Samsung Instinct vs. iPhone 2G

After my Samsung Instinct trash talk, it only seemed fair to actually grab one of the suckers and give it a whirl. Above see a video comparing the two devices -- with a focus on the Instinct's UI since we all know (and love) the iPhone's UI so well. It's not everything -- I haven't set up the Instinct with email, music, or videos quite yet. Here's the thing, though: the Instinct doesn't suck.

Compared to the original iPhone 2G, the Instinct actually holds up quite well. It's not as elegant as the iPhone, the touchscreen isn't as responsive (but it does give you a little haptics-vibrate on every tap), they keyboard isn't as good (but does offer a landscape version throughout), the apps are a mix of quality iPhone knocks off and java craplets, the browser is decent but nowhere near the quality of the iPhone's, ...I could list the "not as good as" for quite awhile. The bottom line is that, feature-for-feature, the Instinct holds its own, and it's especially nice that Sprint's 'unlimited' plan includes sms, data, gps, etc.

When you use it, though, you're often presented with 'opportunities' to buy more services from Sprint, be it music (can't really complain about that, eh iTunes?), games, SprintTV channels, and so on. Basically the Instinct is designed from the get-go to be Sprint's version of the iPhone, which means that if you're in love with Sprint you'll like it.

For me, though, it's the overall fit and finish and the joy of using a device that keeps me coming back. See the title of the blog up there? Yeah, I still prefer the iPhone, but maybe I won't be as merciless in mocking the Instinct. Until the iPhone 3G with the 2.0 software comes out, because then, like Uncle Walt, I think the Instinct will not be in the same league.

Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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Samsung Instinct vs. iPhone 2G

62 Comments

The 1G iPhone is the "original" iPhone. The 2G iPhone is the "iPhone 3G". It's confusing, I know.

Thanks for the even handed review. I think Sprint out did themselves on this one. Sprint has a family data package and does include text messages in their plan. So price does go to Sprint. Although Sprint wins on price, the Instinct will never be an iPhone, but it is a really good phone.

Thanks for the review. I do not think the Instinct is a good comparison to the Iphone as the Instinct is really not a "smartphone". In that it does not run an OS, (windows mobile, apple, blackberry, palm, etc) It is essentially just a phone, with applications. Be it, a really, ultra-usable phone with the best US wireless data network and sensable plans..

I am stuck on a Sprint contract as I get a good discount through work, so I got an Instinct last week. I've been very happy with it so far. I didn't have a GPS system and the one on the Instinct works great. I didn't have an iPod and the headset quality on the Instinct is better than I thought. I'm going to drop my XM account and use the Instinct as my car radio with the unlimited streaming music channels.
Sure, I would have loved to get an iPhone, but I am really happy with the Instinct.

Oh, I should add the internet does blow on the Instinct. Its tricky for the phone to accept that you want to view the full version of the page instead of the mobile one, and half the time I get an unsupported browser warning. It also doesn't appear to support flash, etc. I wish they would have used something somewhat mainstream, like a tuned down Opera.

I hope everyone realizes that the Instinct is shooting for the second best spot. And looks to have that spot for now. Sprint has been in last place for so long that second place is a big win. They are improving their support and the network always had great potential. If Sprint picks up their game T-mobile could be the big loser.
For what is is worth I like the Instinct and think it will have tons of happy owners.
Dan
Dan at Sprint.com

I loved the Instinct when I looked at it at the store, except I had a lot of trouble typing on the keyboard. The keys, especially the second row of the keyboard seem to be a lot smaller than the iPhones keys, and I don't think you can type as fast with the stylus.

There is no place for the 2 5/8 - 4 1/8" stylus on the phone itself but the case (with no belt loop) has a place for it.
The screen is plastic and the buttons are below the sreen so they won't be wearing out.
I do like the phone but I wish the web was a little quicker. Same goes for my work email but I also have A LOT of email. I wonder if that makes any difference, maybe not....

