Samsung Infuse 4G Review

May 9, 2011
23

Behold, the herald of Galactus!* Truly if ever there were a phone sent by a manufacturer to pave way for a much more powerful phone, this is it. The Samsung Infuse 4G is to the untrained eye a gigantic screen with a powerful single-core engine under the hood and a big fat camera on the back of a "razor thin" candybar form factor. The Samsung Infuse 4G is currently the the holder of the biggest and brightest display of all Android devices classified as a handset. Larger than this and they're tablets. Smaller than this and they're just pipsqueaks with a weight problem. Will it stand up to the current state whilst riding on into a future with a big cousin looming quickly overhead? View here a conundrum!

Before we go on, have yourself a look at the release-day unboxing in NYC we've got up as well as the day after hands-on at home. That ought to give you an alright idea of what we're dealing with as for how this device looks and feels in the hand. Quite a unique chassis is to be held.

Hardware

We've had our hands on the first device to roll out with a Super AMOLED Plus display, the DROID Charge, also from Samsung, and let me tell you, it only gets better with additional inches. The Samsung Infuse only adds .2 to the display over the Charge, but at 4.5-inches and the largest Super AMOLED Plus display in the world, it feels like the biggest and the best. Upon plugging in the 32GB microSD card I keep around with a couple of big bad movies optimized for Android playback [as converted using this guide] I was thoroughly impressed. Making sure to use DoubleTwist Media Player as it automatically compensates for widescreen format movies.

Sweetness unfolds!

The device is a 5-inch by 2.34-inch by .375-inch candybar - just the tiniest sliver thicker than the thinnest handset in the world, the Galaxy S II. That means it's pretty freaking thin. The Infuse weighs in at 4.09g, making it also one of the lightest handsets in the world. Better watch out of a gust of wind will carry this phone away. It's got a 4.5-inch 480 x 800 pixel Super AMOLED Plus display, meaning again that it's the biggest and brightest display for a handset on Earth, and it's got a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front and an 8-megapixel camera on the back capable of 720p video recording [see examples later in this review.]

To access your battery, just pop off the back hatch - a very well constructed solution to the battery cover situation that's been evolving nicely since the birth of smartphones such as these. An inside solution for a normally all-or-nothing predicament. Very classy. On the other hand, you've got to remove the battery to get access to your microSD card - nothing in the wide wide world of microSD cards irritates me more. For SIM card swapping, if that's your deal, you've go nothing to worry about - flip at will!

The device makes up for how abnormally wide it feels in the hand with how thin and light it is. It doesn't FEEL like it's as big as it is. Yesterday, Mother's Day, this was the device I pulled out multiple times to show grandmothers photos of my wife and I's newborn child (and yes, I had multiple smartphone-devices with me.) It's big! It's beautiful! It certainly makes no qualms about being out there and proud of it.

Hugeness awaits you.

Software

This is a Samsung phone so you're rolling out with TouchWiz, a user interface that the manufacturer has created to differentiate themselves in the Android software world from hoards of competitors with their own similar solutions. TouchWiz is one of the nicest, one of my favorites, I'll admit, and for a manufacturer-made UI, it's not bad, and hasn't been bad for a while. This is one of the last phones you're going to see running the 3.0 version of TouchWiz, the brand new fabulous TouchWiz 4.0 [with brand new super features] being released on the Samsung Galaxy S II. TouchWiz 3.0 is a tested and true UI, and it's basically a certainty that they'll update this device to 4.0 asap - or at least one would hope.

This device comes with 38 pre-installed apps, the majority of which, as per usual, come from Google. Therefor they're generally helpful and aren't the end of the world horrible to have on hand. There's no native video chat app, but all the regular suspects work fine, and items from AT&T include myAT&T, AT&T U-Verse Live TV, AT&T Code Scanner, AT&T FamilyMap, and AT&T Navigator (powered by Telenav.) Beyond Allshare and YPmobile, there really isn't a whole lot of clutter you'll be having to deal with, and if you're one of the thousands and thousands of Android users who doesn't like to have ANY bloatware on their device, root is certainly impending. Maybe a click or two and you'll be on your way.

As for benchmarks, scroll down to performance and have your fill. Also be sure to check out Samsung Galaxy S II vs Infuse 4G Quadrant Benchmark Pummeling for a good giggle.

