Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G review: The middle man
A 5MP camera
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G comes with a 5MP camera and an LED flash. It captures photos at a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1920 pixels.
Its interface looks familiar with two shortcut bars on each side of the viewfinder. On the right you get the still camera / camcorder switch, virtual shutter key and the gallery shortcut (which is a thumbnail of the last photo taken).
On the left, you get the front/back camera switch and the flash control. You can replace those two and add two more (for a total of four) shortcuts to any option in the Settings menu.
Image quality wise, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G has lots of potential. It produces tack sharp photos with plenty of detail. Colors are neutral and overall we're pretty happy with the results.
The video camera interface is identical to the still camera. You get the same customizable panel on the left with four shortcuts.
The camera shoots 720p video at 30fps. Unlike the still camera, you can't use the video-call camera to shoot videos.
The video camera interface
The video quality of the footage captured by the camcorder is not the best we've seen but it's really alright. Diagonal lines are not quite straight and have lots of jaggies and image sharpness is not the best. But again, there aren't any serious faults with the videos either. They turn out nice and smooth with the same neutral color tones as the ones of the still camera.
Here is a 720p video sample for you.
And here goes an untouched 720p video clip for download.
Connectivity ticks (almost) all the right boxes
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G has quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support and tri-band 3G with HSPA+ (42Mbps downlink and 5.76Mbps uplink). T-Mobile's network is quite possibly the best way to experience mobile data in a non-LTE fashion. The coverage in the New York City area is superb and so were the speeds we experienced.
Moving on, there's Bluetooth 3.0 for fast and energy-efficient local file transfers. Then there's Wi-Fi b/g/n support and a Wi-Fi hotspot option, carrier permitting.
The AllShare app allows you to stream content to and from various devices (TV or computer) over DLNA.
NFC connectivity is present as well. There is a dedicated app, called Tags, which utilizes it.
The handset also comes with Kies Air preloaded. The app connects to the local Wi-Fi network (or it can create a Wi-Fi hotspot) and gives you a URL to type into your computer's web browser.
From there you can manage just about anything on the phone - from contacts, messages (including composing messages), to browsing images, videos and other files straight in your desktop browser. You can grant or reject access to computers and see who's connected to the phone at any moment.
The cool thing is you can stream music with handy playback controls. It works for videos too.
A solid web browser
The interface of the Android web browser has hardly changed. Its user experience is, as usual, quite good.
The browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the new two-finger tilt zoom. There are niceties such as multiple tabs, text reflow, and find on page and so on. A neat trick is to pinch zoom out beyond the minimum - that opens up the tabs view.
Yet another neat trick is the browser-specific brightness setting. You can, for example, boost the brightness in the browser to comfortably view your web pages but keep the general brightness low to conserve battery.
There's Flash 11 support, which means you can watch YouTube videos right in the browser (videos up to 720p worked smoothly) and play Flash games too.