I literally kept the phone for 72 hours and out of necessity had to return the phone. Sprint had to reactivate my trusty Treo 755p so that I would get to my meetings on time. The phone is very sleek/pretty and has some nice features, but it really is an Entertainment phone. zero advanaced functionality for even the average person that needs to keep a schedule/calendar. Or send an email to the office a few times a day. For those of us that need an effective "all-in-one tool, the Instinct and Iphone fall a little short. I don't necessarily need a phone that has all of the neat scrolling of internet pages, but I can only receive 25 outlook e-mails and the device can't sych with my calendar. I would have to still keep 2 phones to keep up with all my appointments. So I will wait until the day either Palm or blackberry realizes the gem they have and make an attempt to be a iphone rival. Or Apple begins to seriously considered capturing the rest of the market that's been alienated ,with no qualms since the beginning, the everyday workers that may be required to sync a daggone calendar with their workemail.

Interesting that the full web pages do not show up, like the NYTimes.com
On the other hand, the full NYtimes.com is rendered on Lg's Voyager which.to many remains the #1 non smart phone.
Thought it was nice of Samsung to include 2 batteries with a way to charge both at the same time. Wish Lg had done that for The Voyager.

@ KIM
Other than not being familiar with the other phones, I agree with what you say.
Call back to Sprint and make sure you still have your rebate coming to you (if you are entitled to one.) I bought a Samsung Upstage and returned it within the 30 days and was later told that I used up by rebate. I had a lengthy talk to convince them I still had it coming to me.

One thing that you didn't mention in the browser is that you can press and hold the camera button while looking at a web page...and then, you can tilt the screen and the page will scroll accordingly. Very cool...

@ Kim
Through Email/Icon at top-left/Icon of Letter w/gear/Settings, you can tell the phone "Get 25 most recent" or 25 increments up to 100.
There's also 1,2 and 3K of text.

Like the video reviews - I'd like to see more videos like this, but shorter ones. Nice choice on using Viddler.

I was going to switch from Sprint to AT&T with iPhone 3G but then I took an hour and tried out Sprint Instinct at the store. It is an awesome phone and a serious competitor (except browser which will be resolved with Opera Mini soon).
Other than that, it is very customizable, single handed operation for most stuff, fast Touch-screen response, real GPS (unlike iPhone which just tacks on Google Maps) with turn-by-turn directions.
You can even download Google maps (both street view and satellite view) on Sprint Instinct (should be integrated with GPS in a little while as well). The voice command search is awesome (you say Chinese Food and it will find nearby using GPS and even give you a one-touch number to call or one-touch to turn-by-turn GPS directions), and 30+ TV channels and a lot of Radio channels are included. It also has a camcorder that iPhone doesn't. It is perfect size (iphone is too wide).
And best of all, for $69.99 single line or $129.99 for 2 lines, you get everything that iPhone 3G will provide plus UNLIMITED Text messaging (iPhone will cost $20 extra per month!) and UNLIMITED TV and RADIO time (no TV or Radio on iPhone)!
The TeleNav GPS on Instinct is like high-end GPS unit for a car and it has voice command with real names of streets. It also checks for real-time traffic alerts and re-routes you!
You can even set Instinct up to announce (text to voice) the names of phone callers on incoming calls or text messages!
And it cost me $129.99 at BestBuy (no mail-in rebates needed) with renewal of 2-year contract (I was 23 months into the contract). This is the best deal for my money and I got 2 of them for me and my wife and she loves it!

you might wanna know that there is a place for the stylus for the instinct. it is on the i believe right hand side of the leather case the phone comes with. :)

One question: I hear the memory card you can get for the Instinct goes as high as 8 GIG. Will the Instinct play full length movies like the ones iTunes offers for the iPhone, or movies from my camcorder provided they are converted to the right format?

