Galaxy S: Samsung Captivate vs Fascinate vs EPIC 4G vs Vibrant [VIDEO]


What I dislike MOST about the American Galaxy S devices are the naming schema: they wanted to keep the Galaxy S brand but obviously each carrier needed their own little brandable baby. Intentions acknowledged, but it’s confusing as heck to consumers and technically irritating to repeatedly explain. For the record, I think Samsung should have insisted on each carrier rolling with their own S-word: Galaxy Sting, Galaxy Spin, Galaxy Shine, Galaxy Star, Galaxy Something-That-Starts-With S.

But I digress – what YOU want to see is the 4 phones in action so here they are:

The 4 Galaxy S phones we’re talking about above are:


  • Samsung Captivate for AT&T
  • Samsung EPIC 4G for Sprint
  • Samsung Fascinate for Verizon Wireless
  • Samsung Vibrant for T-Mobile

They’re all variations of the same Galaxy S phone with both hardware and software modifications. So let’s take a look at what ALL of the phones have in common and then where they differ. First, the commonalities:

  • 4-inch SUPER AMOLED screen (800 x 480)
  • Android 2.1 with TouchWiz Interface
  • Samsung’s Social Hub / Media Hub
  • 1GHz Cortex A8 “Hummingbird” CPU
  • 5MP with 720p video recording
  • 3.5mm Headset Jack
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth
  • 512GB RAM
  • A-GPS, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor, light sensor, FM Radio

And some of the main differences:


Each of the devices are also packed with some custom content. Not only do you have the traditional stuff like VCAST Services and NFL Mobile on Verizon’s Fascinate, Sprint Football and Sprint TV on the Epic 4G, etc… you’re also treated to some special stuff depending on carrier. For example, T-Mobile’s Vibrant comes with the movie Avatar preloaded on the device and Sprint’s Epic 4G gets an awesome car racing game called Asphalt included.

While all four phones are prepackaged with Swype, you’ll also see some apps you can find in Android Market pre-installed on different versions of the Galaxy S. For example T-Mobile starts you off with the Kindle App, MobiTV, Slacker Radio and Gogo Inflight Internet. But that’s nothing you can’t download to your other phones anyways.

Here are the four phones on stage when they were announced at the NYC event:


Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. Here is the real question: can we get the unbranded version in the US somehow?

    Also don’t forget to mention that certain carriers restrict how you can get apps on your phone and even which apps you are able to see in the marketplace. I’m pretty sure the device itself is ALWAYS capable of being a mobile hotspot with the right software, it’s just a matter of whether or not the carrier allows you to use that software.

  2. So the consumer choice is Camera flash or internal memory? Seriously…who made those decisions. Both of those features should have been standardized. This is as bad as trying to determine the techical specifications of BlackBerry Curve models from one carrier to the other.

  3. A-GPS, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor, light sensor, FM Radio

    holy moly – thats gonna make the tricorder app so much more badass.

  4. EPIC is the closest to a Tegra 2 chipset with video chat ability that I want in my next phone. I’m very tempted (and that’s an understatement), but I’ll wait for the Tegra 2 or something that matches it or is better.

  5. “4-inch SUPER AMOLED screen (800 x 480)
    Android 2.1 with TouchWiz Interface
    Samsung’s Social Hub / Media Hub
    1GHz Cortex A8 “Hummingbird” CPU
    5MP with 720p video recording
    3.5mm Headset Jack
    512GB RAM
    A-GPS, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor, light sensor, FM Radio”

    – I wish my Evo had 512 GB of RAM…lol

  6. Seriously….this stuff is starting to move to fast to keep up. Verizon will have an entire wall of Android phones soon.

  7. This is one of the multitude of reasons why Android is cool, and why they will win in the end. While it may be frustrating for some, having multiple options to choose from can only help the consumer. If I hadn’t bought the Nexus, I would seriously be looking at one of these. Faithful to T-mobile, I have to admit the Sprint phone has an edge with a great looking keyboard. All of them have a good looking UI, not to radical and looks easy to get around with. Wish them all the best in a highly competitive market.

  8. I can’t believe Verizon only used 2GB of internal ram. I wonder if this was to not make it more desireable than the Droid X.

  9. So the AT&T/T-Mobile ones are identical?

  10. Why would any carrier not put a flash on their phone? That is just insane. Not having a front facing camera kinda sucks, but not as bad as no flash.

  11. “Lets jump to the Evo..er uh…Epic 4g” haha…priceless

  12. @ Dave

    No LED Flash was a concern of mine until I looked at some of the photos on the XDA forums. It doesn’t need flash to take photos in low light levels, it has a night mode… It works!!
    And it’s not 2GB of RAM, if it did that would be more than any phone on the market… it has 512MB of RAM, 2GB internal Storage (Hard Drive) which is easily expandable with an SD card giving it up to currently 34GB..

  13. Hey Rob, I’m pretty sure that’s 512MB of RAM, not GB :)

  14. On the Vibrant variant, what size is the app partition? I imagine there is a ext app partition, somewhere in the 512M range. Maybe 1GB range. Then the rest would be data storage.

    Is this accurate?

  15. @Dave

    The HTC Incredible has 8GB (6.5GB after format) of internal memory.

    I do agree though that 8GB should be the minimum.

  16. Having multiple carrier choice is awesome! Carriers will have to up their customer service and compete on pricing if all of these exclusivity deals were to dissapear. Samsung is on the righ track!

