Samsung Captivate Glide Review – AT&T Wireless

In today’s world, phone manufacturers are quickly phasing out physical keyboards on phones in favor of faster, thinner phones that feature nothing but virtual keyboards. Samsung didn’t go that route with the Captivate Glide, their 4-inch full QWERTY slide that is currently available on AT&T Wireless. If you like phones with physical keyboards, then you’re most-likely going to like the Samsung Captivate Glide, a phone that some would call a cross between the Galaxy S and the Galaxy S II, with a keyboard, of course.

The Captivate Glide on AT&T features a nice 4-inch Super AMOLED display, a fast dual-core processor, Android 2.3 Gingerbread, front and rear-facing cameras, full QWERTY keyboard, and more.

Check out our full review to see what we thought of the Captivate Glide.

The Good

  • Screen – While the 4-inch display isn’t a Super AMOLED Plus, it’s still a Super AMOLED and it still looks very nice. Colors are always bright, darks are always nice and dark, and you get a nice picture each time
  • Battery life – Yes, the Captivate Glide doesn’t have a crazy 3300mAh battery like the recently released Droid RAZR MAXX, but at the same time, it doesn’t have an LTE, so the 1650mAh battery does a pretty good job.
  • Keyboard – If you like keyboards on phones, then you’ll love the full slide-out QWERTY keyboard on the Captivate Glide. The 4-row keyboard has enough spacing and feels very good on the fingers
  • Look and feel – The phone isn’t too heavy or too light. Holding it feels good, especially the textured back cover
  • Fast performance – The dual-core NVIDIA Tegra2 processor makes the phone fast and highly responsive.
  • Price – At $149 with a new 2-year contract, you won’t be spending too much to get a great phone.

The Bad

  • No Android 4.0 – Unfortunately, the Captivate Glide still runs on Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There’s no telling if/when the phone will be upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. It definitely has the power to be upgraded.
  • No LTE – Now that AT&T is rolling out its 4G LTE network, the Captivate Glide could’ve been an even better phone if it had access to the fast data network.

Hardware / Design

The best way to describe the Samsung Captivate Glide is by calling it a smaller Galaxy S II with a full QWERTY keyboard. It’s smaller than the Galaxy S II simply because it contains a 4-inch display, compared to the 4.3 and 4.5-inch displays that is currently available on the Galaxy S II phones. The phone isn’t thin either; at 13.7mm thick, it’s one of the thicker phones out there. The extra thickness can be blamed on the keyboard, and in my opinion, it’s worth the extra thickness because the keyboard is a winner.

Full specs wise, the Samsung Captivate Glide features a 4-inch Super AMOLED display with 800 x 480 resolution; a fast dual-core 1GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor; 1GB of RAM; 8GB of internal storage, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera; an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera that’s capable of shooting video at 720P HD, a nice 1650mAh batter; Bluetooth 3.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, and more. All of these specs are crammed into a phone that weighs just 5.2 ounces and is only 13.7mm thick.

On the front of the Captivate Glide, you have your 800 x 480 resolution 4-inch Super AMOLED display. If you’ve used any Samsung phone with a Super AMOLED display, you probably know what to expect; great colors. Although the phone only has a 4-inch display, it doesn’t feel that small. Maybe it’s because of the overall thickness of the phone, who knows.

On the top right corner, you have you front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera. The camera is very useful for taking self-portraits and especially for video chat using Google Talk and other video messaging apps, such as Skype. On the top left corner, you have your usual proximity and ambient light sensors, two things that are pretty much guaranteed on Android devices.

Surprisingly, Samsung decided to leave out the notification LED on the Captivate Glide; so you will have to unlock your phone after a period of inactivity to see if you have any missed calls, emails, or text messages waiting for you. I still don’t know why manufacturers leave this extremely useful feature out. I personally think that it should be a requirement on all phones.

Towards the bottom of the front, you have your usual 4 capacitive touch buttons: menu, home, back, and search.

