In the high school of MetroPCS’s smartphone lineup, the Samsung Galaxy Admire 4G is a solid B-. It’ll pass the tests for your basic 4G smartphone needs. But it’s no star performer like the same-price LG Motion 4G, the MetroPCS budget phone we most recommend.
Physical Design and Performance
The Galaxy Admire 4G is a cute little lozenge, with typically high Samsung build quality. It’s entirely plastic, but the white plastic body with chrome trim looks a little more luxe than the marginally cheaper material ZTE uses. The phone’s 3.65-inch, 480-by-320 screen is surrounded by a large white bezel, with four silkscreened action buttons below. At 4.5 by 2.5 by .47 inches (HWD) and 4.3 ounces, the Galaxy Admire 4G fits comfortably into any hand. The phone has a volume rocker on the side, headphone jack on the top, and a microSD memory card slot under the removable back cover. The phone’s LCD isn’t dim as much as it is distant; like a lot of low-cost phone screens, it looks like it’s under a thick layer of plastic which easily attracts smudges.
The Galaxy Admire 4G runs on MetroPCS’s CDMA and LTE networks, along with 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n networks. You should be aware that if the T-Mobile purchase of MetroPCS goes through, the carrier will probably stop selling CDMA phones this June, but it’ll keep the network alive for about two more years; by then, the Admire’s voice service should run over T-Mobile’s new LTE network, so it’ll keep on chugging anyway.
Reception on MetroPCS’s network was fine, and call quality was average. Transmission quality really degraded in noisy areas, though, as aggressive noise cancellation also blanked out part of my voice. The speakerphone is a bit quiet, and transmissions through the speakerphone were a bit thin and distant. The phone had no problem hooking up to a Plantronics Voyager Legend Bluetooth headset, including for voice dialing. GPS, on the other hand, was touch and go; in Manhattan, the phone really needed Google’s Wi-Fi assistance to lock in a location fix.
The Admire’s speeds on MetroPCS’s LTE network were limited by the relatively slow processor. I got 4-6Mbps down where I’ve gotten 6-8Mbps with phones like the LG Motion 4G; still, though, speeds were within the acceptable range.
The Galaxy Admire 4G runs the appallingly ancient Android 2.3, which should have been replaced a year ago. It does so on a single-core, 1GHz Samsung S5PC110 processor. All this describes a pretty good midrange Android phone of 2010, but it isn’t 2010 any more, and with the LG Motion 4G you can get both a faster processor and a more modern version of Android at the same price.
The phone felt noticeably slow, with some jerky scrolling and relatively slow Web page load times. Its benchmark performance was nothing to write home about, with graphics and gaming benchmarks turning in especially low results. I know I keep repeating comments about the LG Motion 4G, but that phone turned in seven times the Admire’s frame rate on our GLBenchmark offscreen benchmark, making the Motion 4G much better for gaming.
The phone is loaded up with the usual MetroPCS bloatware. The Rhapsody unlimited music service is useful, as is MetroPCS’s Easy WiFi, which automatically connects you to open Wi-Fi hotspots. It really works, too. But there’s a special circle of hell reserved for the awful MetroXtras, which generates unsolicited pop-up ads on your phone. Disable it immediately.
Battery life was fine, but nothing to write home about with 8 hours, 22 minutes of 3G talk time.
Multimedia and Conclusions
The Galaxy Admire has about 1.1GB of onboard storage, and it comes with a 2GB microSD card, with support for up to 64GB cards. There’s a 3.2-megapixel main camera and a VGA front camera; they aren’t very good. The main camera has about a 1.1-second autofocus lag. Photos taken with it were very soft, with a pronounced yellow cast. Outdoors photos on a cloudy day were too soft and blew out not only a bright sky, but everything near the sky. The front camera gets noisy in low light. The main camera records rather dark but smooth 720-by-480 video at 30 frames per second, and the front camera records 320-by-240 video at 15 frames per second. The LG Motion 4G does better all around.
Media playback, on the other hand, is a bright spot. The Admire comes with the standard Samsung codec pack, which plays MPEG4, H.264, WMV, DivX, and Xvid files without a hitch at resolutions up to 720p. I played video through the phone’s speaker, through headphones, and through a Bluetooth headset without a problem. The phone also played all of our unprotected music formats, including MP3, AAC, WMA, and OGG.
The Samsung Galaxy Admire is a great competitor for the LG Optimus M+. Unfortunately for Samsung, the Optimus M+ is eight months old, and it was already looking old then. In 2013 we just can’t recommend a phone running Android 2.3, for example. The Admire is comparatively well-built, but its other features and performance pale in comparison to the superior LG Motion 4G, which is sold for the same price. Even the ZTE Avid 4G offers more for your money. I admire Samsung’s desire to make phones at every price point, but there just isn’t enough to admire here.
More Cell Phone Reviews:
|Screen Details||320-by-480 LCD touchscreen|
|Bands||850, 1900, 1700|
|Operating System||Android OS|
|High-Speed Data||EVDO Rev A, LTE|
|Form Factor||Candy Bar|
|Processor Speed||1 GHz|
|Screen Size||3.65 inches|
|Storage Capacity (as Tested)||1.4 GB|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc