Samsung Infuse 4G review: Extra legroom

GSMArena team, 20 May 2011.
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Unboxing: all bases are covered

The Samsung Infuse 4G comes in quite a small, AT&T branded box. It almost makes you wonder how a device this big managed to fit in there.

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The Samsung Infuse 4G retail package

The bundle includes a charger, microUSB cable, a headset, and a quick start guide. You also get an HDMI adaptor which is an essential aid even for the mighty Galaxy S2. The package is finished with a 2GB microSD card with an adapter. With an optional 32GB card supported, the storage you get is almost limitless.

Design and Display

The Samsung Infuse 4G looks a lot like a stretched out Galaxy S2 save for the hardware button in the front of the device. It has the same chin on the back and a thin metal frame which goes around the device.

In terms of weight, the device is on the slimmer side of the Android offerings. At 139 grams, the Infuse 4G is heavier than the Galaxy S2 but most of the added weight is probably down to the larger screen.

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Mini and the beast: the Infuse 4G next to the Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini

The back of the phone is finely textured: exactly the same kind of surface as on the Galaxy S2. It is immune to fingerprints and pleasant to the touch.

Overall, the Infuse 4G feels plasticky in hand – more metal would have certainly upped its appearance. It would however, have added weight so we are willing to compromise here.

Now, the screen – the 4.5” Super AMOLED Plus display is nothing short but a thing of beauty. It uses a conventional matrix with three-subpixels per pixel instead of the PenTile matrix of the first-gen Super AMOLED displays. At 4.5 inches, the Infuse 4G screen is even more imposing than the one of the Galaxy S2. The mere .2 of an inch might not sound like much but if you put the two devices side by side, you will notice it does make a difference.

All in all, Super AMOLED Plus screens and mobile phones are really meant for each other. It’s a perfect match that reveals all the strengths (unrivaled image quality, perfect viewing angles, energy efficiency and great sunlight legibility), without suffering the traditional OLED weaknesses (higher production costs for larger units and shorter life).

Controls and Handling

Aside from the screen, there is nothing revolutionary here. You get four capacitive buttons on the front of the Infuse 4G much like AT&T’s own Samsung Captivate and the Galaxy S 4G for T-Mobile. There is an Options button, followed by Home, Back and Search keys respectively. A long press of the home button opens the recent applications along with an option to access the task manager.

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The four keys under the screen

Above the display we have the earpiece, as well as ambient light and proximity sensors. The front-facing camera supports video-calls and has 1.3 megapixel resolution.

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There’s the video-call camera, the ambient-light sensor and the earpiece on top of the display

There is nothing but a volume rocker on the left side of the Infuse 4G. The volume keys double as zoom lever in camera mode.

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The volume rocker on the left

On the right side of the device, there is nothing but a power key. What the phone lacks is a dedicated camera button. Such a capable camera unit certainly deserves one but it’s hard a phone this slim probably .

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Sorry, no camera button

One minor but particularly annoying design flaw of the original Galaxy S has been addressed. The power/lock button no longer falls on a sloped edge and is a lot easier to press without risking the phone slipping off your grip.

There is an unprotected 3.5 mm audio jack on top of the Infuse 4G.

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The 3.5mm audio jack is all you’ll find on the top

The microUSB port at the bottom is used for both data connections and charging. Not only does it support USB host but it also comes with MHL enabling HD TV-out connectivity. MHL is a way of using both microUSB and HDMI through the same port. The downside is you need an adapter to use a regular HDMI cable with this one (at least it’s supplied here, unlike the Galaxy S II).

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The microUSB port looks as usual, but the MHL support adds a whole new dimension to it

The last component at the bottom of the device is the mic.

The back of the Samsung Infuse 4G is where the 8 megapixel HD-capable camera lens is located. The LED flash is right under it is, which will probably see more use a flashlight and video-light than a still-camera assist.

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The camera got a serious upgrade

The loudspeaker grill is at the back too – right on the slightly elevated chin at the base of the device.

Removing the paper thin battery cover reveals the SIM compartment, the 1650 mAh battery and the microSD card slot. The card slot can take microSD cards of up to 32GB, which can give you a maximum total storage of 48GB. The bad news is the memory card isn’t hot-swappable.

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The microSD card is not hot-swappable, but strangely, the SIM card is

Much to our surprise the SIM card was hot-swappable. Sure, the Infuse 4G will politely ask you to restart when you take out the active SIM, but if you ignore that, insert another card and then restart the radio by turning airplane mode on and back off, you will still have fully functional telephony with the new card. For the moment though, you can do this trick only with AT&T cards because the phone is carrier locked .

The 1650 mAh battery is quoted to offer up to 400h of standby and up to 8h of talk time. Of course, those numbers are far from reality. In our experience, the Infuse 4G made through a day of heavy usage but by the end of it, it needed a charge badly. If used moderately, the device should make it through a couple of days of use – much in line with the current top smartphone offerings today.

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The Samsung Infuse 4G handles well despite the larger screen

For a device that big, the Samsung Infuse 4G is fairly easy to handle. We must admit though, unless you have fairly large hands, operating the device with a single hand is extremely difficult. There is a significant chance that one might accidentally drop the phone. Given the size of the phone though, Samsung has done a commendable job with its ergonomics.

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