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Samsung Intercept Review: Android on a Budget

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1.5 Star Rating (3 Reviews)

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Samsung Intercept

When the Samsung Intercept is closed, you see its 3.2-inch touch screen.

Sprint

Most of today's new Android smartphones are all about being bigger and better than past models. Take the HTC EVO 4G and the Motorola Droid X, for example. Both pack in oversized screens and flashy features.

That's fine, if you want a smartphone with all the bells and whistles -- and don't mind paying for it. But you do have another option in the Samsung Intercept. This full-featured Android smartphone may lack the flash found on some of its higher-profile rivals, but it's still a very capable device -- and one that comes at a very affordable price.

Price and Availability

The Samsung Intercept is available from Sprint for $99.99 when you sign a new two-year service contract. That price is $100 less than what most carriers are charging for the Intercept's Android-based rivals, such as the Droid X, HTC EVO 4G, and Droid Incredible. It's also $100 less than what AT&T is charging for a 16GB iPhone 4.

Design

The Intercept doesn't feature the most eye-catching design; in fact, it looks a whole lot like many of Samsung's other phones. When the phone is closed, you see its 3.2-inch touch-screen, below which sits four touch-sensitive keys for navigating through the Android OS. Underneath those keys, you get a square-shaped optical trackpad, which doubles as a select button, as well as send and end keys.

The Intercept's 3.2-inch display isn't roomy, especially when compared to the 4.3-inch screens found on the Droid X and the HTC EVO 4G. It also lacks the sharpness of the 3.5-inch screen found on the Apple iPhone 4. But the screen is big enough to be serviceable.

Far more impressive is the Intercept's slide-out QWERTY keyboard, which appears when you slide the display to the right. The keys are well spaced and have a rubberized texture that makes them easy to press for accurate typing. The Intercept's keyboard is, by far, the best hardware keyboard I've seen on an Android device so far.

Making Calls

I was very impressed with the Intercept's quality during my test calls. Voices came through loud and clear on both ends of the line, even in areas where I had a weak Sprint signal. I heard little to no distortion and experienced no dropped calls.

Software

Samsung Intercept

The Samsung Intercept has a very roomy slide-out keyboard with keys that are rubberized for easy and accurate typing.

Samsung

The Samsung Intercept ships with Android 2.1, which was the latest version of the Android OS when the phone launched. Android has since been updated to version 2.2, though, which is already available on Google's Nexus One.

Android has come a long way from its earliest versions, though, and even version 2.1 offers a refinement that previous versions were lacking. Navigating through the OS's many options has gotten easier, though I found the Intercept a bit sluggish at times, when switching screens or launching apps. And Android is still a bit geeky enough to overwhelm some newbies. For more details on Android, read my complete review of the mobile OS.

Web Browsing

The Intercept supports Sprint's high-speed 3G network, but not its fastest iteration. The Intercept supports Sprint's EvDo Rev. O, not the speedier Rev. A version. It does not offer support for Sprint's fastest 4G network, either. But you do get support for Wi-Fi wireless networks, so you have another option for speedy Web browsing.

In better news, the browser on the Samsung Intercept is quite good. In the past, Android's browser required you to dig through menus to access simple functions (like the address bar or the back button). That doesn't seem to be the cast on the newer batch of Android phones. Like the Droid X and the Droid Incredible, the Intercept features a browser that just makes sense.The address bar is just where you'd expect to find it, and you can use the handy back button below the display to move back through Web pages. The 3.2-inch screen does feel a bit tight when you're Web browsing, but you can pinch and spread the screen to zoom in and out as needed.

What you won't find on the Intercept -- yet -- is support for Adobe's Flash technology. You'll get this support, which will allow you to view multimedia Web pages as you would on a desktop computer, when the phone is updated to the next version of Android, version 2.2.

Camera

Samsung's Intercept features a 3.2megapixel camera, which is something of a disappointment when compared to the 8-megapixel shooters found on the Droid X and the Droid Incredible. It also lacks a flash, and picture quality, overall, wasn't very impressive. Many of my images were blurry, especially when I tried to capture moving subjects. I experienced a noticeable delay between the time I pressed the shutter button and when the camera actually snapped the photo, so that I often missed the subject I wanted to capture.

Multimedia

The rest of the multimedia features found on the Intercept are more impressive. Like most Android phones, the Intercept offers a basic, but very usable, music player and the standard YouTube app. But you also get a good selection of services from Sprint, including Sprint TV, which lets you view live TV broadcasts right on the phone. You also get Sprint Radio, Sprint Football Live, and NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Bottom Line

The Intercept isn't as flashy as many of today's best Android phones. If you want speedier data access or a bigger screen, you'd be better off with the Droid X, Droid Incredible, or EVO 4G. But if you're looking for a budget-friendly Android phone with the best keyboard around, the Samsung Intercept could be just what you need.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 1 out of 5
WORST PHONE EVER MADE, Member tsh85

Worst phone I have ever owned in my life. Battery lasts about 2 hours max on a good day. That's with normal use and wifi off. This is the 3rd Intercept I have exchanged and they are all terrible. Very slow processor and very unresponsive. Locks up constantly and has to be rebooted. This phone shouldn't even be considered a smart phone or in the category with other droids. It is pretty sad when you have to recharge your phone every 2 hours throughout the day just to use it. I have owned $7.00 cell phones that worked better than the Intercept. Also I can't count how many times this phone has just turned itself off in the middle of a call with a full battery. All 3 of my Intercepts have done that, so I know it's a common problem with this phone and not just the one that I own. Sometimes you have to push a button 3 or 4 times before it responds. When you slide or drag the window there is always a delay and it stops constantly. This phone has the worst internal storage and memory around. At least half of the apps from the Droid market malfunction on this phone. On a normal day this phone will freeze up on me anywhere from 5-15 times, to the point that I have to open the back to take the battery out before I can restart. I really wanted to like this phone, but as it turns out, it's by far the worst phone I've ever used. To say it is frustrating is an understatement. The problem is its poor response. Frequently during daily use it is unresponsive. Especially after a phone call. It might take up to twenty seconds for the controls to respond. This is not acceptable! I am a certified computer technician. I work on and repair all makes and models of computers. I embrace technology and understand it. But I will never understand this phone! I have no interest in ""rooting"" it either. It should just work....but it does not. And please don't tell me I have ""too many programs installed."" I don't have any. In fact, I've done a hard reset on this phone-twice-running only the factory installed programs and STILL it is totally unresponsive. I also find no correlation between what is running in the background and how the phone behaves. Every time I use the device I clear out whatever programs I'm not using at the moment. But it seems this does not make a difference. The phone has a mind of its own and it will behave any way it wants to, RAM or no RAM If you go to cnet reviews you will see that over 80% of all the genuine reviews for this phone have 1 star or less. Samsung should be sued and should be put out of business for passing off a phone as bad as this to the consumer. BUYER BEWARE: If you do buy this phone it only comes with a 30 day warranty and everything will work great until the second month you own it........TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT I regret buying this phone. But I'll keep it until my carrier comes out with another model that I like, then I'm gonna just trash the Intercept. I don't have the heart to sell it to someone else."" Pros: makes a good paperweight.

7 out of 12 people found this helpful.

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