Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G review: The middle man
User interface: Android Gingerbread and TouchWiz 4.0
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G runs Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread with Samsung's TouchWiz launcher out of the box. The experience which the device offers is the same as every top shelf Samsung smartphone on the market today. Check it out in action below.
The lockscreen holds no surprises. It can be swiped away in any direction. The cool feature where missed events (messages, calls etc) get their own unlock patterns is here too.
The homescreen accommodates tons of widgets with lots of functionality. You can have up to 7 homescreens. A pinch zoom brings you to an aggregate view of all homescreen panes, which can be edited: rearranged, deleted or added.
Widgets, shortcuts or folders are pulled onto the homescreen from a drawer that appears at the bottom of the screen once you enter edit mode (press and hold on an empty spot or do Menu > Add).
The numbered dots that identify the homescreen panels serve as a scroll bar too. A press and hold on the dots lets you scroll sideways through the resized images of the available homescreen panes in one short go rather than with several swipes.
The app launcher is very similar to the homescreen - you can create folders to go with your shortcuts and you can add, remove and rearrange pages just like you would homescreens.
You can choose List view instead of the regular grid view if you prefer.
In typical TouchWiz fashion, there are four shortcuts docked at the bottom of the screen that are visible both on the homescreen and in the app launcher. You can swap the first three with different ones (by default the shortcuts are Phone, Contacts, Messaging), the fourth one being locked. It's the app drawer/home shortcut so it makes sense to always keep it in the same place.
The notification area has been slightly remodeled in TouchWiz 4.0, but there aren't any major changes to the functionality there.
The custom task manager, which Samsung have preinstalled, offers a lot of functionality. It also comes with a handy widget, which shows you the number of active applications right on your homescreen.
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G comes with a large amount of pre-installed non-removable, proprietary T-Mobile apps. Their usability is beyond questionable - there is simply no need for them. Unfortunately, if you don't want to have your app launcher sprinkled with magenta colored icons (very annoying by the way), rooting your device is the only way to have it done.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon S3 chipset and its two Scorpion cores, clocked at 1.5GHz are a rather powerful combination in the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, and the benchmark scores prove it. The relatively low screen resolution also helps here - the CPU simply has fewer pixels to deal with.
The device's real life performance was faultless. It handled every task we threw its way without breaking any sweat.