Samsung Transform on Sprint Review
The Samsung Transform was first available through Sprint on October 10, 2010. The Transform is a slider Android 2.1 smartphone manufactured by Samsung as a mid-range device. At first glance, it looks like the Samsung Epic 4G, but upon closer inspection of its features, you’ll notice soon enough that it is a mid-range device. However, for $50, it is quite the bargain for someone looking for a solid phone that won’t break the bank, nor astound your friends with amazing features. Just as a disclaimer, when the Samsung Transformer originally launched, it sold for $150 on a new two year contract. However, at the time of the review, January 1, 2011, the Samsung Transform is available on Sprint for $50.
In terms of screen size, it sports a 3.5 inch TFT HVGA 480 x 320 resolution screen that is both responsive and colorful. Again, it is not the Super AMOLED display typical of high end Samsung devices, but it certainly gets the job done. It has 256MB of RAM and 512MB of ROM and a 800 MHz processor. As a result of its lower processor, multi-tasking and frequent switching between apps can be sluggish at times. Unfortunately, game play such as Angry Birds takes a beating from the lower processor speed and the game is slightly sluggish. It doesn’t ruin the game experience, but certainly takes away from it. As I already mentioned, it runs on Android 2.1 with a promise from Sprint to be upgraded to Android 2.2 “later this year.” Since it is marketed as a mid-range device, the fact that it is on an outdated OS isn’t terrible, and thankfully it will be upgraded at a later date. Wi-Fi, GPS, Android Market access, and Bluetooth are standard on the device. Lastly, it comes with a 3.2MP rear facing camera and a VGA front facing camera.
Design and Display
The Samsung Transform measures out at 2.42 x 4.61 x 0.61 inches and weighs 5.4 ounches. The slider QWERTY keyboard adds weight and depth to the device, but it still fits comfortably in the hand and pocket. The 3.5 inch display is a nice, average size for the phone and should fit in any sized hand.
I like the QWERTY keyboard a lot because it is very spacious and the buttons are very responsive. There are four rows of keys and there is a dedicated smiley face button and an @ button. To access the top row of numbers, you must hit the FN button first and then the corresponding number. The slider keyboard opens smoothly and the spring-loaded action helps move it along. Unfortunately, the on-screen keyboard is the pre-loaded Android keyboard, which is a decent keyboard. Most high-end Android smartphones now come with Swype pre-loaded, which would certainly make the Transform better. However, the idea is to use its slider QWERTY keyboard for anything longer than a quick message, so the on-screen keyboard is negligible.
The back cover of the Transform comes in a black finish and bears the Sprint and Samsung logo. The Samsung Transform comes in only Black Pearl color. On the bottom of the screen are the four characteristic Android soft touch buttons. From left to right are menu, home, return, and search.
Android 2.1 is at least a modern version of Android, even if it is not the preferred Android 2.2. Probably the most interesting feature of the Samsung Transform is Sprint’s integration of Sprint ID. The idea behind Sprint ID is users can download custom made packs which focus on a theme. You can switch through five ID Packs after you download them, and each ID is free. As a result of ID’s, the Transform doesn’t actually come with a whole lot of apps pre-installed with the understanding that most users would download one of the many ID packs available.
The ID Packs currently available include Small Biz, MTV, Where, Yahoo!, Lo2yo Latino, Sprint, Auto Enthusiast, Business Pro, Fashion and Beauty, Entertainment, Golf Enthusiast, Health and Fitness, Home Base, Socially Connected, The Big Apple, Lo2yo Futbol, Lo2yo Mujer, EA, and Clean. Each ID Pack comes loaded with special apps, widgets, wallpapers, and ringtones. No matter your interests or preferences, you should be able to find at least one ID Pack that works.
Granted, it is simpler to download the apps yourself as you will probably end up downloading a few extras you desire, but the concept is practical, especially for those looking to switch between work and play ID Packs.
As I previously mentioned, the Samsung Transform will be upgraded to Android 2.2 at a later date. Initially, Sprint promised an upgrade by the end of 2010, but obviously that won’t be happening. Hopefully the update will be coming in Q1 of 2011, because Android 2.2 should speed things up a little bit.
The Transform takes pretty decent photos with its rear facing 3.2MP camera and the video resolution is decent as well. Of course, don’t expect it to take quality pictures as you would expect from the EVO 4G or the Epic 4G, but the pictures are certainly above average. Video conferencing works decently on 3G, but much better on Wi-Fi. And all you need to start video conferencing is an app, such as Fring, and a friend with a front facing camera.
The 2GB pre-installed microSD card could hold enough songs to suffice for maybe a month, but it would probably be wise to insert a larger microSD card if you have a large music library or plan on taking a lot of photos.
My main complaint with the Samsung Transform is that it barely gets through the day and I don’t even use the Transform that heavily. Expect to charge the Transform fully if you use it moderately. I understand smartphones typically do not have stellar battery lives, but on a phone with a smaller screen and smaller processor, I’d expect at least to get through with the day with close to 50% of the battery.
For $50, you are getting a pretty basic smartphone with the ability to video conference, a slider QWERTY keyboard, and support for ID Packs. Those are the three standout features of the device. I’d say it is definitely one of the better smartphones you can get for such an inexpensive price, and even though the original price of $150 was a bit expensive, $50 makes a lot more sense.
Having reviewed a similarly spec’d phone in the Samsung Intercept, I would say the Transform is a better phone due to a better screen, improved keyboard, ID Packs, and two cameras.