He is wrong about the web. You have to select the standard mode first then type in the address again then go to the real web. The instinct wins hands down with web. Faster and more ability to the links one the page. The Iphone wins in one category and that is display. I like the Iphones crystal clear and non scratchable display. In all other aspects... the instinct did clone a lot of Iphones menus and software. In all.. The Instinct wins with GPS( which is better than Garmin mobile.., and has a special feature to find the cheapest gas in your area.. then tells you how far, the price, and how to get there by 3D mapping), the web( loads faster but has a smaller screen :-( ), the texting (way more reponsive and easier to type ), Sprint TV ( with over 20 live channels including: NFL network, Comedy Central, MTV, History Channel, Sci FI, NBC, The weather Channel, the list goes on and on...Plus it works well, The camera( Which I know the Iphone 3g will have ), The expandable memory ( 8g micro cards ), Yhe price $129.99 after rebate, The network ( Sprint is true 3G, the AT&T EDGE network is not 3G as they claim. it is 2.5 in 187 of 200 major cities. This info is in RCR magazine. ), So thier network cannot support a 3G phone like the new 3G Iphone. 3g stands for 3rd generation. Although you must have the network speeds to be called 3G in order to back up your claim. In fact.. EVDO is 3G, and EVDO revA with Sprint is 3.5G wich means a difference of
..2.5G at 200kb-250kb of download speeds, and 50kb-100kb of upload speeds
..3.0G at 600kb-700kb of download speeds, and 200kb-300kb on upload speeds
..3.5G at 1000kb-1200kb of download speeds, and 500kb-700kb of upload speeds.
This may vary on signal strnegth, but the Instinct is running off of 3G speed right now. they will have an update soon to increase the ready made speed to 3.5 soon..very soon. So if you want a better display and are cool with a way slower Network then go with the I phone. Oh by the way.. unlimited talk and internet with the Iphone, which still doesn't have TV stations like Sprint included.. costs about $130 a month. SPRINT HAS MORE TO OFFER IN MORE AREAS IN THE US WITH A WAY FASTER NETWORK FOR EVERYTHING UNLIMITED (

He is wrong about the web. You have to select the standard mode first then type in the address again then go to the real web. The instinct wins hands down with web. Faster and more ability to the links one the page. The Iphone wins in one category and that is display. I like the Iphones crystal clear and non scratchable display. In all other aspects... the instinct did clone a lot of Iphones menus and software. In all.. The Instinct wins with GPS( which is better than Garmin mobile.., and has a special feature to find the cheapest gas in your area.. then tells you how far, the price, and how to get there by 3D mapping), the web( loads faster but has a smaller screen :-( ), the texting (way more reponsive and easier to type ), Sprint TV ( with over 20 live channels including: NFL network, Comedy Central, MTV, History Channel, Sci FI, NBC, The weather Channel, the list goes on and on...Plus it works well, The camera( Which I know the Iphone 3g will have ), The expandable memory ( 8g micro cards ), Yhe price $129.99 after rebate, The network ( Sprint is true 3G, the AT&T EDGE network is not 3G as they claim. it is 2.5 in 187 of 200 major cities. This info is in RCR magazine. ), So thier network cannot support a 3G phone like the new 3G Iphone. 3g stands for 3rd generation. Although you must have the network speeds to be called 3G in order to back up your claim. In fact.. EVDO is 3G, and EVDO revA with Sprint is 3.5G wich means a difference of
..2.5G at 200kb-250kb of download speeds, and 50kb-100kb of upload speeds
..3.0G at 600kb-700kb of download speeds, and 200kb-300kb on upload speeds
..3.5G at 1000kb-1200kb of download speeds, and 500kb-700kb of upload speeds.
This may vary on signal strnegth, but the Instinct is running off of 3G speed right now. they will have an update soon to increase the ready made speed to 3.5 soon..very soon. So if you want a better display and are cool with a way slower Network then go with the I phone. Oh by the way.. unlimited talk and internet with the Iphone, which still doesn't have TV stations like Sprint included.. costs about $130 a month. SPRINT HAS MORE TO OFFER IN MORE AREAS IN THE US.. WITH A WAY FASTER NETWORK FOR SIMPLY EVERYTHING... UNLIMITED ( refer to a Sprint corperate store near you ). With the totalackage in mind phone, area, and cost... There is no match for The Instinct. Now if you hear any reff comments about this notation. They probably work for another Carrier. I am a consumer who does my research. Go test the equipment yourself in a store near you. Compare and decide.

