Jul 20 AT 11:11 AM Nick Gray 52 Comments

Samsung Captivate launches on AT&T

AT&T customers rejoice! The Samsung Captivate (a Galaxy S phone) has launched this weekend on AT&T’s network.  I know, this post comes pretty late, but I wanted to get a little hands-on time with the new Captivate before sharing the news.  If in the last eight hours you jumped ship and moved your number over to another carried just because AT&T didn’t have any appealing Android phones, you might want to think about taking advantage of that 30 day termination policy that most carriers offer.

The new Samsung Captivate on AT&T is one of the best Android phones currently available in the U.S. market.  AT&T is selling the new phone for $199.99 with a new two year agreement bundled with a required data plan.  Those willing to buy the phone without signing their life away on the dotted line will be required to pay $499.99.

The phone itself is a little different than the Samsung Vibrant which launched on T-Mobile late last week.  Rather than having straight edges with rounded corners, the captivate features straight edges on the side of the phone while the top and bottom edges curve outward. The back side of the phone has a unique design as well.  The carriers probably chose to have different bodies on the phones so that they could maximize their revenue from accessory sales.  On the software side, Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 UI is pretty much identical to what we have seen on the Vibrant, but there are a few color tweaks that are barely noticeable.

If you’ve in the market for an Android phone on AT&T’s network, the Samsung Captivate should be at the very top of your list.  The 1GHz Hummingbird processor with dedicated GPU, Android 2.1, and Samsung’s 4 inch Super AMOLED display truly make the phone stand out from the competition and will definitely give AT&T customers a great rival to go head-to-head with the iPhone 4.

Feel free to let us know if you’ve picked up the Samsung Captivate already and what your initial thoughts are so far.

Source: At&t

Nick is a tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC and its devices. Nick joined the Android and Me family in the summer of 2010.

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  • http://Website John

    Got it on Sunday. Loving it.

    • http://Website Danix180

      Picked it up yesterday. Most impressive. Very responsive and slick design.

      Let me tell you about my experience at the ATT store. This proves so well the love relation between Apple and ATT.

      I went to check out the phone in store before I bought it and guess what. The display Captivate was not working. They stuck it in a corner turned off with a broken power plug; it was like on purpose. While the Apple stand was bright and shiny, with 3 impeccable phones and a big iPhone logo under a colorful projector.

      REALLY !!! Really ATT, this is how you sell phones on the first week of release? I’m SO glad I got rid of my 3G. I was sick entire of the ATT-Apple shenanigans.

      My impressions about the Captivate… 5 stars. But I’ll still start with the cons (I’m a critic by nature)

      - no flash on back camera
      - the plastic on the back ( not the metal cover) feels too cheap. I would prefer a matte plastic.
      - they removed essential apps for me like FM Radio. And they put the ATT bloatware
      - touch buttons are hard to spot in the dark. I got to get used.

      - Gorgeous screen – AMAZING !!!
      - Fast and responsive
      - Awesome design ( i just love that metal battery cover)
      - Replacement battery (costs like 30 $)
      - Android is generation ahead of iOS. You gotta try this.
      - Open Android Market.
      - Over the Air backup and OS Updates (hopefully ATT won’t screw this).

      • http://Website Seth

        I’m a developer for both devices – android and ios. And if you think android is a generation ahead, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

    • http://Website peisha

      Actually, with one of the official screenshot, it appears it has front facing camera as well. Samsung Captivate Impressions

      • http://Website Loren Wyatt

        Love the Captivate….lost my iPhone 4 and bought this as a replacement. MUCH better than the iPhone 4, but it DOES NOT have the front camera :( Everything else, except the back side (which I use a protective case anyway) is a WIN ! I’d go with the captivate over the iPhone 4. DEFINITELY…..and I’m an Apple fan !

  • http://pnebleu.com Daniel

    I got mine on Sunday, no contract for $349 + tax at an AT&T store. I love it, I moved over from a Blackberry Bold 9000. Startup time is so much faster than Blackberry’s.

    I’ve moved to ADW.Launcher, because I have noticed a slight lag when switching apps and back and forth on the home screen. I’ve had Advanced Taks Killer running, so I’m going to disable that to see if it makes a difference. I’m still trying to determine the root of the lag issue. But by no means does it turn me off of this phone.

    The screen is great and battery life is good too (Monday, I used it throughout the day at work, demo-ing to coworkers, and spent a couple hours on the phone in the evening before I had to plug it back in. At home and work I was connected to Wi-Fi, so that may have helped the battery life a lot.). I had a few issues finding GPS satellites with Google Nav, but I had the wireless location setting on and it was somewhat cloudy. I’ll be try the Nav later this week with wireless location disabled.

