The Samsung Galaxy Blaze is one of the best value phones available at T-Mobile, with a strong set of features in an attractive package.
A quick look at the Blaze and anyone familiar with the Galaxy series will know it is part of that lineup -- and that's not a bad thing. The all black with a teardrop like shape, curved edges and soft-touch finish are all very pleasing to the eye and hand. It's afflicted with an overly plastic-y feel, but this does not mean the device isn't well-made.
Compared with recent competition, the Blaze is a modestly sized device. It stands at just under 5-inches tall, 2.5-inches wide and less than a half-inch thick.
The Blaze's may be a mid-range device, but its display is more impressive than what you may think. The 3.97-inch screen has a WVGA 480-by-800 pixel display, and while it doesn't quite measure up to the Galaxy Nexus' AMOLED screen, it comes very close. It's vibrant, colors pop and it has tremendous black levels, as most Samsung devices tend to have.
While the display is above the mid-range level, the same can't be said for the 5-megapixel camera. Photos are impressive, despite not being up to the standards of more high-end devices, and the addition of an LED flash improves low-light photography. Video is where the Blaze really shines. With 720p video capture, clips look great when played back on the device or blown up on the computer or television.
One of the drawbacks is plaguing many Android phones right now -- it ships with Gingerbread rather than the newer Ice Cream Sandwich. The Blaze also comes with Samsung's TouchWiz skin on top of it. There's nothing wrong with the OS, or even the skin for that matter, but it's just a bit dated with other devices out there running the improved Android 4.0. However, Samsung and T-Mobile have both said that the device will receive an update in the future. There is no date or windows for that upgrade, but it's something you can hang your hat on.
There are a lot of reasons to want to buy the Blaze, unfortunately its 4G speeds are not one of them -- technically it's 3.5G. The device is designed to take advantage of T-Mobile's HSPA-plus network, which is actually 3.5G bastardized by marketing as 4G. There are flashes of great speeds, but the performance is inconsistent overall. So if you're attracted to the Blaze because of the 4G in its name, this isn't the device for you. This isn't the carrier for you either... but that's another story.
For $150, the Blaze 4G is a great value, one of the best mid-range devices on the market -- and the best mid-tier for T-Mobile. Sure, the Galaxy S2, and even the HTC Amaze, are more impressive devices, but if you're looking to save some money and still get a great smartphone, the Blaze is for you. ♦
The AMOLED display, video chat capability and Wi-Fi calling are all great features. And it actually fits in a pocket -- just a bit smaller than the S3. It's pretty much is the S3 wrapped in a slightly smaller box.
Like all "smart" phones the battery is not the best.Was this review helpful to you?
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