  17. @ lordofthestuff… the evo does have 512mb of ram dude, the reason it shows less in task managers is that a portion is allways reserved for the os. these galaxy s phones will show less than the 512mb in a task manager as well

  18. Love the hardware, hate the software. Wish these companies, including Samsung, stopped putting their crap in the way of Google and actual Web Services.

  19. “Love the hardware, hate the software.”
    OK no divx for you then…

  20. Why is it that these people displaying the phones, never know SHIT about the phones/tech besides the the bullet points?

  21. So, then enlighten us, MuzikJay. What do you know about these phones that the article author did not know? What do you base your accusation on?

    Don’t be an idiot, dude. These phones are months from release. You honestly think someone is going to know EVERY minute detail about these phones without having put their hands on it?

  22. Verizon using Bing!!! Yuk! Can I change it back to Google? I hope they don’t block you from down loading Google Maps.

  23. @Wilco….The partition that’s dedicated to apps on the Vibrant is 2GB which is more than anyone would ever need. I think you could download 50,000 apps with that much space.

  24. So. . .the phones with big internal memory dont have camera flash. That Sux. I think im going to grab the Vibrant since the Dell Streak is almost a rumor in the US.

  25. It seems that no one ever notices or reports on the lack of voice input. One of the major features I would be looking for in an android phone is the voice input, which seems to be only on the Nexus One and Incredible so far…

    Also, what are the chances of a Nexus Two showing up in December or January?

  26. Another big difference betweent the Verizon/T-Mobile/AT&T variants is that, according to T-Mobile, the Vibrant will benefit from the HSPA+ network when they flip the switches while the others will not since their nextgen technology is LTE. Am I correct here?

    I’m torn between the three, but I’m leaning toward the T-Mobile variant because I live in the DC area where HSPA+ is active.

  27. @Will – LTE is THE nextgen tech as far as cellular tech is concerned. T-Mobile just added HSPA+ as a cell service differentiator in order to get a jump on their competitors knowing that it was not going to be the successor to 3g. T-Mobile will eventually switch to LTE, they’ve even said so.

  28. @Will….You are correct. The Vibrant can benefit from HSPA+ up to 7.2 MB/s download speeds which is pretty damn fast and faster than any other carrier is currently offering including WiMax from Sprint which is not considered 4th generation speed. Also anyone who purchases the Droid X or any other Verizon phone will not be able to benefit from LTE which rolls out in November. So in essence any phone you buy from Verizon over the next couple of months will become obsolete this Winter.

  29. There are two reasons I might not get this phone:
    1. No flash
    2. No front-facing camera
    Otherwise it has everything I could want at this point! Here’s to hoping AT&T will get a phone with these features with Android in the near future…if they can stand having something that might take market share from the iPhone…

  30. The one thing that suck’s to me is no track ball.

  31. The carriers that use foward facing camera will be changing from unlimited data plans to pay by bandwith.. Forward facing cameras are used for video conf., which eatup bandwith

  32. @kevin trackballs are meant to be used with non touch screen phones like blackberries excluding the storm. Incredible offers a trackpad but its rarely used since its quicker just to scroll with your fingers

    @tr I’m pretty sure manufactures can incorporate a front facing camera pretty easily. They’re just waiting for the various providers to switch to lte to offer video conferencing on data. Though I’m sure they will decrease their 5gb window, providers will still refuse to try to support video conferencing on 3g

    These phones are going to incorporate as much as they can but they’re all limited by the network. Lte probably won’t become mainstream til 2012 or later but as soon as the networks beef up, expect every smartphone to usable front facing camera vs the useless wifi only camera on the iphone

  33. I have a my tuch. What i like about the track ball is when you have to press on some small tex. Also when you scroll the it is to easy to push on something you dont want to. It should not be so soft. Make it so you have to push harder.

  34. I think this phone will be poison for iphone 4 because in this phone, there are lot of new features like ‘LAYAR’ and work as Modem when laptop has low wifi connectivity. I think now , Iphone time is over.

  35. Am a bit concerned about the size of the memory on the Epic and Facinate which IMHO seems to be quite small compared with the norm.

    Does anyone know if its going to be possible to install Apps directly onto the MicroSD card without having to root the phone. I have heard of an application called App2SD but dont know if it has been released or if its even going to available on the Android market.

    If it is going to be possible to install Apps to the MicroSD card then memory is not really that much of an issue.

  36. by making it so tough to upgrade your phone now, it is
    a monumental job to select a new phone that you can’t
    trade for 20 months when they come out with new one
    every week. the added expense that they make u pay $
    40.00 monthly weather u want it or not stinks.

  37. Once Android 2.2 (Froyo) is released, then you will be able to store Apps on the SD card.

  38. Contrary to the advertisements. The Vibrant and the Captivate only have 2GB of Internal memory actually on the phone. I’ve seen this for myself within the individual stores going through the settings. It’s 2GB local storage w/ a 16GB SD card. all across the board.

  39. I have the captivate and it has 16g. Internal and 34g sd i love it its awsome and the camara doesnt need flash its a realy good phone so far

  40. I think it’s clear why they did this, each phone has a direct competitor from the same carriers that already have a feature, that for some reason they feel they can exert proprietorial control through coercion of the carriers.

    The consequences of which being, you have incomplete phones for no other fucking reason than they are greedy bastards.

  41. I don’t know if it does or doesn’t have a camera cause I se
    e the tiniest thing next to the speaker on top of my vibe and I dunno if its the camera.

  42. Elaine, those are the light and proximity sensors.

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