But is it really or is that merely marketing hype vying to compete for your smartphone dollar in a time when millions are being spent on both products?
That’s the question we analyze in this Samsung Instinct review.
While you can think of the iPhone 3G as $199 or $299 (half the price of the first iPhone) even though it can be much more depending on your circumstance, a similar situation exists with the Instinct.
The Instinct is marketed simply as “$69 cheaper than the iPhone 3G”. Maybe. As the retail price for the Instinct is sky high at $449.99, what conditions must be met to drive it all the way down to the marketed bargain price of $129.99?
You must first take into account the hassle of the phone being $100 more (or $229.99). To knock it down to $129.99, you must send in a mail-in rebate.
This is a clever move by the Instinct – a move the iPhone 3G opted not to do – because the company knows some people won’t bother to send in the rebate. When you do, of course, it’ll take weeks to receive your rebate. But the price goes a good deal up if you’re not “upgrade eligible,” too.
Upgrade eligible means you can knock off $25 with a one-year service contract if you’ve had your current phone for less than a year or $75 in that scenario if you elect for a two-year service contract. If you’ve had your current phone for between one and two years, knock off $75 with a one-year contract or $150 with a two-year contract.
If you’re an existing Sprint customer, the company will pay your $18 upgrade fee. If you’re not, you have to pay it. If you’re not eligible for squat and don’t bother with mailing in the rebate, your unlucky price for the Instinct is $449.99.
Like the iPhone 3G, the Instinct’s touch screen is large, bright and appropriately sensitive to the touch. Its technology enables you to do what you want it to do and not what you don’t (unlike the terrible touch screen on the Samsung Upstage).
The Instinct has a 3.1-inch haptic touch screen that is slightly smaller than the iPhone 3G’s 3.5-inch multi-touch screen. The word haptic is defined as the branch of psychology that investigates skin-sensing data.
By default, the Instinct’s touch screen makes a subtle and appropriate sound when you perform an action. With the sound, though, the phone also vibrates by default to your touch. This can be deactivated and can be considered aggravating. It’s unclear why this vibrating touch feature is there in the first place let alone on by default.
While the iPhone 3G features its touch screen front and center with only one button, the Instinct does the same but with three buttons: one for going back, one for going home and one for placing calls. These could have been simplified into one. It’s unclear what usability advantage the Instinct gained by using three.
The Web browser on the Instinct can be considered a serious area of contention and concern. While the download speed is comparable based on the cell phone networks Sprint for the Instinct and AT&T for the iPhone 3G – but still feels faster on the iPhone 3G – the network speed is only one piece of the puzzle.
The iPhone 3G intelligently selected the fast-rendering and fast-loading Safari Web browser. It just loads faster, is more elegant, is more useful, is superior with the ability to multi-task various Web browsers and better emulates on your phone what you’re used to seeing on your computer screen.
While the Instinct allows you to alter from “mobile mode” to “standard mode,” even standard mode doesn’t accurately deliver to you what you’ll get from your computer and what the iPhone 3G affords. On the Instinct, there’s also no “pinching” of the screen to zoom in and out like you can on the iPhone 3G.
Instead, on the Instinct you can only view the screen at 50 percent, 100 percent, 200 percent or in full-screen mode.
At 4.4 ounces and 4.57 inches by 2.17 inches and 0.49 of an inch, the Instinct weighs slightly less than the iPhone 3G (4.7 ounces) and is similar to the iPhone 3G’s height of 4.5 inches, width of 2.4 inches and depth of 0.48 of an inch. The noticeable measurement difference is in the Instinct’s width.
Why have one when you can have two? From the box, the Instinct comes with two batteries. Each battery is rated at up to 5.75 hours of continuous talk time. This compares to 5 hours of talk time on the iPhone 3G.
From taking the Instinct’s GPS to the busy streets of Chicago and testing its mapping software, the feature is more than just chocolate sauce on an ice cream sundae. It is an ice cream sundae in itself.
The tool is genuinely practical and effective. In addition to displaying where you are now, step-by-step visual and audio directions about how to get from one location to another and an easy way to see relevant points of interest nearby (i.e. gas stations, Wi-Fi zones, etc.), this is an addictive tool that can be considered an essential.
Of course, don’t try to access the Instinct’s GPS inside. As GPS triangulates satellites in the sky, it likely won’t have adequate visibility indoors. Also, you’ll need to forgive the Instinct if it’s slightly off on your route or if it becomes confused. In testing, it proved to be effective but not perfect.
When the Instinct isn’t lit at full strength, it’ll dim for the amount of time you select. Once it’s done dimming, though, it’ll lock itself up. Continue on to page two...
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