The Good The Samsung Galaxy Reverb is compact, has long battery life, Android 4.0, and packs a removable battery.
The Bad Dressed in plastic, the Galaxy Reverb’s design is far from gorgeous, and its lack of 4G is space.
The Bottom Line If not for the HTC One V, the long-lasting Samsung Galaxy Reverb would be the best Android Mobile smartphone from Virgin Mobile.
Samsung’s $ 249.99 Galaxy Reverb is hard evidence that smartphone options for prepaid carriers are getting better every day. The compact phone, marketed by Virgin Mobile as its current flagship Android, has a 4-inch, good-sized screen, a smart camera that takes nice photos, and an Android 4.0 ice cream sandwich. Of course, the Reverb plastic design is no stop-shower compared to other Virgin Mobile variants, such as the stylish HTC One V. However, if you’re looking for a reliable Android mobile device for Virgin or a reason to shred your two-year contract and sign up with a prepaid carrier, Samsung Galaxy Reverb is a great way to do this.
Measuring 4.8 inches wide by 2.5 inches wide by 0.45 inches wide, the Galaxy Reverb is small in size and cut out of the same shape as many other Samsung phones. It’s made of lightweight plastic that helps Reverb tilt the scales at just 4.5 ounces, but lacks premium metal polishing. For example, the HTC One V (Virgin Mobile) is cut from a single block of aluminum, giving it a luxurious feel. Despite its metallic body, the One V manages to be lighter by 4 ounces as well.
Samsung’s Galaxy Reverb is compact, but crafted from plastic (pictures)
Samsung Galaxy Reverb’s conservative black color scheme with faux silver trim around gently curved edges gives the listener a good look. Above the screen is a front-facing 1.3MP camera for self portraits and video chat. At the bottom of the display are three capacitive Android buttons for the menu, home and back, represented by backlit icons.
A typical range of physical controls and ports surround the Reverb, including the power button and 3.5mm headphone jack on the top, the Micro-USB port on the bottom, and the left volume swing. Also on the left is a microSD card slot hidden under the flap, on the right side of the Reverb there is a dedicated shutter button that launches the camera app when pressed. Unfortunately, this key will not wake the phone when it is sleeping. Back – 5MP camera with LED flash plus textured battery cover. Below is a removable 1700 mAh battery that the HTC One V can’t match because its built-in battery.
The Samsung Galaxy Reverb (800×480 pixels) 4-inch LCD screen can’t match you, especially when compared to the massive, much clearer HD (1,280×720 pixels) 4.7-inch (and larger) displays you’ll find on the best androids. Despite this, the Reverb screen is bright and produces very accurate colors. I prefer the smaller display on the HTC One V (3.7 inches, 800×480 pixels), which creates warmer, if slightly oversaturated shades, and higher contrast.
Software and user interface
With the help of Android 4.0 ice cream sandwich, not the latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software from Google, Samsung Galaxy Reverb offers a modern smartphone. Pressing the power button opens a lock screen that displays the digital clock and date at the top. You can simply swipe in any direction to unlock your phone, or tap one of the three icons (dial, browser, and camera) and then swipe to go directly to the corresponding function.
There are five home screens to choose from and customization using app shortcuts and widgets. By default, the Accuweather clock widget is located in the front and center of the Reverb home screen, as in the Google search bar. At the bottom of each screen are shortcuts to go to your phone, contacts, messages, browser and applications. Of course, if you do not like this choice, you can change them to other phone features.
To enter the standard Samsung virtual keyboard, which has decent space between the keys but is tight thanks to the 4-inch Reverb screen. There are not many dual-purpose buttons that double as punctuation marks. Fortunately, I could still long press the period key to open a large list of popular characters.
