Samsung Moment Review

Samsung Moment Review

The Samsung Moment is the first Android device from Samsung, and it is exclusive to Sprint.

Google Android OSIt has some pretty impressive specifications, such as an 800 MHz processor and a simply stunning 3.2-inch, HVGA, AM-OLED display, along with the usual suspects like a GPS receiver, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi b/g wireless networking.

It launched this week for $180 after $50 instant savings and a $100 mail-in rebate.


I really like the overall look of the Moment. It has something of an edge, an industrial look that is slightly different than most phones, and a little cooler, but not so outlandish that you'll feel strange using it in public. Most of that is due to the cool cutout design at the top of the device; I find it to be strangely appealing. The edges are rounded and everything is silver and black. The Moment is a slider-style device, with the top (screen) portion of the device in silver, with the bottom portion (including the QWERTY keyboard) in black.

This device is on the large side (4.6 x 2.34 x 0.63 inches), but it doesn't feel too big in the hand. It's slightly longer than an iPhone, not as wide, but somewhat thicker. Weight-wise, it's in the middle of the pack -- not a featherweight, but not too heavy either: 5.7 oz. It is still pocketable, but only just barely, and not the sort of thing you'd want to slip into your pocket if you're dressed up and want to avoid any unsightly bulges.

Buttons and controls are rather minimal, with Call and Disconnect buttons on the bottom of the screen. The Home, Menu, and Back buttons are touch-sensitive, and there's an optical joystick as well. The joystick may take some getting used to at first; I found it to be a bit too "wild" and oversensitive, and prefer interacting with the phone via touchscreen instead.

The volume control is on the left side of the device, and a standard headphone jack is on the top--it's hidden by a permanently attached cover when not in use. The sync/charge port (also covered), camera button, and voice recognition button are on the right side. The microSD slot is underneath the back cover of the device, and you do have to remove the battery to access the slot.

The AM-OLED display literally shines -- it looks absolutely gorgeous. It's going to be hard going back to my LG Dare once the review period is over, because after just a few hours of using the Moment I'm completely spoiled. Pictures look true to life, videos are clear, and games just seem to pop off the screen. Even better, I didn't have any problems seeing the screen even when I was outside in the sun this morning.

In other words, this display is what all the other mobile devices out there wish they had -- it's that good.

The slide-out keyboard is really nice -- large, well lit, and easy to use. At first I had trouble getting the hang of it, because the keys don't stick up all that much, but when I just started typing and stopped worrying about it, I found that the keyboard was much better than my first impression of it had led me to believe.

It has four rows of keys, with a dedicated row of numbers at the top. Everything else is in a logical place, from the arrow and shift keys to the double-sized space bar in the middle of the bottom row of keys. There isn't a great deal of travel in the keys, but they are nicely spaced and I didn't have any trouble with accidentally hitting the wrong keys.

The keyboard is lighted for use in low-light situations. The letter and number keys were very easy to see, though the smaller blue symbols for the secondary punctuation marks were a little harder to make out. Thankfully the function key is "sticky" so you just have to press it once and then press the desired punctuation mark; you don't have to hold it down while you hunt for the one you want.


One of my most important requirements for a mobile device is that it just works -- no delays, no crashes, no annoying little quirks. The Moment passed that test with flying colors, in large part due to the beefy 800 MHz processor. Apps launch quickly, and my every command was carried out almost instantaneously, with no waiting.

Sprint coverage dropped below three bars; at that point I was still able to watch YouTube videos, etc. though there was a small delay while waiting for videos to load.

But as far as regular use is concerned, everything from contacts to calendars is lightning fast and a joy to use.

Wireless/Call Quality
Call quality is simply excellent. I made some test calls outside this morning while a commercial yard crew was working nearby; one of my test callers simply couldn't believe that I was standing outside with a guy on a riding lawnmower less than fifty yards away and another guy with a weed whacker just behind me--he would have sworn that I was inside my office! Calls come through loud and clear, and there was no interference and no problems whatsoever with background noise.

Wi-Fi works great with the Moment, which is great because Sprint's coverage at my house is rather poor. Setup was simple, just a matter of entering in my WEP key. After that I was flying along and really enjoying the best email and web browsing experience the Moment has to offer.

