Okay, it's not the nicest phone we've handled this week (heck, it's not even the best mid-range phone), but you wouldn't be reading this site if you didn't enjoy gawking at new devices, right? Right. So, with that in mind, we offer you the Samsung Galaxy Victory 4G LTE. It went on sale at Sprint last weekend, priced at $100 after a $50 mail-in rebate, but we only just got some hands-on time at a press event happening tonight.
On paper and in person, it's a forgettable sort of handset: it has a 4-inch (800 x 480) display, 5- and 1.3-megapixel cameras, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of built-in storage and a middling dual-core Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 Lite processor, clocked at 1.2GHz. And, at 12.7mm thick, it's one of the chunkiest phones we've handled in some time. Still, it redeems itself somewhat with the promise of LTE service -- once Sprint gets some momentum behind its new 4G network, that is. It also comes with Google Wallet, as well as some features found on the Galaxy S III -- things like S Beam and AllShare Play. Curious enough to peek but not compelled enough to buy? You've come to the right place. Check out our hands-on photos below and meet us after the break for some quickie impressions.
Samsung Galaxy Victory hands-onSee all photos
There's no getting around it: the Victory is a plump, weighty thing, and it doesn't even have a slide-out keyboard to lean on as an excuse. Worse, perhaps, is the glossy, reflective finish. We know, we know: we give a lot of lip service to the idea that Samsung's devices are plasticky, not high on build quality. But it would be an insult to the GS III and other devices to throw the Victory in the same class. From afar, the finish looks almost laminated, which isn't a good look, even for a $100 phone. You can get a better deal for that price. Just ask Motorola.
We will say this: based on our hands-on the dual-core MSM8960 chip powering the device seems pretty serviceable. The phone was quick to respond as we launched apps and swiped through screens. The only time we noticed a bit of pause was when we tapped the touch-sensitive buttons lining the bottom of the 4-inch screen (these include menu, home and back, in that order). Then again, these keys also seem oddly designed: because the icons for home, etc. are raised, it's tempting to press them as if they were physical buttons. We'd have to spend a little more time with the device to get used to just tapping them but even then, we're not sure if the slight delay in response will go away.
On the software front, this runs Android 4.0, with all the usual TouchWiz trappings. That's hardly stock Android, as you all know, but it is nice to see that you can set up the device with no additional widgets or in-your-face skinnings. (Sprint does bundle its so-called Sprint ID packs, but you can disable these easily enough.) Other than that, Sprint is quickest to emphasize Google Wallet as the biggest software draw. Fair enough: we all know Wallet is not something to be taken for granted.