Hands-on with the Samsung Instinct – Sprint’s answer to the iPhone

Samsung Instinct for SprintEveryone wants needs an iPhone competitor. In a market flooded with notions that sleek and slim smartphones with a rock-solid and intuitive interfaces are the way to go, no carrier can afford to ignore the touchscreen craze that’s sweeping the mobile space. And, Sprint has just announced their own attempt to woo the touchscreen crowd with the Samsung Instinct.

Sprint’s Samsung Instinct wasn’t available at Sprint nor Samsung’s booth for some reason. I had to wait until an evening-event to get my hands on the Samsung Instinct, where Sprint had a handful of reps ready to showcase the new Sprint touchscreen handset.

Packed with a 2 megapixel camera, GPS, FM radio, EVDO Rev. A (the first Rev. A device on Sprint, according to the Sprint rep), 3-inch touchscreen (pressure-based and flush with the face of the device), and microSD card slot, the slim touchscreen offering from Samsung should help Sprint regain (or at least retain) some of its lost customer base. The Samsung Sprint measures a svelte 2.17 x 4.57 x 0.49 inches and tips the scales at a rather solid-feeling but still light 4.4 ounces.

The Samsung Instinct looks and feels much like the Samsung F700 Croix/U940 Glyde, without the sliding keyboard (of course) and without the award-winning Croix interface. The haptic feedback on the Samsung Instinct is the same pseudo-haptic feedback system that Samsung likes to use on their touchscreen handsets – the entire device vibrates with every touchscreen input. The vibration feedback novel at first, but then gets annoying quite quickly.

Overall, the pressure-based touchscreen was nice and firm – there was very little touchscreen “squish.” The display’s flush design helps to keep the Samsung Instinct’s lines clean and smooth, and the LED backlit navigation buttons added a bit of flair to the device. As an iPhone competitor, this is probably as good as it’s going to get for now (on Sprint). Capacitance touchscreen technology would have made the Samsung Instinct a little snazzier, and the UI could use some refinement. But in the end, if you want to get in on the full-body touchscreen craze, and you want to stay with Sprint, the Samsung Instinct is probably your best bet.

Booth reps said that the Samsung Instinct should be launching in June at a price point that is sure “to surprise” us all. I’d put money on the Sprint Samsung Instinct commanding a mid-$200 price tag with new contract.

  • Easttnguy

    Will the instinct sync with my mac?

  • james braselton

    IF THE SPRINT ISTINCT CAN NOT SYNC WITH ITUNES I MIGHT HAVE BOTH A 3G IPHONE 2.0 FOR MULTIMEADIA STUFF AND THE SPRINT INSTINCT FOR GAMES TV YOU MIGHT NEED TO SAVE UP THE EXTRA MONEY FOR THE EXTRA PHONE.

  • ct

    so does anyone know if the instinct will sync with mac?

  • augie

    I just got water damaged on my sprint centro, i love the phone had 2 of them there amazing, however when will this samsung instinct come out for sure? June 1st or what?

  • Kevin

    how do i get mines and how much?

  • james braselton

    HELLO HI THERE WOUNDER IF NOBODY WILL BUY 3G CELLPHONES BECUASE SOON THERE WILL BE A 5GB DATA LIMIT BY MOST CARRIERS FROM ROMORED SORCESS

  • james braselton

    I AM WOUNDERING WHY 3G NOW SOON BE LIMITED TO 5GB OF DATA CAN ANY ONE SAY BUY BUY TOO 3G TECHNOLOGIES I DO NOT THINK THERE WILL BE ANY BUYERS FOR 3G CELLPHONES WITH A 5 GB DATA LIMIT

  • wilson

    haha this phone rocks il be the retard standing in line for a whole day lol hehe :]

  • Will Park

    I’m right there with you, I was the retard standing in line for the iPhone ;)

  • Dan

    Engadget says it will be out June 20th.