I've been a sprint subscriber for the past 2 years. I was just now eligible for the new phone every 2 years, and picked up the Instinct. I have several friends who have the iphone, and I honestly have to say I like this phone way better. It has some great features that no one is talking about including voice dialing, an extra battery including a little battery charger that can even be hooked up to a USB port, Video recording, A micro SD slot, just to name a few. Sure, its probably an iphone clone, but isn't everything a clone of something else? The real question is how much better or worse a clone the product is. In this case, I find this phone perfect.

I have been an ATT customer before it was cingular. I just returned the Instinct after trying it out for about 10 days. I'm really struggling now because I like the phone a lot but it is missing a few things that are important to me but then again, so is the iphone.Here are a few reasons for taking back. 1. For the moment the network is having issues with the visual voice mail (I have gotten several voice mails, that never reached my phone, that I had to go get the old fashioned way of dialing in). Called sprint and they said the engineers are working on it but couldn't tell me when it would have all the bugs worked out. 2. only holds up to 25 emails. 3. My cell phone is my business phone and I'm on the phone all day, I had to keep the extra battery charged because I always had to change it. 4. "The dagger in the heart" where I live I kept dropping calls, especially in my house and office. My family kept their att phones and they keep talking while I'm re-dialing. All in all, if sprint could figure out the voice message problem and get me service (the same as att where I live) I would keep the instinct and pay the $300 to move my whole family over to sprint. The instinc has some really cool features that the iphone won't have, like voice dial, gps, and searching places where you are.

Personally, the iPhone is a lot better. It may be a bit bigger, but that doesn't matter. People keep on talking about how the Instinct has GPS... THE IPHONE 3G HAS GPS TOO. IF YOU WORK IN THE APPLE BUSINESS YOU GET A CHANCE TO TEST THE NEW THINGS THAT COME AROUND. The iPhone is defiantly going to beat out the Instinct. Also, if you decide to "jailbreak" your iPhone, then you are able to download many FREE applications, including games. Face it Samsung, your phone sucks compared to iPhone 3G. You don't stand a chance.

The Instinct also is very unattractive, and only holds up to 25 emails. For work, I need to use my email on my cellphone. If you are having the same problem as me with your emails, I suggest you switch to Blackberry personally. Their phones are meant for emailing. And the new ones have handsfree, GPS, voice dial, etc. The same as Instinct and more, but it has more memory, and can hold MANY EMAILS. The only downside is that it doesn't have a touch screen. That is what I suggest.

"Until the iPhone 3G with the 2.0 software comes out."... well for people with the iPhone 2G, u can download that 2.0 software for the old iphone. so u wont HAVE to get iphone 3G =D

The "GPS" on the Newest 3Giphone is a freaking joke..its not voice turn by turn?in other words if your driving you would have to pull over to look at it or have a friend with you looking at your iphone so that they could tell you when to turn?of course sometime down the road they may release software to fix that (garmin,ect...)and of course unless you hack and crack software and passwords Apple and ATT WILL make you pay for such programs.and those are also subscriptions by either monthly or yearly.
I have an Iphone and will not be making that mistake again.

Absolutely phenomenal phone....No complaints. Minor adjustments here and there maybe in time, but for the money and the plan Sprint should be applauded. Major win for them!!!!