Features and apps
As a full-fledged Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Reverb comes with a standard assortment of trusted Google services including Gmail, Google+ and Navigation, as well as a Play Store for downloading applications from a library of more than 700,000 titles. Play also provided digital books, movies, games and music for purchase. Samsung has also included the Media Hub app. The showcase offers its own catalog of TV shows and movies for rent or purchase. Content is in standard format and is for phone viewing only.
Unlike many phones, I have not noticed any third-party software on the Galaxy Reverb, which is a good thing as they tend to slow down performance and not be removed. Virgin Mobile has put several software names on the phone, such as downloading ringtones and wallpapers, and my account to check the status of your service.
The Samsung Galaxy Reverb, equipped with a 5-megapixel sensor, does not offer the same number of pixels as high-end phones with 8- or even 13-megapixel cameras. Even so, the still life photos in the room I shot were crisp and bright. The images I took indoors in low light were blurred and grainy, especially with active objects.
Moving out, the colors and details came to life, and I watched a lot of details in the shadows, despite the lack of HDR mode. I suspect the Reverb backlit scene mode has a similar effect. And yet, I would like to see more clarity to add sharpness to the subjects.
Reverb snapshots quickly, with a snapshot time of at least a second. There are also many shooting options. In addition to the backlighting mode mentioned above, there is a photo, a panorama and a cartoon with a smile. You also get special filters such as negative, black and white and sepia.
Being able to record video at 720p (1,280×720 pixels) resolution, I made movies smooth and crisp, even during panoramas. However, the detailing was a downside compared to phones capable of recording 1080p video.
Promoting Android 4.0 for the Sandwich OS Ice Cream Samsung Galaxy Reverb as a steady, if not burning, clip, it is a 1.4GHz Snapdragon Scorpion S2 processor. As a result, the phone does not start applications and does not fly through the menu like greased lightning. Still, Reverb felt responsive enough, and I didn’t stutter and other performance hiccups.
Turning the Linpack low to 41.7 MFLOP (single-threaded), it is clear that Reverb is not a mobile fire breather. For example, superphones such as the HTC Evo 4G LTE (Sprint), which uses the newer dual core Snapdragon S4 chips, were able to double the Reverb score (104.1 MFLOP). In the more complex multi-threaded version of the test, the Evo has performed more than five times (198.4 MFLOP versus 38 MFLOP). In doing so, the Galaxy Reverb went against the HTC One V on the same benchmark (33.9 MFLOP).
When testing at CDMA Virgin Mobile in New York, the quality of calls on the Galaxy Reverb was not bad. The subscribers described my voice as clear and light so as not to hear distortion. However, they could easily tell that I was calling from a mobile phone. At my end, voices through the headset were also warm and static-free. The loudspeaker also gets loud enough, enough volume to fill a medium sized conference room.
Like the HTC One V, the Galaxy Reverb is limited by 3G data rates. In New York and connected to EVDO Rev A Virgin Mobile, I recorded very slow bandwidth. Average download speeds were 0.57 Mbps. The average download speed was even slower, 0.34 Mbps. This is far from being 4G LTE, which typically uploads about 15-20 Mbps.
The battery life became a bright spot for the Galaxy Reverb when the phone lasted 8 hours and 6 minutes for the CNET Labs Video battery playback test. For comparison, the HTC One V only got 6 hours and 4 minutes on the same indicator.
I know that it is often difficult for operators to choose between two phones that are similar in price or feature. For example, if the HTC One V, which is currently available for $ 159.99, did not exist at Virgin Mobile, the Samsung Galaxy Reverb at $ 249.99 would be a simple and wise choice. The closest competitor is the $ 239.99 HTC Evo V (a truly redesigned HTC Evo 3D), which offers access to Android 4.0 and 4G WiMax, but an outdated camera. In my opinion, the less expensive One V is a much better option because it fits in almost all of the capabilities that Reverb can muster in a more seductive all-metal chassis. If you, more than anything, are looking for battery life, plus a replacement battery, then Samsung Galaxy Reverb is the Virgin Mobile phone for you.