Samsung Fascinate Cellphone

Samsung Fascinate For many years I actively chose to have only the cheapest types of cell phones, for use in emergency. It could help me if I got stuck at the side of the road, or let someone get a hold of me in an important situation. The high monthly cost of a data plan - on top of what I already considered an outrageous amount of money just to have the emergency device - seemed an insurmountable barrier.

Finally though in 2010 it seemed like every time I was out of the house I needed access to information from the internet. I run several websites as my business, and now in addition I was taking online classes. There were many times that I needed to check on information, or take care of a problem, or perform some other internet based task. The idea of lugging around a laptop and finding a wi-fi spot seemed like it would not work well long term. Also, there was the threat that internet plans could go to a metered system, providing incentive to make the jump now.

After looking over the available phones on the market, testing a number of them out, and comparing their features with the coverage of the phones in Massachusetts, I finally decided to go with the Samsung Fascinate. I was lucky that in early October, Best Buy chose to offer the Fascinate for free. I like free!

The phone comes with a power charger that works with an outlet - and the same cord also unplugs from the "outlet box" and becomes a USB plug for you to plug into your computer. So the one plug / cord unit works both with electrical outlets and with USB connections on your computer.

The phone is very easy to use for newbies. A power button on the right side turns it on and off. A set of buttons across the bottom always give you access to the settings for the page you're on, the main homepage, going 'back' to wherever you just were, and a search function. The rest of the main face is taken up by the screen. On the left is a volume toggle.

The screen is *gorgeous*. Bright, clear, sharp colors, absolutely beautiful. I immediately found the app store and poked around for some pretty backgrounds. It took maybe 2 minutes to find an animated aquarium background complete with swimming fish that you could feed and streams of bubbles. The app store is easy to use, and the download was quick!

In only a few more minutes I had gmail set up to stream my mail down, Skype set up to chat with my father, and AIM to talk with my son. Moving items onto the pages was very straightforward. So was setting up contact lists, watching a Facebook stream, getting to weather and news.

Browsing is quite easy. They do steer you in a Bing direction, but you can of course bookmark any page you want including Google. Zooming in and out of webpages is smooth, and I had no problem using a variety of webpages that I tested out.

The photos taken by the phone are very impressive. Here's one I took and cropped - normally the photos are "normal photo dimensions" (more rectangular).

Samsung Fascinate Photo

So far I have had the unit for two weeks, and I have loved every day of it. Each time I leave the house with it I have found it useful for some task or another. I have a silicone case on it for protection, and I am fortunate that my purse has a nicely sized padded pouch in it to keep it safe when I am traveling. I know it's always a balance between wanting to keep the unit safe and also to have it remain light and non-bulky. For me the slim silicone case does well. I find it a great size to see things on, without being TOO big to make it unwieldy.

Well recommended - I'll post updates as I use it more! So far I don't have any downsides at all to my choice. I absolutely love its functionality.

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