I keep seeing people saying the Instinct can only hold 25 emails, but wasn't there an earlier post that said you could change that setting by increments of 25 up to 100 emails? How long do you plan to be away from a real computer anyway?
I have an iPod Touch, which I love for entertainent, and I've had a Treo and Blackjack as my "smart phones". The Instinct is a reasonable blending of them all...a little business, a little fun and a nice form factor.

Everyones opinion depends what they need and use there phones for. Personally the instinct is the phone for me due to its gps and internet features. If an Iphone is better for what you need then get an Iphone. I dont see what anyone here gains from arguing.

I got my iPhone last summer and LOVE it. It's such a beautiful product and I never have to wait long for internet. Only minor issues I have with it are that it's very slippery, it's slipped out of my hand a few times. Also, the keyboard is so sensitive that if I'm not paying attention, it will over-correct and give me a wrong word and send it!Finally, YouTube videos are not good quality and I wish iPhone would put live TV and Radio! I still am addicted to my iPhone and wouldn't trade it for anything!!

What r u knuckle heads talking about.The iPhone is crap compared to the instinct.I use to have a blackberry as wide and big as the iPhone(tacky).The Instinct us a perfect size and typing with the stylus is a breeze.So for all the ither reasons everyone says u should get the Instinct instead of the iPhone/I SO AGREEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Hey, does anyone use their iPhone as an emergency flashlight?! LOL, just wondering...it's my workhorse. In the words of Jim Gaffigan, "they just love it, love it, love it, love it, love it....."

To everyone on the 25 emails on the instinct. That's the default setting, you can configure it to show up to 100 just by changing a simple setting in the config.

I have both phones, and really I am having a hard time deciding which one I am going to keep. The instinct has more out the box features and does some thing the iphone does not do...like turn by turn voice notifications, ability to forward voicemail to email, mms, tv, voice to action button out the box...Finally a much better rate plan $99 vs $149 for AT&T for unlimited everything, and no insurance for the Iphone.
Howevr, what the iphone does it does better and it has a Calendar Sync, which whoever at sprint that signed off on this phone to come to marke to compete wth Iphone with no calendar sync, needs to be fired, that is just plain stupid!!!! The iphone user experiene, graphics, itunes nd internet experience is much much much better. The say Instinct is faster, on some web pags it is, but Iphone outperformes the Instinct on 90% of wed pages, duties, etc. No comparison. Calender, contacts etc..ease of use with itunes, and then finally the application store....
It is close..very very close, im leaning towards the iphone, but I have til friday to return the instinct for my refund..so I will be thinking all week long.

hey, the pen that comes with the Instinct goes in the side of the case that came with it. It does not go in the phone anywhere.

yeah......well i would say when i saw this page i was mad because im about to get a iphone and i want my hone to be the best and people saying that the instinct is batter i wasnt impressed about that but i want a phone with full enternet and every thing possible a phone could have ill put 2 thumbs up for the instinct and ill put 3 for iphone the winner is IPHONE it will always be the iphone until they make a better iphone 3000 thats it .....

I have two simple questions, as I am very impressed with both phones: Does the Instinct work with Apple Mail (the "push" mail), Contacts, Calendar, etc? Does it "sync" with Mac applications? Thanks to all of you who have gone out of your way to review this without silly arguments.. very mature forum!!

7/17 Bought INSTICT via Sprint tele Sales. That night SPRINT suspends existing current act! 7/18 Sprint c/s rep says - sorry! $15 inconvience credit. Then Sprint Collection sends 'ABT TO BE SUSPDN text msg". Sprint rep - another "SORRY" - and texts "I'm Sorry" 7/22 Phone arrives. SPRINT REP says cant activate on existing SERO plan, $99 plan only. Transfers me to Retention dept. Retention rep say "You should not have even gotten the phone with your plan". Bottem line, they sold me a phone and refuse to activate unless I sign $99 plan. Bait & switch!! Shopping now for IPHONE or Blackberry. Sprint days are over!

