T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant (Galaxy S) unboxing and hardware/software tour [video]

Image showing the T-Mobile Vibrant, Samsung Galaxy S for T-Mobile

Image showing the T-Mobile Vibrant, Samsung Galaxy S for T-Mobile

The Summer of 2010 will be remembered in years yet to come as the season that saw Android superphones like the T-Mobile Samsung Vibrant – which is the T-Mobile variant of the Samsung Galaxy S, in case you didn’t already know – coming into their own as high-powered competitors to the iPhone. In fact, the T-Mobile Vibrant could have what it takes to convince potential iPhone customers to stick with T-Mobile, rather than defect to AT&T for a chance at iPhone 4 glory. To show you what we mean, we got our hands on a new Samsung Vibrant to do some hands-on tours of the hardware and software bundled with Big Magenta’s Galaxy S variant.

First off, the Vibrant is a more pure variant than AT&T’s Samsung Captivate. While AT&T opted for a major face lift of the Galaxy S to fit their needs, T-Mobile went with a subtle redesign that looks more like the stock Galaxy S than does the Captivate. The front face is basically a smooth glass slab, which protects a 4-inch Super AMOLED display and four touch-sensitive (capacitive) navigation buttons along its bottom edge. The entire phone has just three physical buttons – one power button and a volume control rocker that we’re counting as two separate buttons – that makes the Vibrant look slick. Unfortunately, the more pronounced bezel around the front face of the device keeps the Vibrant from looking as sleek as the Captivate.

On the hardware side, the Vibrant is one competent Android phone. It’s packed with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, 5-megapixel camera, 16GB of onboard storage, WiFi (b/g/n), 3G data, GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. There’s also a little sliding-door that protects the microUSB port – a departure from the open ports and rubber-plug designs we’re used to seeing these days.

Better yet, when you lift up the battery cover, you’ll be greeted with a microSD card slot that’s hot-swappable – that means you won’t have to pull the battery and reboot your phone every time you want to change your microSD card. Did we mention the massive Super AMOLED display that not only displays brighter colors, higher contrast, sips less battery power, and is more viewable in sunlight than traditional AMOLED displays?

The Vibrant runs on Android 2.1 OS, which isn’t the cutting-edge of Android OS, but is as good as it gets right now. It’s skinned with Samsung’s S Life UI, so you get all kinds of cartoon-ish UI elements and some apps that make your life a whole lot easier. The app tray scrolls sideways and presents apps on a colored background badge, which gives the Android app tray an entirely new look. Pulling down the notifications bar reveals toggle shortcuts for activating Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS and Silent Mode – a convenient little feature that we almost passed over, but one that really makes the phone easy to use.

The Daily Briefing app and accompanying widget make it easy to get at-a-glance updates on your news, stocks, weather, and calendar events. The app also integrates into the Smart Alarm feature, which activates the Daily Briefing app as is subtly and gently wakes you from slumber with nature soundtracks. And, because the T-Mobile Vibrant’s Super AMOLED display is a hands down eye-gasm of vivid colors, T-Mobile has preloaded the handset with the Avatar movie. You also get The Sims 3 game and a free trial to MobiTV with the Magenta version of the Galaxy S.

Take a look at our unboxing gallery, hardware tour video, and software tour video below!

  • Ufailed

    wtf… your "hardware tour" doesn't show the back cover of the vibrant opened?!?! but you showed the captivate?!?! so did you open the back of the vibrant on your captivate hardware tour?!?!

    • ToasterImp

      Yeah, that's odd. Although I did like the side by side comparison of the two phones, I'd have liked to seen how the Vibrant compares to the Droid X or Nexus One. All in all it was a pretty decent review of the phone. I may have to drop by my local t-mobile store and check it out.

  • Dan Black

    I love this phone! My only complaint so far is that it eats batteries even if you kill apps all day

  • Mindgrinder

    is Wave a better deal than this phone OS looks same…..

    • anon

      Wave doesn't have the same OS, it just has the same Touchwiz 3.0 skin. Which should be able to be removed and replaced with stock android if you root it.

  • Dboylan

    interesting that since I ordered my t-mobile vibrant for $199 and a new two year contract, that while i was watching the hardware video, google ads were showing the samsung vibrant for $97! Did I get screwed again by t-mobile!

  • george

    probably not, I saw an ad for $69.99 with a new contract, and $149.99 for an upgrade contract , how ever it was a 3rd party and there is always a catch. the ads on internet.

  • brenda

    walmart has it with a 2 yr upgrade for $139.99. no gimmick and no catch

  • Steve

    I just went to Wal-Mart.com, and ran the pricing. There is a way on there to do a handset upgrade to the Vibrant that costs $4.95. It waives the activation fee, includes a car charger and puts the monthly bill at $99.99 before taxes and service fees.

  • Nate

    T-Mobile’s plans are too high. Went into basically every carrier store today looking at these phones, and I’m going to get an Evo 4G from Sprint, or maybe an Epic 4G – leaning towards the Evo, though, since I’ve had a bad history with Samsung Equipment (typically not of the greatest quality, to put it nicely).

    2 Lines for 155 A Month with 700 Minutes before a 15% work discount, when I can get 2 Lines with Sprint for 129 A Month and 1500 Minutes (both Unlimited Data/Text) before a 23% work discount.

    It’s not even much of a contest at that point.

    The Evo is even cheaper because Sprint will buy my AT&T Phone off of me for about $100.

    • Snowdog

      nate i’m a loyalty customer at tmobile and i pay $250 for four lines full internet on two of my devices and edge internet on two and unlimited everything text,talk,pics,video
      i think thats a good deal

    • Morgan


      I have unlimited everything with t-mobile and only pay 100.40 after taxes, etc. You must be looking at the no-contract plans or something; i personally dont mind being under contract with t-mo because i have no intentions of leaving

  • kim

    i would like to know with wi fi can you connect your phone to your computer if your in some ones place that doesn’t have internet and a computer

    • Snowdog

      theres an app for tethering your computer to your fone so u can use the internet on your computer via the fones internet plan

  • Snowdog

    Wooooo Hooooooo t-mobile has the vibrant buy one get one rock on

  • Derek

    I just got a Vibrant but have a question about bluetooth, I got used to having voice activation on bluetooth, just hit the button and it asks you to “say a command” the you tell it to do whatever. I have not been able to get the bluetooth on the vibrant to do that. I know there is a voice activation feature on the menu screens and it works fine, but does the Vibrant have the bluetooth voice activation I got used to on my old Motorola Razr?

  • AngelicaChan

    Hello 🙂 i have a Tmobile Galaxy S Vibrant. What’s the purpose of the two sensors (?) infront of the unit? And doesnt the Tmobile Galaxy S have two cameras? Thanks 🙂

  • Saul

    Need Help!! My little brother did so much that my phone askes for my google password. the thing is that i dont remember! help plz!!

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