Camera

On the front of the Infuse you're going to find a 1.3-megapixel camera for video chat and photos and an 8-megapixel camera on the back for video and photos as well. These numbers are basically pre-requisite for a top-tier device such as this these days, and we expect quality! Thusly, check out the results here:

Front-facing 1.3-megapixel Photo

Back-facing 8-megapixel Photo

Back-facing 720p Video

Back-facing 8-megapixel Flash Photo

MHL Adapter Accessory

This device is one if not the very first device to be formally released with relatively new MHL technology allowing for your microUSB port to output to HDMI as well as USB for power and data transfer. To work with HDMI, however, you've still got to use an MHL adapter. Thankfully, you get a standard Samsung MHL adapter in the box when you purchase your Infuse. From what I can tell, video appears to be transferring through this adapter just as well as it does via a regular miniHDMI port on devices like the Motorola XOOM and LG G2x. For more information on this accessory, see the post entitled Samsung Infuse 4G MHL Adapter Requires Wall Plug to Work - deal breaker or positive move?

Phone and Performance

Voice call quality has been no less than superb, both to and from the phone, multiple phones on the other end tested. This phone has 2 microphones for noise cancellation (as all good phones should) and they work like a charm. There's been some complaining over the past few years of the irritable call quality on the AT&T network across the nation, but yours truly here in Minneapolis Minnesota hasn't had much more than the occasional dropped call - and none of them happened on the Infuse.

As far as performance goes, discover for yourself some benchmarks and compare at will to the competition. A year ago this phone would have had top hat it many categories. Today it falls a bit short of the big runners because it's got only a single-core processor. Does that mean it should be dismissed? Heck no, it's still a massively impressive multimedia device capable of wonderful things. Discover its numbers!

Battery

Inside you'll find a 1750 mAh battery which thus far has provided 10 hours MAX with heavy usage. For an everyday user I'd suppose a full day would be a reasonable goal without a charge, but like with any superphone such as this, keep a charger in mind, if you know what I mean. Its got nowhere near the super-drain that the HTC ThunderBolt does, but it's not going to win any several-day awards. Pretty average battery life amongst similar devices.

Wrap-Up

Impress your friends with the fact that you've got the biggest brightest display on the market! Play a movie or two from the comfort of your own palm in glorious high definition! Record some 720p video, take some 8-megapixel photos, and play Angry Birds like you were carrying a tiny tablet! If you're familiar with the story of *Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, and his herald the Silver Surfer, you'll understand what I mean when I say that this device has the Power Cosmic, but it's about to pale in comparison to the hungriest of phones, the USA version of the Galaxy S II. Does that mean the Infuse should be dismissed? Absolutely not. This phone, like the Silver Surfer, is a radically awesome device with a story all its own.

But should you buy it? That's why you're here, right? This device costs $199 with a 2-year contract and no need for a rebate. That's fairly cheap for a device such as this, and AT&T's data network is pretty darn good when it comes to download speeds. I can't say much for their upload speeds at the moment as I'm rather suspicious of them, but the download speeds are decent, certainly not the best on the market, but decent for everyday app downloading and so-forth.

If you don't feel the need to wait for the Galaxy S II, go ahead and purchase this device. It's the nicest Samsung device on the market today, and you're going to enjoy the heck out of it.

ALSO NOTE: as with all device reviews, this is not nearly the end of our hands-on coverage of this handset. If you've got any questions that have not yet been answered, please, by all means, ask them. If I can, I'll certainly answer anything you might be wondering about.


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  • Anonymous

    Very good review but just a few errors you had. First, where you are mentioning the 480 x 800 res, you wrote its a 4.27 inch screen when its 4.5 inch. Secondly, you said the battery is 1650mah but its actually 1750mah, even it shows that in the picture. Lastly, in the wrap-up you mentioned it records 1080p videos, when it maxes out at 720p. Other than that, it was a very good review. I had a question though, I heard that it records 720p videos but it might be capable of playing 1080p videos. Is that true, also if so, can you try to see if it plays 1080p content and see how it displays on a tv via the mhl/hdmi ouput. thanks

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      Yes – thanks, every once in a while I have a spec seizure. I’ve tried out the HDMI output and it works spectacularly, appearing very much to be at 1080p. I’ll be putting up a big post on such a thing very soon.

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      Yes – thanks, every once in a while I have a spec seizure. I’ve tried out the HDMI output and it works spectacularly, appearing very much to be at 1080p. I’ll be putting up a big post on such a thing very soon.

      • Anonymous

        Really appreciate it. One thing I almost forgot, something that might make/break me from getting the infuse, how much RAM does it have. 512mb or 1gb. I think its 512 but I dont want to believe it..hehe

    • http://androidcommunity.com/ Chris Burns

      Yes – thanks, every once in a while I have a spec seizure. I’ve tried out the HDMI output and it works spectacularly, appearing very much to be at 1080p. I’ll be putting up a big post on such a thing very soon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamesderuvo James DeRuvo

    Man, how can something be so big, yet so thin?! Love the look of the display too.

