The Samsung Indulge may seem like a run of the mill smartphone from MetroPCS, but the interesting fact is that it is the first ever 4G LTE smartphone to be released. While Verizon works on advertising their 4G LTE smartphones, MetroPCS has gone and released the Samsung Indulge. But how does it fare?
The Samsung Indulge is an exclusive Android powered smartphone for MetroPCS in the United States. The most interesting part of the Samsung Indulge is that it is the first ever 4G LTE smartphone available in the U.S. market. That's right, while customers of Verizon are still waiting for 4G LTE compatible smartphones such as the Motorola Droid Bionic to be released, MetroPCS customers can buy the Samsung Indulge right now and access the 4G LTE network. The Samsung Indulge could very well be a great competitive smartphone for MetroPCS to take on smartphones such as the Samsung Epic 4G on Sprint, due to its slide out full QWERTY keyboard.
Samsung Indulge Specifications:
- Dimensions: 5.20 x 2.40 x 0.60 inches (132 x 61 x 15 mm)
- Weight: 5.35 oz (152 g)
- Display: 3.5 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen display, 800 x 480 pixels
- Memory: 2 GB + 32 GB MicroSD
- OS: Android OS 2.2
- Processor: 1 GHz Hummingbird
- Camera: 3.2 Megapixel camera
- Connectivity: CDMA 800, 1700/2100, 1900 / LTE 1700/2100
- Battery: Li-Ion 1500 mAh
Design and Display
The Samsung Indulge has the usual candy bar design with a 3.5 inch LCD capacitive touchscreen dominating the front. It also has rounded corners, very reminiscent of the other Samsung Galaxy S phones currently available. However, unlike the other Samsung Galaxy series of smartphones, the Samsung Indulge does not have an AMOLED screen, rather it is a regular LCD screen. It's still decent and images come up crisp and clean. Slide the screen and you'll end up with a full QWERTY 4 row keyboard.
Below the screen are the familiar four buttons for menu, home, back and search. Unlike the Samsung Fascinate or Samsung Vibrant, the buttons are physical keys, rather than touch sensitive. On the right edge is a welcome addition, a dedicated camera button along with a microUSB charging port. Opposite resides the volume rocker. At the top is where you'll find the 3.5 mm headphone jack and power / lock button.
Overall the Samsung Indulge has a very familiar design and is easily recognizable as a smartphone in the Samsung Galaxy S line.
Hardware and Software
The Samsung Indulge comes with Samsung's very own 1 GHz Hummingbird processor, which made its power known in the Samsung Vibrant, as well as the other Samsung Galaxy S variants in the U.S. The Hummingbird processor is more than enough to handle the preloaded operating system, Android 2.2. TouchWiz 3.0 is also included on the Samsung Indulge, though it is a bit of a lighter version. It's missing the media hub and mobile hotspot options that are available in other Samsung Galaxy S handsets.
The Indulge is smooth thanks to the processor and the light version of TouchWiz that works decently well with Android 2.2.
Like all other Android powered smartphones, the Samsung Indulge is easy to learn, use and master. The capacitive touchscreen is truly user intuitive and every action really does depend on the user's actions on the screen. In addition to the capacitive touchscreen, the Indulge offers a 4 row full QWERTY physical keyboard that slides out from under the screen. The keyboard looks very similar to the keyboards found on the Epic 4G or the HTC G2.
The keyboard, however, is a bit of a disappointment in the Indulge. While other keyboards have keys that raise above and are easy to feel and navigate, the Indulge has keys that are actually pushed in. The keys aren't raised on the keyboard making navigation actually harder on the keyboard for the Indulge. Samsung should have raised the keys on the keyboards for ease of use.
The Samsung Indulge's first and foremost feature is the speed. It is the first ever 4G LTE compatible smartphone to be released in the U.S. market. The speed on the Indulge is comparable to the Samsung Epic 4G but not quite to the level of a myTouch 4G. MetroPCS has done a great job raising their 4G awareness and spreading their 4G network footprint in the U.S. It's quite odd that the Samsung Indulge hasn't had as much hype around the fact that it's the first ever 4G LTE smartphone, as Verizon has done with smartphones such as the HTC Thunderbolt.
On the back, resides the 3.2 megapixel camera. It's not the worst camera available but compared to the 5 to 8 megapixel packing smartphones, the Samsung Indulge does disappoint. Clocking in at around $400, the Samsung Indulge is a fairly expensive smartphone, and it's definitely disappointing to see it lack in the camera department. It's also disappointing to see that a 4G smartphone doesn't have a front facing camera. It's almost become key for 4G smartphones to offer front facing cameras to really help customer utilize the 4G network for video chatting.
Overall, outside of the speed levels offered on the 4G LTE network from MetroPCS, the features on the Samsung Indulge do actually disappoint a bit.
The Final Verdict
Overall the Samsung Indulge ranks in as an 'Average' smartphone. While it is the first ever 4G LTE smartphone, the Indulge really doesn't spout the high end features that are expected from a 4G smartphone. It's great that MetroPCS is aiming for the higher end data consumers with their 4G network, but the Samsung Indulge seems to lack the qualities associated with higher end smartphones that use the higher end data plans. The sorely lacking full QWERTY keyboard, the disappointing camera and the lack of a front facing camera make you wonder if the Indulge is a 4G smartphone. However, the actual network speed, the clean design and the fast processor do help to make up for those cons, but ultimately the Samsung Indulge remains an average smartphone.
- Source: Author's experience
- Image Credit: Wirelessandmobilenews.com, http://www.wirelessandmobilenews.com/0211art/SamsungIndulge.JPG
- Image Credit: Gadgetell.com, http://admintell.napco.com/ee/images/uploads/gadgetell/samsung-indulge.jpg