On the back of the Captivate Glide, you have you 8-megapixel camera with LED flash. The camera on the CG is top notch and produces great pictures. In addition, it allows you to capture video at 720P (yeah, I know, 1080P would’ve been better). To the right of the camera, you have the phone’s speaker. Overall, the performances of the speakers were pretty good. Listening to music or using the speakerphone was a good experience.

The back cover is made out of the same plastic material that Samsung uses on pretty much all of their phones. While some people don’t like the feel of the back cover, I thought that it had a nice texture to it. Although the back cover is made out of plastic, it doesn’t feel like it’s cheap material.

Removing the plastic cover reveals the phone’s 1650mAh battery, microSD card and SIM card slot. The phone comes with 8GB of internal storage. Although it does have room for a microSD card, you will have to provide that on your own. The 1650mAh battery will give you enough juice to get you through the day.

On the right side of the phone, you have nothing but your power button, which is located toward the top. The left side was kept pretty minimalist, too, with only the volume rockers available toward the top. Instead of placing the micro USB port on the bottom of the phone, Samsung decided to place it, along with the 3.5mm headphone jack, along the top edge of the phone. The bottom edge of the phone was left port-less/

Display

Samsung decided to go with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display on the Captivate Glide. Although the Super AMOLED display still offers a great viewing experience, it’s not as rich as the Super AMOLED Plus or the Super AMOLED HD displays, and that is mostly because of its low 800 x 480 resolution. Despite it being a regular old Super AMOLED, colors are nice and bright while blacks appear deep and rich.

Would it have been nice if Samsung included a nicer display on the Captivate Glide? Of course; who doesn’t want a better display? Unfortunately, it wouldn’t have been possible for them to do so while also keeping the price of the phone low.

Keyboard

The Captivate Glide is one of the few phones that actually contain a very good keyboard, in my opinion. Motorola and the Droid, Droid 2, and Droid 3 are other phones that contain great full slide-out QWERTY keyboards. Unlike the keyboard on the Droid 3, sliding out the keyboard on the Captivate Glide doesn’t take much work; the mechanism makes for a smooth experience.

The keyboard itself is a 4-row keyboard with dedicated Android buttons home, menu, search, and back, which is a great addition. Everything you need access to is right there on the keyboard. Besides the F and J keys that have slight notches to help you position your fingers, all of the keys are flush with the pad. Using the keyboard will take a little getting used to simply because of how smooth it is against the pad.

The keys are all rounded squares, with the exception of the four dedicated Android buttons which are oblong. The keyboard contains backlighting so you won’t have any problems typing away in the dark.

Overall, I liked the keyboard on the Captivate Glide. There were many times at first where I had a hard time adjusting to the keyboard, but with time, I became an expert at using the keyboard, despite it having raised letters

Software

The Captivate Glide runs Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread, with Samsung’s TouchWiz UI running above it, of course. TouchWiz is your usual TouchWiz. It features a number of widgets and apps that aren’t available in standalone Gingerbread. While I don’t like manufacturers laying their own UIs on top of Android, I understand why they do it, and if I had to pick one OEM UI, TouchWiz would be my choice.

One of the cool features of TouchWiz includes the notification panel with built-in toggles for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Flight Mode, and Screen Rotation. With all of the power savings toggles directly on the notification screen, there’s no need to add the widget to any of your home screens.

Like all phones nowadays, with the exception of certain Nexus devices, the Captivate Glide also comes with a number of unnecessary bloatware apps that you don’t really need. Luckily, some of these apps can be easily uninstalled. Preinstalled on the device, you will find non-wanted apps such as Amazon Kindle, Asphalt 6, a number of AT&T apps, Qik Lite, Yellow Pages, and more.

Will the phone ever get upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich? Nobody knows at the moment. We know that Samsung has had some issues with upgrading their phones in the past, and fact that this one is runs TouchWiz on top can only mean that the update process to 4.0 will probably take a while.

Cameras

The Captivate Glide features both front and rear-facing cameras. While the 1.3-megapixel front-facer is generally used for video chats, it could also be used to takes low quality pictures, if you really wanted to. The rear-facing camera features an 8-megapixel sensor that is also capable of recording video at 720P.

