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Samsung Instinct s30 hands-on

The story reads something like this. Once upon a time, I contacted the friendly people at Sprint and asked for a Palm Pre review unit in time for launch day…

Unfortunately, they were unable to accommodate my request due to lack of devices, so instead, I just picked up a Palm Pre on launch day and returned it within 30 days. As a consolation prize, they were kind enough to provide me with a Samsung Instinct s30!

But wait, the Samsung Instinct s30 is a CDMA touchscreen feature phone with a basic camera. I only review smartphones, or phones with cameras that, at a minimum, feature auto-focus with macro. I only deal with GSM devices, and rarely cover CDMA phones. Oh noes :)

Well, I did the graceful thing – instead of a full review, I did a hands-on, all the while keeping an open mind and adjusting my expectations.

Take a look at my pictures and unboxing video.

– Attractive copper finish
– Small, thin, and light
– Nice, bright touchscreen (albeit resistive)
– 3G (EVDO Rev. 0) and GPS
– Accelerometer and haptic feedback
– Good battery life
– Bluetooth ObEx (file transfer/sync), and A2DP (stereo audio)
– Standard 3.5 mm audio connector
– USB 2.0 mass storage support
– Easily accessible micro-SD slot
– USB data cable and 1 GB micro-SD card supplied with device
– Two HTML web browsers (native & Opera 4.2)
– Configurable messaging client (POP3/IMAP support)
– Included bundle of services (Turn-by-turn navigation, TV, music store)

– Poor 2 megapixel camera (no auto-focus, macro, or flash)
– No WiFi
– Proprietary USB/power connector
– Poor user interface (no TouchWiz)
– No multitasking other than music
– No gapless music playback
– No configurable IM client (no Jabber support)
– Hit & miss Java support
– No iSync support (but vCard support)
– No Bluetooth DUN (tethering)

I snapped some pictures with the camera. Exposure is pretty accurate, but colors are washed out, details are lacking, and the sensor is rather noisy – judge for yourself:

To me, the Samsung Instinct s30 is not particularly compelling, especially for the price ($99 with a 2-year contract) – then again, I’m not the target audience for this device.

If you’re a Sprint customer, I think the BlackBerry Curve (currently $49) or the Palm Pre ($199) are significantly better choices (and are both smartphones).

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