While the Moment has a full QWERTY keyboard, you probably aren't going to use it to write the next great novel; the key here isn't so much Office-type applications as keeping you connected while you're on the go. The email app is great, of course -- it works flawlessly with GMail. and the file viewer does allow you to view text and PDF documents as well as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files that are sent to you as attachments. Don't worry if you haven't yet joined the cult of GMail, because the Moment works well with a variety of other email services such as Yahoo, Windows Live, and others.

The web browser is spectacular, offering a robust experience that is clear and easy to use. The default view is easy to read, but if you need to zoom in just tap the screen to bring up the controls and then touch the plus and minus bars as needed. If you want to see the whole page at once, tap the box in the lower right corner of the screen and then drag with your finger to scroll and tap to select a particular area for a closer view.

Other productivity applications include Calendar and Contacts, which work flawlessly with your Google account once you complete the simple five second setup process of typing in your username and password. You'll also find an alarm clock a calculator, the Gallery photo and video viewer, Google Maps (which worked much better for me than Sprint Navigation), and Google Talk.

The Sprint Moment includes the typical suite of Sprint entertainment applications such as NASCAR Mobile, NFL Mobile, and Sprint TV. There are also a few applications that seem to come standard with Android devices such as the Amazon MP3 store and a rather basic Music app that organizes your songs by artist or album, or you can make your own playlists. The YouTube client works exceptionally well, with smooth scrolling through video lists and great picture quality. If you enjoy watching YouTube videos on the go, the Moment is a great choice because even relatively low quality videos look great.

A Bejeweled 2 demo is also included, and while we've all probably played a lot more of Bejeweled than we're willing to admit, it does serve as a great demonstration of the beautiful AM-OLED screen. It also was useful for me as a sort of "trainer" for the optical joystick; after a few rounds of the demo I was better able to use the joystick for navigation. The touchscreen is still easier for me, but it's nice to have the option.

The camera is a slight disappointment at only 3.2 megapixels. It performed fairly well in testing, taking good (but not great) shots. There were a few exposure issues, especially in shots that included sunny and shady areas in the same photo.

Camera setting are somewhat minimal, mainly offering a choice of picture quality and whether or not you want to geo-tag your photos, but not much else. There is a flash, but it isn't strong enough to rely on in extreme low light conditions. Overall the camera is adequate for infrequent use but isn't really capable of competing with a standalone digital camera by any stretch of the imagination.

Battery Life
After an extended period of testing, I've found that battery life is a concern with the Samsung Moment. After leaving the device plugged in overnight and starting with a full charge each morning, the battery is typically down about 25% to 50% by late afternoon. The only active usage (aside from being on standby) generally consisted of short phone calls, texting, and limited amounts of reading e-mail and browsing the web.
Of course there is quite a bit going on in the background too; I get regular alerts about new email messages and once a flash flood warning in my area -- which could be a potential lifesaver in severe weather situations. The Moment lasts all day and I am able to spend quite a bit of time during my commute (don't worry, I use public transit!) checking email and surfing the Web, but I always breathe a sigh of relief when I get back home to the AC adapter.

This device has never actually died on me, but I have gotten a low battery warning more than once. If you're a true road warrior, the Moment might not be the right device for you, unless you're disciplined about charging it every night. Otherwise you might find yourself with no directions and no way to contact your clients if the unthinkable happens on the way to your next business meeting.


The Samsung Moment is the first Android device from Samsung, and it's generally a winner. The display is simply gorgeous, and the call quality is so good your callers may not believe you're using a mobile phone.

If you're already heavily invested in Google for your calender, email, and contacts, you'll have a fabulous experience. If you don't you'll still have a good time but you won't as quickly have that "aha" sense of joy when all of your personal information is magically loaded into your phone.

The only slight drawback to the Moment is that it is relatively large and not *quite* as slick as the HTC Hero, but overall it's a really nice device that deserves a closer look -- unless you're a real photobug.

It's available now from Sprint for $180 with a two year service agreement, after a $100 mail-in rebate.


* Gorgeous AM-OLED display
* Exceptional call quality
* Easy to use, with a great user interface
* Good keyboard


* A little larger than many other phones
* Only a 3.2 megapixel camera