Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G review: The middle man
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, as the far too long name suggests, is yet another incarnation of the original Galaxy S. Sure, it has grown an extra CPU core, to go with its 42Mbps network connectivity, but at the end of the day, the newcomer packs a lot of the I9000 DNA and hardware.
Thankfully, the CPU and chipset of the Galaxy S Blaze 4G, unlike the rest of its hardware, have not remained in 2010. The smartphone packs Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 silicon with two Scorpion cores, clocked at 1.5GHz. Throw in NFC connectivity, and we are looking at a seriously capable, 2012 mid-range smartphone. Here goes the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G full list of talents.
- Quad-band GSM and tri-band 3G support
- 42 Mbps HSDPA and 5.76 Mbps HSUPA support
- 4" 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen of WVGA (480 x 800 pixels) resolution
- Android OS v2.3.6 with TouchWiz 4 launcher
- 1.5 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
- Hot swappable SIM and microSD cards
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n support
- GPS with A-GPS connectivity; Digital compass
- 3GB internal storage, microSD slot (4GB card preinstalled)
- Accelerometer, gyroscope and proximity sensor
- Standard 3.5 mm audio jack
- Stereo Bluetooth v3.0
- Functional NFC support with a dedicated app out of the box
- Document editor
- File manager comes preinstalled
- Incredibly rich video format playback support
- No dedicated camera button
- The screen is let down by its PenTile matrix
- It is March 2012. Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread out of the box does not cut it anymore
- Ridiculous amount of non-removable T-Mobile bloatware with zero functionality
As far as specifications and looks are concerned, the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G appears to be mostly a shrunken copy of one of T-Mobile's Android flagships - the Samsung Galaxy S II. This is definitely not bad news for the handset, as there are plenty of people out there who find the 4.52" sporting Galaxy S II a tad too large.
While the upsides of having a powerful CPU, packed into a compact body are more than evident, we can't help but look at the PenTile matrix sporting screen with a dash of suspicion. The same applies to the TouchWiz-ed Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread of the smartphone - it is not exactly cutting edge this time around.
As always, we are going to kick this review off by unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, 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 S Blaze 4G for T-Mobile 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!