    I have not yet rooted or side-loaded any apps yet, but I’ve been downloading the .apk files for the apps I want to install.

    I’m looking for a good podcast app similar to PodTrapper on Blackberry, but haven’t found one yet. I want to download the files so streaming the audio is not preferred. Google Listen has limited functionality and doubletwist requires plugging into a PC.

    Let me know if anyone has questions about the phone, I’ll try to answer.

    • http://Website Miguel

      So you can install non-Market apps on this AT&T device?

      • http://Website Derek

        You can install non-market apps to it, there are a couple of ways to get around this. Droid Explorer, adb, or modify the settings.db database to allow it.

        Personally, I modified the settings.db database to allow any apk to be downloaded and installed.

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

      I would recommend running without a task manager first. That phone has a lot of ram, so if anything, using a task manager will only slow things down, rather than speed things up, as programs will no longer be in memory. If later on you feel you need it, go for it :)

      Also, get ready for a HUGE boost in performance in a few months when you get Android 2.2

      • http://pnebleu.com Daniel

        I was thinking the same thing about the task manager. I am eagerly anticipating the 2.2 release.

        Miguel, non-Market apps have to be installed using non-standard techniques. I have not done this yet, but people have successfully installed 3rd party apps with the SDK and USB debugging or rooting the phone. I don’t have the details on how to do this, but a simple Google search will lead you to the right place in the forums. (I don’t know which Market apps are blocked when connected to AT&T.)

      • http://pnebleu.com Daniel

        Disabling the task manager completely fixed the issue. Thanks.

    • chris0101

      How did you get it for as low as $349? It is $500 unlocked on the AT&T website.

    • Maximosis

      Try DogCatcher it’s a paid app but works very well it handles all my podcast needs.

  • http://Website Miguel Lopez

    How is it better than the Vibrant they both do the same thing just different Design thats all. Sure they come with different Exclusive apps and all I just dont see how its better than the Vibrant. I have the Vibrant with me for a few days since 7/16 and its a good phone. I love the Vibrant Design, AT&T’s looks kinda weird but still is a great phone.

    Someone Explain to me Why is it better than the Vibrant? ……a little confused

    • http://Website matt

      I don’t think anyone said the captivate was better than the vibrant. They are almost identical.

      • http://Website Miguel Lopez

        I know my bad I read it wrong I was reading it a little too fast my mistake.

  • http://Website Tim

    Got it Sunday….love it. This workaround gets some of the blocked apps in the market :)

    Turn airplane mode on so your AT&T connection is off. Then turn on your Wifi connection and go into the Android market. Then you will be able to download apps from the android market that would normally be blocked otherwise.

    • http://www.google.com/profiles/anakin78z anakin78z

      Whoa, what apps are blocked in the market?

      • http://sundazed.net iSunday


        You are just limited to Market apps without rooting your phone.

        • http://Website Derek

          Not true, some market apps are blocked by AT&T. That is why for some apps you must put the phone in airplane mode, turn on wifi then go to the market to find them.

  • Snafu77

    I’m on T-mo and have a N1 so I’m not in the market but Delta’s Frequent Flyer program sent me an email about their setup with Android phones on all carriers. Yesterday they had the Captivate Free with contract. Today its $99. letstalk .com/deltadroid Every other email they’ve ever sent me about a “deal” was worthless until this. letstalk is supposed to have any carrier’s android phone for $50 less than the carrier.

  • sigamore

    Does anyone know if there’s an option to get the Captivate UNLOCKED?

    • Nick Gray

      You can get the phone without contract, but it will still be SIM locked to At&t. However, if oyu’ve been with them before and have an accoun in good standing, they typically will give you the unlock code if you ask nicely.

      If you’re simply looking for an unlocked Galaxy S, just hit up an cell phone import store online and you should be able to find one for a little under $600.

  • http://sundazed.net iSunday

    I got mine yesterday morning after being unable to pick it up on Sunday…

    Everything is perfect except for one thing… I am experiencing VERY varying signal strengths with my phone and with my wifi. I am sitting 7 feet from my router, and it bounces from 2 bars of signal strength to none.

    My phone signal strength has had the same issue… I will be sitting here getting 0-2 bars in a house that always got 3-4 on my iPhone 3G.

    My guess is that I have a bum phone, because I haven’t seen anything like this, but I thought I would see if the problem is out there.