  • steven

    does it require the SIMPLY EVERYTHING PLAN, if it does, that idiotic because i no i want the phone but not the simply everything plasn

  • Raidium

    Seriously people, go do that on a different forum. This is a forum about cell phones, not ur sex life. I’m sure there are ones other there that are but not here. You have something to say about the related topic then feel free, if not, it is not needed!

  • Will Park

    There will always be “those” people wherever you go. The offending comments you are referring to have been deleted. To be clear, those “sex” comments have been deleted

  • Raidium

    lol. Aint that the truth! Thx Will! Nice to see ur looking out! Oh yeah, sorry about that whole “fight” in the prepaid post. I got alittle out of hand. Thanx for not banning me!!

  • Will Park

    Hey, everyone gets a little heated at times. That’s no reason to ban someone.

  • Will Park

    I should add, that comment thread was interesting, to say the least ;)

  • Raidium

    lol. But still, I did get alittle out of hand. I think some of my comments to JD were pretty harsh. But he said some things just as equal so i did make for an interesting afternoon! :wink:

  • Twist

    As a Sprint tech support agent, a Mac users, and soon an Instinct owner I think I can clear up at least one of the questions here and offer a bit of insight elsewhere.

    1. Is Simply Everything required? No. You just have to have a plan with unlimited data. Sprint has recently rolled out various plans both for individuals and for people interested in sharing minutes between multiple lines that include unlimited messaging and/or data. Almost everything the Instinct does requires data except text messaging and making voice calls so without an unlimited data plan I don’t see why you would even bother with this phone.

    2. Will it sync with Mac? I really wish I had a solid answer for this question, but the phone just came out and they are not allowing employees to buy it for the first few weeks because demand is so high.

    I can say that for now it will for sure be harder to sync this phone with a Mac than with a PC since neither the Media Manager or Mobile Sync software the Instinct uses are available for Mac OS. I am hoping that this phone will be popular enough with Mac users for Mark/Space to make a version of Missing Sync for it. Currently the Instinct is the only Sprint phone that uses one of these applications and is one of only three that uses the other, but these features are planned for other devices as well so hopefully that will make it more appealing to Mark/Space to support these protocols.

    From what I have seen for now you will need to copy whatever pictures/video/music you want on the phone to your memory card manually. I don’t know if the phone will show up as a mass media device or not when connected to a Mac via the included USB cable, but there shouldn’t be any issues with mounting the memory card via a card reader. From there you should be able to drag and drop most content from iTunes and iPhoto to the memory card or even use AppleScript or Automator to keep the folders on the memory card synced with specific playlists/albums.

    For Windows users there is an application that can sync Outlook/Outlook Express/Lotus Notes contacts with the phone through a new Mobile Address Book feature at Sprint.com (similar to the web backup feature of the LG Rumor and a few others, but way more robust). You can also do a manual sync by exporting your contacts into a .csv file and then uploading that file to the web application. This means that using an AppleScript or 3rd party application (both of which already exist) you will be able to export your Mac Address Book contacts and then send them to your phone through the Sprint.com site.

    3. How does this phone really compare to the iPhone? They are really two different classes of devices. The Instinct looks pretty good when compared to the first gen iPhone with the original feature set, but the iPhone 3G and iPhone OS 2.0 have really upped the ante on all phones and moved the iPhone from being a semi-smart fashion phone into fully featured smart phone territory with some killer unique features. The Instinct is really more of a fashion phone/personal media player than a smart phone, though it does have a few nice smart phone features like access to Exchange email through the built-in email client (though it requires Outlook Web Access be enabled on your Exchange Server). Both are really great devices, but they really aren’t targeted at the same consumers IMHO.

  • LT5353

    Will the Instinct run Palm software? I have a lot of applications on the Centro currently that I added which are Palm based…

  • iphone

    all I can say is the 5gb limit is a dumb rumor, the 3g kicks ass, this thing has a dinky screen, and please get a life, all of you.

  • Raidium

    Lets see here. The 5gb thing is NOT a rumor. And you are entitles to your opinion about the 3g. No need to tell others to get a life because your are the one insulting people on a forum rather then doing something more productive with your time. Thanx for reading.