  • Andresmn1126


    AT&T’s data network is pretty darn good when it comes to download speeds. I can’t say much for their upload speeds at the moment as I’m rather suspicious of them, but the download speeds are right up there with Verizon’s LTE”

    Then why show a screenshot of the speedtest app showing awful download speeds than don’t even hit 1mb/s. Show us the good stuff lol

  • http://www.comfortresearch.org/ Keith Wilson

    I love it, I love it, I love it but now I’m broke…bohoho…http://www.professionalfacialsteamer.com/

  • PG-007

    When you showed the results of the speed tests, you did so by taking screenshots of the phone’s screen. How were you able to do this?

  • PG-007

    When you showed the results of the speed tests, you did so by taking screenshots of the phone’s screen. How were you able to do this?

  • http://twitter.com/pandrapragada vishnu

     very detailed review given 
    thank you

    http://mobiscreen.net

  • http://twitter.com/pandrapragada vishnu

     very detailed review given 
    thank you

    http://mobiscreen.net

  • Nunocharles75

    Not sure what Samsung’s motivation was for pooping out the unimpressive Charge on Verizon and then majestically delivering the Infuse to AT&T in the same week, but as a Verizon subscriber, it’s pretty disappointing. Other than the Charge being a 4G phone, it doesn’t really offer much beyond what you could get on the Motorolla Droid X, which came out last year. However, I had a co-worker come in with the Infuse yesterday, and immediately suffered from a case of techy-penis envy. The screen is incredible and the specs are impressive across the board.
    Way to go Verizon on contracting a sub-standard phone.
     

    • Nunocharles75

      Not to mention the Charge costs $299 with a two year contract, and the Infuse is only $199 with a two year contract. Friggin lame.  

  • Anonymous

     Played around with it in the shop. Big screen but it ain’t no Streak. Was hoping for an increase in usability similar to the Dell. Unfortunately that was not the case.

    On another note Samsung needs to fix those touchwiz colors. I can’t stand them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/bryonbella Bryon Bella

    This is a sweet phone because the screen is so large which
    is a plus for me.  I also like the AMOLED
    Plus screen because it has 12 subpixels which is more than the usual 8 so more
    color and brightness.  I wish the battery
    would hold up better but what can you expect for that kind of screen.  AT&T is always calling me to get U-verse
    though and I keep telling them I prefer my TV Everywhere that my DISH Network employee
    Sling adapter gives me to the limited live TV U-verse gives on their phones.  I get all of my subscription channels and besides
    I watch my DVR on my phone more often which they can’t do either.
     

  • http://facebook.com/vincentnguyen Vincent Nguyen

     Burnsy, you think you have enough Android phones there???

  • http://facebook.com/vincentnguyen Vincent Nguyen

     Burnsy, speedtest.net speedtest aren’t accurate. You need to rerun using Xtremelabs Speedtest.  Download should be in the 1MB/s up to 3MB/s. Upload ~350KB/s.

  • http://www.mobile-phones.cn/ http://www.mobile-phones.cn/

    wifi speed

  • Richard M. Schmidt

    Decided to dump my Blackberry for an Android, and needless to say, there were a ton of phones and providers to sift through. I coincidentally decided to upgrade the week the Infuse hit the shelves,
    and when I saw it in the AT&T store, I was sold almost immediately on the screen. A few more minutes playing with it and I was completely sold. Now two weeks later, I couldn’t be happier.

    I mentioned the screen – bright, bold, and big. Thanks to the AMOLED, the black levels are better than my backlit LED HDTV. I decided to rip a few of my Blu-Rays to the device in 480p to see its full
    potential, and it’s absolutely a pleasure to watch – sharp and ghost-free.

    It’s thin – really thin, which makes up for its size in the other two dimensions. I have big hands and deep pockets, so the length/width isn’t an issue for me (I actually like having some screen real estate
    so my sausage fingers can type on the touch screen). However, this is one of those phones that is you really need to get your hands on before you buy, just to make sure it won’t be too big for you.

    Despite Samsung’s decision to go with a slightly faster Hummingbird on this phone rather than a newer dual-core, it’s still really fast. In day-to-day use it’s been lag free, and I’ve only slowed it down a
    couple of times by purposely running several intensive applications. As long as you’re good about closing applications you’re not using, you’ll probably never see any slow down.

    UI is nice, and if you’ve used an Android phone in the past, or if you’re familiar with an iPhone, you’ll be able to dive right in. It’s quick and responsive. Apps are a piece of cake to download/install, and
    thanks to AT&T’s policy changes, you can now use the Amazon App Store on this phone. Plenty of storage, with 16GB on-board and an external SD slot for up to 32GB more (though it comes with just a 2GB card).