Hey i was wondering if i could get input from some of you guys. I have sprint service and i am not switching, but i wanted to upgrade my Moto Q (worst phone i've had), and i was about to buy an Instinct until i found out that it does not sync your calendar and cannot open email attachements. It seems
like a good phone but i really need something that can schedule appointments a month ahead and that can read excel files, and would surf the net at a decent pace. What would you guys recommend with in the sprint network?.

I am in a Sprint contract and have always enjoyed good service with Sprint. I use a Mac and want to know what issues (good or bad) there are with Instinct versus the iPhone. I'm pretty much convinced on the Instinct, but not sure about compatibility with iCal, Me.com and other Mac software.

I think this is the crappiest review ever. Hey dude, ever think that most of the things on the iPhone didn't work because you didn't have an ACTIVE service? No the iPhone didn't have problems finding you. Google maps can't find your location based on a WIFI connection. That's a dumb assumption. If you're going to have a website that REVIEWS iPhones, then at least have an active service. I sat there for 20 minutes for nothing. Change the name of your website because you didn't help at all.

Today is my last day on my current job, and I am turning in my company phone, therefore, I have to buy my own phone. It was down to the iPhone vs. the Instinct, and your review was right on time.
Thank you for the comparison and the time you took to put this all together.

I will never understand why people (sheep) are willing to pay more. I guess I am guilty as well, but only because I didn't know better. After comparing plans, I switched from AT&T to Sprint. Sprint is rock solid on voice and data at a lower cost. Everything is an Add-in with AT&T. I made the switch, and I'm glad I did. I guess no one remembers AT&T before the federally enforced break-up. It's still the same company working towards the same monopoly.

instinct is a better phone than iphone, and by the way the people tht dont like the side bars on the web to get the one on the left to go away press the voice command button and to get it back press it again

I have never had the i pod or am I interested, but the instinct is just amazing the navigation is just incredible it took me around bit Houston Tx. like it was nothing wonderful phone, you got the world in there. defenitely a ten out of ten no doubt

Best idea, just don't go with them in the first place. I got a samsung instinct and almost instantly loathed it. SLOW internet. The tv feature came with only a few free channels (all of them sports or news). Gotta pay extra for more channels (which is largely more sport stuff). There are practically no apps to download for this phone. Most of the apps you can download are demos of some lame-o-game. Some of the third party apps you manage to download successfully wont work because there is no keypad! The camera quality is a mere 2mp. "Wow, I can almost make out your fuzzy face!" Oh, same issue with the Radio as with TV, only get a few free stations. It came with a youtube app, but good luck getting a video on that slow internet to load. The few websites I could load did not work well. Most problems revolved around submit buttons not working. There is also no 1 hand texting on this thing (not easily at least). Almost forgot, their tech support is very difficult to understand. Is there someone who speaks English?
There's a couple good things about it though,
Email easy and convenient...
GPS is works well...
Sleek design
the instinct is to iphone as a bicycle is to the dodge tomohawk...

The problem we're having is with keeping the Instinct unlocked. When the phone is on but not being used it seems to automatically lock. When I receive a call I have to try unlocking it, by which time I've missed the call. I can't seem to figure out how to keep it unlocked. Can someone help?

Hi! I mobile blog with a Samsung Instinct. I travel with hubby, take photos with my Instinct then attach them to emails and send to my blogs.
I've found some free apps that make browsing easier. Check here for latest stuff katsfreephotos.blogspot.com

Well I was just searching on Google for some videos and songs of my favorite singers and just came across your blog, generally I just visit blogs and retrieve my required information but this time the useful information that you posted in this post compelled me to reply here and appreciate your good work. I just bookmarked your blog :).

You can't go wrong with any 1980's Mercedes SL series. I personally like the 450 SL. They are relatively cheap, last forever, and are pretty fast. I think they have more class then the BMW buts thats me. Personally I love my Porsche.