Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate review: Exciting start
Announced at CES 2012 as an eco-centric phone, the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate I577 for AT&T offers plenty of functionality for a device with ecological credentials. Powered by a dual-core CPU, and sporting LTE network connectivity, the handset should be able to cater for the needs of all, but the most demanding smartphone users. Throw in an attractive price to the phone's list of features, and we have another strong entry-level smartphone candidate made by Samsung on our hands.
Samsung-made eco-friendly smartphones have been around on the US market for quite some time now, but never sold in numbers large enough to make a splash. The reason for this was simple - their spec sheets offered nothing to write home about, with their main highlights being the type of recycled materials used for making them.
The Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate is a slightly different case. True, most of its specs come directly from 2011, but they've been borrowed from some of 2011 top shelf Android smartphones. The Exhilarate features a Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 chipset with a dual-core CPU, clocked at 1.2GHz. LTE, 4" Super AMOLED screen, one gigabyte of RAM, and 5MP main snapper are also among the spec sheet's highlights. Here goes the smartphone's full list of talents.
- Quad-band GSM and quad-band 3G support
- 21 Mbps HSPA+ and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
- LTE network connectivity
- 4" 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (480 x 800 pixels) resolution
- Android OS v2.3.6 with TouchWiz 4 launcher
- 1.2 GHz Scorpion dual-core CPU, Adreno 220 GPU, Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 chipset, 1GB of RAM
- 5MP autofocus camera with LED flash, 720p video recording; 1.3MP front-facing unit
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support
- GPS with A-GPS connectivity; Digital compass
- 4GB internal storage, microSD slot
- Accelerometer and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Stereo Bluetooth v3.0
- Document editor
- File manager comes preinstalled
- Incredibly rich video format playback support
- Body made of 80% recycled materials
- Affordable price on a contract
- No dedicated camera button
- Screen has PenTile matrix
- Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread out of the box does not cut it anymore
- Its looks are overall unexciting
You might have noticed that the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate is quite closely related to the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile. The two handsets are practically identical save for the clock speed and the network connectivity. We do believe that the Galaxy Exhilarate is slightly underpowered in order to offset its LTE capability, which is a well-known energy hog.
We really wish that we didn't see Android 2.3 Gingerbread on the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate this far into 2012. The device has plenty of horsepower to handle Ice Cream Sandwich. What makes the issue even more painful is the lack of word on whether or not the I577 will receive an update.
If you are willing to compromise on the above issue, the Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate is a well-balanced Android smartphone, which will handle just about every task you throw at it with ease. Samsung have once again reached into their huge parts bin to create a device, which, although not destined to be a bestseller, will contribute to the company's growing market share.
As always, we'll kick the review off with an unboxing, followed by a design and build quality inspection.
Editorial: You might notice that this review is shorter than usual and doesn't include all of our proprietary tests. The reason is it has been prepared and written far away from our office and test lab. The Samsung Galaxy Exhilarate for AT&T is a US-only phone, so it will probably never get to the shores of the Old Continent. Still, we think we've captured the essence of the phone in the same precise, informative and detailed way that's become our trademark. Enjoy the good read!