    The camera is great – 8MP with flash (unlike the Captivate), though the LED flash is a little harsh in low light. This problem is not exclusive to the Infuse though – LED flashes just suck. The video, on
    the other hand, is exceptional. I took this to a friend’s wedding last weekend in even in some tricky light situations, it maintained artifact-free recording at 720, with nary a hiccup. Output to HDMI
    works really well, though it does require you to carry around the HDMI adapter. A minor shortcoming.

    My highest praise for this phone, however, is that the battery life has been exceptional. I’d say I’m a moderate to heavy data user, and without any major power tweaks, Wifi on all day, the occasional viewing of video, a little Angry Birds mixed in, I can go almost two days without a charge. With minimal use and some manual management of the radio (turning of GPS, Bluetooth, Wifi), I can get almost three. I don’t know of any other phone on the market with this kind of performance that even comes close. My girlfriend’s Inspire and my coworker’s iPhone 4 get a day each, if they’re lucky, with similar usage.

    I could keep raving, but the bottom line: if you want a fully-featured phone with an amazing screen and exceptional battery, look no further. There are a host of new dual-core phones on the horizon, but whether or not they’ll be able to match this phone in battery life is TBD. It’s cheaper on Amazon.

    And if you will buy this Samsung Infuse 4G I suggest at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00505S2RI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=androidcommunity.com-offer-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B00505S2RI

  • Richard M. Schmidt

    Decided to dump my Blackberry for an Android, and needless to say, there were a ton of phones and providers to sift through. I coincidentally decided to upgrade the week the Infuse hit the shelves,
    and when I saw it in the AT&T store, I was sold almost immediately on the screen. A few more minutes playing with it and I was completely sold. Now two weeks later, I couldn’t be happier.

    I mentioned the screen – bright, bold, and big. Thanks to the AMOLED, the black levels are better than my backlit LED HDTV. I decided to rip a few of my Blu-Rays to the device in 480p to see its full
    potential, and it’s absolutely a pleasure to watch – sharp and ghost-free.

    It’s thin – really thin, which makes up for its size in the other two dimensions. I have big hands and deep pockets, so the length/width isn’t an issue for me (I actually like having some screen real estate
    so my sausage fingers can type on the touch screen). However, this is one of those phones that is you really need to get your hands on before you buy, just to make sure it won’t be too big for you.

    Despite Samsung’s decision to go with a slightly faster Hummingbird on this phone rather than a newer dual-core, it’s still really fast. In day-to-day use it’s been lag free, and I’ve only slowed it down a
    couple of times by purposely running several intensive applications. As long as you’re good about closing applications you’re not using, you’ll probably never see any slow down.

    UI is nice, and if you’ve used an Android phone in the past, or if you’re familiar with an iPhone, you’ll be able to dive right in. It’s quick and responsive. Apps are a piece of cake to download/install, and
    thanks to AT&T’s policy changes, you can now use the Amazon App Store on this phone. Plenty of storage, with 16GB on-board and an external SD slot for up to 32GB more (though it comes with just a 2GB card).

    The camera is great – 8MP with flash (unlike the Captivate), though the LED flash is a little harsh in low light. This problem is not exclusive to the Infuse though – LED flashes just suck. The video, on
    the other hand, is exceptional. I took this to a friend’s wedding last weekend in even in some tricky light situations, it maintained artifact-free recording at 720, with nary a hiccup. Output to HDMI
    works really well, though it does require you to carry around the HDMI adapter. A minor shortcoming.

    My highest praise for this phone, however, is that the battery life has been exceptional. I’d say I’m a moderate to heavy data user, and without any major power tweaks, Wifi on all day, the occasional viewing of video, a little Angry Birds mixed in, I can go almost two days without a charge. With minimal use and some manual management of the radio (turning of GPS, Bluetooth, Wifi), I can get almost three. I don’t know of any other phone on the market with this kind of performance that even comes close. My girlfriend’s Inspire and my coworker’s iPhone 4 get a day each, if they’re lucky, with similar usage.

    I could keep raving, but the bottom line: if you want a fully-featured phone with an amazing screen and exceptional battery, look no further. There are a host of new dual-core phones on the horizon, but whether or not they’ll be able to match this phone in battery life is TBD. It’s cheaper on Amazon.

    And if you will buy this Samsung Infuse 4G I suggest at: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00505S2RI/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=androidcommunity.com-offer-20&linkCode=as2&camp=217145&creative=399373&creativeASIN=B00505S2RI

  • Mark

    How is the vibrate on this thing?  I have to keep my phone on Silent during the day, so need a phone where I won’t miss calls/msgs.

    Thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    @twitter-10698882:disqus ………………..I can’t beleive…..My neighbor makes $96/hr on the internet. She has been unemployed for 10 months but last month her income was $7253 just working on the PC for a few hours. Go to this web site  …. http://alturl.com/ewuxc