    Given that this is my first android phone… if I go to exchange it, how do I “backup” and “restore” so that I don’t have to re-download all of my apps and go through my customization process again.


    • http://Website Darkseider

      Turn off the iPhone 4 simulator app and your signal problems should go away.

      • http://sundazed.net iSunday

        +1 and a har har, haha.

        But, that really doesn’t help me. Headed to the mall, and ill exchange the phone… I’ll be sure to update on whether it was just this phone… I haven’t read anything about weak wifi, so I’m still assuming it is just this phone.

    • Nick Gray

      No way to really make a full backup of your settings and customizations unless you have root. Be sure to let us know if getting the phone swapped out actually fixes any of the issues.

  • http://www.ignitionreviews.com Koal

    I just left att for verizon and the droid x. I lost the unlimited plan for att in the move also. Im happy with my droid x and definitly not going back to att!

  • http://Website Toast

    Got my Captivate, loving it. Staying on hAT&T because of a family plan, but the phone is truly wonderful.

    Having Froyo would only make it better.

  • dzitran

    I’m not sure if its proper to post this, but Lifehacker.com showed me a site where you can get the Captivate phone for $74.99.


    Just a little bit more incentive to get this great phone.

  • http://Website jewkhok

    Can’t wait to buy it!!!!

  • http://Website Derick

    Took my iPhone 4 back to AT&T on Sunday and traded it in for the Captivate. Haven’t regretted that choice yet. Still learning my way around Android after having been an iPhone user since the 3G. My initial impressions of the Captivate are all positive. Granted, I’ve only had it for a couple of days. But so far I’m loving it!

    • Nick Gray

      Welcome to Android!

      • http://Website Derick

        Thanks! The community around it seems really great. I’m glad to become a part of it!

  • http://Website Chris

    Damn, went to buy the Captivate today from letstalk.com and it’s no longer free! Had to dish out the $99, but I’m sure it will be worth it.

  • http://pnebleu.com Daniel

    Android Central Sideload Wonder Machine

    Here’s an easy sideloader application to install non-Market Apps on AT&T Android phones (though the Captivate is the only Android phone I’d want on AT&T).

    • http://Website Derek

      Actually the Aria is a pretty solid phone too. Captivate is better though, as we all know.

  • http://Website J.P.

    My AT&T store only had one in stock and I got it because I was the only one to ask for it. Haven’t had much time to use it myself since everyone else (co-workers, friends, strangers on the Metro, etc.) wants to have a look. I think we all agree — ” It rocks!” I like the Hummingbird processor that makes everything load so quickly. The screen is brilliant and you can see it outside. My only complaint is that the battery drains quickly. (I think this has to do with either the Live Wallpaper or it being “tested” every few minutes.) I’m at 25% at the end of an 8-hour work day. (My Blackberry Curve lasts longer, however, I don’t use for that for anything other than e-mail and phone, so it’s not a good comparison). But, I’m not a “power-user” so I don’t care about things like Froyo or third-party apps since all the apps I want can be loaded. However, I know Captivate will definitely benefit from them. I think for the user looking for an easy to use smartphone, this is it!

    • http://Website GuardianAli

      The largest chunck of a phones battery is the screen. Make sure whenever possible to use DARK themes on apps if possible and a dark background. Why? The way AMOLED screens work, it shows black by powering that pixel..the pixel remains essentially off to show black..hence why blacks are so deep and ‘vibrant’. This will let u save alot of battery power.

  • http://Website lolwut

    Wow, the Captivate’s price keeps dropping lower and lower on Amazon: First $199, then $149, then $99, and now it’s at $89 on-contract! Holy spit, Batman!

  • http://Website Nammy

    Got my phone two days ago, LOVE it. Seriously it is awesome, I am stuck on AT&T with a family plan and owned a ipod touch so I didn’t want a iphone. The phone totally rocks, loving the OS over iphone OS too.

    Oh and as someone mentioned, use black wallpapers. I was using a bright one and my battery died after 12 hours, then I switched to a free “Matrix green rain” type live wallpaper and after 12 hours my battery is still at 45%, and I used them about the same amount of time. I mean it makes a HUGE difference. Also since the AMOLED displays blacks so well, black wallpapers animated wallpapers not only save battery but look amazing.

  • http://Website Perry Austin

    Things i have come to notice while having the captivate since sunday morning….

    -The screen size is just about perfect, if your coming from the iphone you will notice and APPRECIATE the difference

    -Who said samsung phones are CHEAP?! well i did too at first… they are…BUT NOT THIS ONE HATERZ, its really samsungs finest quality phone…. almost no creeks, you can squeeze it without feeling like you are breaking it, and the parts fit together nice and tight.(which i am completely meticulous about) AND not to mention the metal battery door just yells out quality.