  • ****Head

    DOES ANYONE KNOW IF THE SAMSUNG INSTINCT SINKS WITH MAC?

    I’M STARTING TO GET A LITTLE PISSED OFF CUASE NO ONE WILL TELL ME!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Bartholomew/507726373 Adrian Bartholomew

      Maybe they didn’t understand your writing.  Speak English.

  • captainMAC

    ****Head: your question is the same as mine… there is a pretty detailed answer from Twist dated June 21. A friend of mine just bought the Instinct and loves it for email and web browsing as well as media playing. He does not have a Mac and I am hoping that the calendar feature will be able to sync with my Calendar on my Mac. I think (hope) the marketing on this is strong enough to build the popularity among Mac users for MarkSpace to come up with a patch, but my guess is that it will take a while. I will not switch to ATT no matter how much I love the iPhone.

  • Nick

    look everyone i have the phone and i also talked 2 someone from sprint. They are NOT competing with the I-Phone and it only comes with a 2 gb card and the phone itself doesnt hold more than 40 megabytes. But none the less its an awsome phone regardless so lets jus drop the debates because techinically we are still 4 years behind the asians and they have phones that make ours including the I-Phone look like a old ass remote

  • Michelle

    I too need to know if I can set up on MAC for the Instinct – there is no driver on the cd that came with the unit for MAC – HELP! Thanks, Michelle

  • Jance Underwood

    Why doesn’t someone come up with a headphone plug adapter which would allow bluetooth to work on TV/Radio applications with the Instinct. It’s a pain to constantly have to replug earphones each time after I receive a phone call I happen to answer.

  • Gabe

    2GB??? Seriously? This is typical of the Winblows / grey suit /vanillasex Microsoft biz world – 10 years behind the curve – what is this, 1995? If someone is investing that much for a device, the least you could do is throw them at LEAST 4 gigs of storage. If you’re a person who still has a parallel port on your grey Winblows box, this will make you angry i guess. Frankly, if you want to go up against Apple in any market, you have to make your products Mac compatible – like it or not, Apple is gaining ground in terms of market share. I find it highly ironic that people bitch about Apple’s “monopoly” in certain areas, all the while they’re typing it on a computer running Windows… sigh.

  • gene

    I’ve had the Instinct for months. The Instinct does what it says it’ll do, but it doesn’t do what you’re lead to believe. It appears to be a smart phone, a good carry around phone/pda/mini computer… unfortunately, it won’t let me save any data (ie- calendar info, notes) onto the smart disk. After only a MONTH of calendar info, my Instinct said “there’s no more memory space available”. If I place an appointment in the calendar, I cannot go back and type in a description about the event, without resetting the time to some future time, and the description can barely be a sentence. It’s that kind of memory inability to save on the disk that makes the Instinct not smart.

  • Femme

    The Instinct does not sync with a mac properly
    I own a Mac and went out an bought this Instinct, now when I hook up the phone to my mac using the USB, it works for about 3-10 seconds then the mount disappears off my desktop,
    and i get an error message.

    I hope someone fixes this problem, OR I know when the new iphone comes out that is what i will go with and the Instinct with be sitting in a drawer.

    If anyone knows how to solve the mounting roblem on the mac let me know.

  • mac man

    I’m a Mac user too, the instinct sucks. i’m going to get the iphone as well since they can’t fix that problem but they won’t care when they make their money on everyone canceling their contracts.

  • walljasper

    The Instict is such an utter piece of crap, I don;t know whether to be angry at having been duped into buying it…or just plain embaraased because of it.

    The total lack of applications, lack of non-proprietary OS, lack of service & support – hahahahah, sorry just mentioning those 2 words in the same sentence with the word “Sprint” just breaks me up – anyway, if we got any service from ANY other carrier, I would be there by now.

    Now the pundits are touting Sprint’s new and gosh-its-so-wonderful-maybe-its-an-iphone-killer “Pre”….probably the same dillweeds that proclaimed the same nonsense about the Mogul and the Instinct.

    Bwahahahahahah!

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