Take a look at the pictures below to see the quality of the images. Overall, I think that that the camera on the Captivate Glide took some decent pictures. The quality of the pictures might not be as sharp as those found on the Galaxy S II line of phones, but you won’t get terrible pictures either. While there is a slight shutter delay when taking pictures in less than perfect conditions, the delay wasn’t as bad as that experienced with the Motorola Droid Bionic.

Front camera samples


      

Rear camera samples

    

    

    

Video wise, it would have been great if the Captivate Glide recorded videos at 1080P, after all, all the other cameras easily doing it now. The quality of the video was decent (once again, not on par with the Galaxy S II line of phones). Although the audio was always great, the video contained some noise and was pretty soft.

Samsung Captivate Glide 720P HD Video Sample



Mobile viewing link

Performance / Battery Life

When it comes to the processors, Samsung usually goes with their own Exynos chip. With the Captivate Glide, they decided to go with NVIDIA’s dual-core Tegra 2 processor clocked at 1GHz. You can definitely feel the power of the dual-core processor in the Captivate Glide. Navigating between screens produced no noticeable lag, even after long periods of use and days upon days of continuous up-time.


    
Battery life on the Captivate Glide

Battery wise, I was pretty impressed with the battery on the Captivate Glide. With my regular usage, I was able to go a full day on a single charge. On many occasions, I was able to stretch it to a full 24 hours on a single charge, with the longest being 27 hours.


    
Speed Tests on the Captivate Glide

Of course, the reason for the stellar battery life is the lack of an LTE radio. Without an LTE radio, you have no choice to but to rely on AT&T’s 21Mbps HSPA+ network. There were times when I was very lucky and managed to get 1.5-2Mbps download speeds; unfortunately, most of the time I was limited to 200-400Kbps. As often as I could, I relied on Wi-Fi networks because I found them more reliable. This is not a fault of the Captivate Glide, it’s actually just AT&T’s network.

For those of you who love Quadrant benchmark scores, you will be happy to know that the Captivate Glide scored high numbers in my tests. On average, the phone received a score of 3100+ each time I ran the test. Despite it not having an Exynos chip, the phone still does its thing with NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 processor.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking for a great phone that has both a nice battery life and a full QWERTY keyboard and are currently on AT&T or are looking to switch to AT&T, I recommend that you get the Captivate Glide. At $150 on a 2-year contract, it is a great phone that won’t completely leave you broke. The dual-core processor makes it super-fast, and its long-lasting battery will have you powered for an entire day and more.

In addition to the nice battery life and processor, the Captivate Glide features a full QWERTY keyboard features dedicated Android keys, back lighting, and is easy to adapt to. Once you get used to it, typing on it feels smooth and natural.

If you don’t mind not having an LTE device and are seeking a phone with a physical keyboard on AT&T, the Captivate Glide is my recommendation. To get the Samsung Captivate Glide, you can head over to Amazon Wireless or go directly to AT&T Wireless.

At the time of this review, Amazon Wireless is selling the Captivate Glide for $79.99 compared to AT&T’s $150.

Jonathan converted to the Android platform from Blackberry with the original Motorola Droid. He currently has a Samsung Galaxy Nexus complete with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on Verizon Wireless, a Motorola Xoom, and a Kindle Fire. Besides keeping up with Android news, he enjoys spending time with his family, gaming, reading, and computers. Google+

  • no comments? am i the only fool who bought this phone? the keyboard is ok, but instead of all that empty space, they should have added a 5th row instead. the screen could have been slightly bigger, it charges very slow, doesnt charge when using it…. but here is the deal breaker…. NO LED NOTIFICATION???? You have to constantly check your phone like a looser to see if you have a missed call or sms…. i want to return it tommorrow but what else is comparable???? NOTHING, QWERTY is dying out in North America, just like Standard transmissions in cars! Why are North Americans so lazy and only buy iphones and iphone clones?

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