    -IT FEELS GREAT. the materials used on this phone are durable, but they feel nice to touch also. the glass used on the screen is a joy to tap and drag a finger on… smooth without being to slippery. The carbon fiber etch-in on the battery door is kind of rough and chalky at first, but once your hand starts to rub off on it a bit, it feels like a nice kind of rubberized matte finish…QUITE nice.

    -And yes, its very much true…. The SAMOLED is amazing… the first thing i noticed was how dark and deep the blacks are. if you close your eyes, and then put your hands over them, thats just about how black the pixels become. And this makes all other bright colors on the display POP like crazy…. eye candy really… I used it today outside in 96 degree weather and just about 100 percent humidity. Good news and bad news..ok the bad news is that in that kind of humid weather( south florida) the screen is almost impossible to drag my finger on easily. I could not use swype to save my life then. but a minor gripe..most phones do this…THE good news is that i could actually see the screen in that bright sun! without a doubt , the best picture i have seen outside on any display. Glare and covering my phone so i can read text is now a thing of the past.

    SO pretty much thats what my thoughts are on my new samy. owning this phone i kind of felt obligated to say something about it. Thats just how much I’m enjoying it.

  • http://Website Oliver

    I traded my iphone 4 back in for this and im never looking back. I love this phone…

  • http://Website Derek

    So far I really like the phone. Its a little bigger than my iphone, which is what I wanted, without being too big like the evo or droid x.

    My biggest gripe is with the pentile matrix screen. On light colored backgrounds like white or light grey, you can really see the pixels, it looks granulated and makes text look fuzzy. But on colored backgrounds like red, blue, green, purple, etc, the pixelated look goes away and it looks pretty darn crisp.

    All in all, its a good phone, especially since I was upgrading from an iphone 2G. Which I absolutely loved. Still use it as an ipod touch for gaming since android gaming sucks badly.

  • jhnlgn

    Got the phone last Sunday. Former 3G and 3GS user, so I’m still totally new to Android. Love the phone but just a little frustrated that I cannot manage my phone through my PC. Is there software out there that kinda acts like the iTunes? After phone call and web surfing – I really use my phone to watch video podcast, and now having a hard time subscribing. Suggestions?
    Any help would be great.

    • http://Website Rand

      Doubletwist is one app that offers itunes-like functionality on Android.

  • http://Website Roberto

    I got it since a week, replacing a Samsung with Windows Mobile. Amazing phone, incredible screen resolution and tons of apps. Question: comes with Android 2.1, how to upgrade to 2.2 ?
    I read that the upgrade has great improvements and performance.

  • http://renew-antivirus.com Virus

    I am waiting for Virus or Malware attacks on this phone lol caused Android is already having trouble fighting against Trojan Horses army

  • http://AdvancedMarijuana.com THIS PHONE SUCKS!

    Holy crap I am pissed. Wife bought it because the iphone4 was out of stock. Come to find out Nursing Central will not work on the captivate because it is not from the Android Market!! So thats $160 dollars down the drain. Nothing I can do about it.. Called At&t and they were WORTHLESS! Passed the buck to Samsung. Oh yeah and crashed the operating system trying to root the piece of shit. Taking it back tomorrow ;)

  • Maximosis

    I purchased the phone on Wednesday Rooted it with a one click root app, modifiled sql databases to allow sideloading apps. And i must say this is an amazing phone being in the android family since october 2008 pre-order G1 when android and me was no where near this sharp looking and only about 20 or so visitors. and I must say I am happy to be one of the early adopters who has watched android blossom into such a powerful machine. Battery life is better than my mytouch3g which i upgraded from, however i must say that AT&T 3g is not as fast as T mobile 3G (in my experience, I am located in New York City. work in Manhattan and live in the bronx. I get stronger signals in manhattan) But I am extremely happy with this super phone.

  • http://Website Viidox

    I got it a couple of days ago, my first android phone, just getting to know it. I do love the screen is just perfect n the colors are just amazing. One thing that i don’t see anybody complaining about is how the web browser dos not let me see all the images on the webpages like my iphone. I downloaded different browsers to see if it will get fix but the page looks the same. As an example I went to att.com with both my iPhone n the captivate, but the captivate did not download the big image of the iPhone 4 that is there. Is it something with my settings or is an actual inability of the phone…. Does someone know what’s going on??? Please help!!!

  • http://Website Capticate

    Im leaving this comment from the phone and it is sick