloaded apps and utilities, much more than I am used to seeing on T-Mobile devices. After using the Galaxy Nexus with Ice Cream Sandwich I cannot go back to using a Gingerbread smartphone. I have not seen any information that this device will be getting the ICS update and thus this is really not a device for the smartphone enthusiast.
I ran some speed tests and even at my house I measured download speeds in excess of 14 Mbps, which is something I have never seen before. I have read reviews that state the Blaze 4G is the fastest T-Mobile phone people have tried and I believe it. In Seattle I measured download speeds in excess of 25 Mbps, which is simply screaming on a mobile phone.
There are several other folks who have spent time with the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G too and I recommend you check out some of these other online reviews: