updated 06:05 pm EST, Thu January 6, 2011
We try Samsung's LTE phone for Verizon
Verizon has just launched a slew of phones at its 4G press event, and we had the opportunity to try the most mysterious device: an unnamed Samsung device widely believed to be the SCH-i520. It looks on the surface like an upsized Galaxy S with a 4.3-inch display, an eight-megapixel camera and a front camera, but some things have changed. We'll find out in our hands-on along with a gallery.
The display is certainly the centerpiece of the phone: apart from the larger screen working even more to create an impressive front, the Super AMOLED Plus behind it is very noticeable. There's none of the "fuzziness" associated with original Super AMOLED screens, and it's very easy on the eyes with rich colors. It may be too rich, but that's difficult to tell from event lighting. We were told it was higher resolution than 800x480, and it looked this way, but it couldn't be verified.
LTE speed is, of course, fast. Our own site takes one or two seconds longer than on Wi-Fi, but that the difference is so small is very nice. Skype mobile with video chat was only in demo form, but looked good.
The front camera is very much standard, but it's larger than some at 1.3 megapixels and integrated into the default camera app.
In the hand, the phone is comfortable and feels sturdy, although it still has that somewhat cheap feeling of Galaxy S phones. Notably, it's using four physical navigation buttons here, which have a nice tactile feel even if they can potentially break down the line.
Our main issue is the on-off quality of performance. Like the Galaxy S, the graphics are very fast and definitely help the subjective responsiveness. We still noticed jerkiness in the browser, though, and the 1GHz processor is unchanged from the Galaxy S devices we've seen from the past few months. We wish Samsung had used the 1.2GHz chip from the Infuse 4G to close the gap.
Verizon hasn't given pricing or ship dates for the i520, but it should arrive in the first half of the year.