Are you thinking about stepping up to a smartphone? Do you have a tight budget that demands a new smartphone at a great price? If so, then the Samsung Exhibit 4G could be the perfect phone to meet your needs. This phone works with the Gingerbread v2.3 operating system from Android, offers users two cameras, and has a reasonably fast 1 GHz processor that will allow for user multitasking. Although the virtual keyboard is a bit compact and the camera software tends to lag just a bit, the budget-friendly price of this smartphone gives it a compelling case during the shopping process.
This Smartphone Gives You Affordable 4G Access
As a candy bar phone, the size of the Samsung Exhibit 4G is surprisingly large. It has corners that have been rounded at the top, but instead of rounded corners on the bottom, Samsung has given the phone a cut angle for an interesting visual appeal. At 4.7 inches in height and 2.3 inches in width, this phone weighs just a little more than 4 ounces. It’s not a phone that looks like you’ll have spent lots of money on it, but the soft touch finish makes the phone feel soft and comfortable. The finish also helps to eliminate fingerprint smudging issues that can creep up with phones like these.
The touchscreen offers 16 million color support, but is only 3.5 inches in size. The screen itself is responsive and has a nice brightness to it, but the glare from direct sunlight makes the phone almost impossible to use under those conditions. Users will want to put the phone into landscape mode with the accelerometer to do texting on the virtual keyboard. Browsing the internet is fine enough with the Exhibit as long as you get a mobile optimized website.
512 MB of RAM comes standard on this phone.
On top of the Android operating system is Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz user interface that isn’t always user friendly. If you like to pack in a lot of app icon shortcuts onto your homescreens, then you’ll love this phone. The initial setup has 5 different screens that can be accessed and users can setup two more screens as well. Gesture commands can help users access all of their screens at once, which is a nice feature, but the scrolling can sometimes be problematic since users have to use a swipe command to switch between the screens.
Accessing the phone’s features is simple enough with the exterior commands. 4 GB of storage comes standard with the mSD card, but it can recognize up to 32 GB of storage in total. The mUSB is curiously on the top of the phone instead of the bottom, situated right next to the 3.5 mm audio port. Watch out for the plastic covering on the mUSB – it tends to want to break off after some use.
What About the Features of the Samsung Exhibit 4G?
At a budget-friendly price, the 4G connectivity of this phone is going to be its primary feature. The Exhibit isn’t the most feature-rich smartphone on the market today, but it does carry a certain usefulness with it. Users will find the dual camera design to be useful enough, although the forward facing camera above the touchscreen is just VGA quality. The primary camera offers a 3 MP resolution instead, but there isn’t a shutter button, so the software for the camera has to be loaded in order to uswe it. It comes with GPS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi support, however, so connecting to a preferred network is easy enough to do.
The Samsung Exhibit 4G also allows you to set up a complete accounts system so that you can share to virtually any network. It’s possible to merge all of your online email accounts into this one notification system. Sync all of your contacts and your calendars together from these accounts as well so that you have an all-in-one contact system. Users will be able to even access their Twitter and Facebook accounts directly and even upload to services to Flickr.
These features are nice, but the syncing or importing of contacts into the Exhibit can sometimes be a frustrating process. Information errors happen frequently during the process, which requires a manual correct to the contact listing. In some ways, it may be easier to just input each contact directly since each contact needs to be manually checked to see if it is accurate.
Beyond that, users have the opportunity to access the full suite of Google apps and services that a smartphone should have. Google Maps with voice navigational directions is the highlight of these features, but Talk, Places, and YouTube also come pre-installed. The Exhibit puts users into the Android marketplace and the included music player is pretty standard, but does it’s job fairly well.
Could the Exhibit Come With Too Many Apps?
With the available storage, users are only going to get about 1 GB of workable space on their phone for downloads, apps, and images they wish to share. Many of the apps that come with the Samsung Exhibit 4G can’t be uninstalled either, which could be problematic for some users. Some of the apps, like Skype, are nice and useful. There are some TV and movie streaming options available as well, while AllShare allows users to share multimedia onto DLNA devices. The camera is a little problematic during video calls, but it works fine enough.
The cameras and camcorder features are standard. Timers, white balancing, and exposure tools are all included to help tinker with the perfect shot. Indoor pictures are taken fairly easily with this smartphone, but action images are very difficult to capture. Images that are in the indoors tend to look a little dull and muted, but it’s still better than not having a camera at all.
The replay of video on the Exhibit is nice and smooth. Although there isn’t image stabilization on the recording tools, users will find that they can walk and take videos without having the bouncy, jerking motions that typically come with a mobile camera. The volume is rather authentic without all of the background white noise and the colors are pretty good. This smartphone also allows uses to export their videos through email or to their preferred social network.
How Good Is the Call Quality?
Equipped with a quad-band design, the call quality on the Exhibit is above average. Voices tend to sound just a bit hollow over the phone and sounds from the background can be heard around the voice connection. Volume levels are good and can be adjusted. The loudspeaker conversations are equally as good, although it tends to mute the voice inputs that are sent from the Exhibit. Most connections are strong, don’t have interference, and the virtual keypad is easy enough to access and use.
The 4G speeds are definitely evident when using the exhibit. Although the Exhibit is capable of downloads speeds of up to 21 Mbps, much of the actual user experience depends on the local connections that are offered. The average user will typically see speeds that are about 30% of the stated capabilities of the phone. The primary benefit for the 4G connection comes from internet browsing, however, as it allows users the capability of downloading full websites instead of just the mobile friendly options.
The Samsung Exhibit 4G comes equipped with a lithium-ion 1500 mAh battery that’s rated for around 6 hous of talk time, but using data shrinks this time dramatically. Most users will find that they’ll need to charge this phone once per day.
It is a little difficult to use this phone with just one hand. Part of that is because of how smooth the phone is along the back. There’s really no straight edges to the design of the phone, so the natural tendency of it is to slip out of the hand.
What Is the Verdict on the Samsung Exhibit 4G?
For those who want a 4G phone and like the Android platform, the Samsung Exhibit 4G offers a tempting proposition. Although it is far from a premium smartphone, it does have enough strength in its hardware to provide a reasonably good user experience. The reduced screen size compared to other smartphones could be problematic to some users and the camera lag times could be an issue for those who love mobile photography, but overall this phone as the goods to meet most needs.
Any complaints for this phone are relatively minor. It’s an inexpensive smartphone that connects to virtually all business or social networks, offers video chat functionality, and has a good responsiveness outside of the shutter functioning on the camera. Heavy data consumers will want to bring along a backup battery pack or their charger so their phone won’t die on them, but otherwise the Samsung Exhibit 4G is a solid, budget-friendly phone that is definitely worth a consideration.