The Samsung Transform Ultra might not be new to you, neither was it to us as Sprint had already released the phone on its Sprint Boost prepaid network before. However, now Sprint is taking the phone to the postpaid business. Although changes have been made to the software, the rest of the hardware remains the same. The Samsung Transform Ultra serves as an upgrade to the Samsung Platform and as such its feature sets have been given a breath of fresh air so the phone remains as a contender in the mid range smartphone category. Read on to find out if it actually manages that.
The Samsung Transform Ultra hasn’t changed much in terms of design when compared to its predecessor as it is still offering the side-sliding QWERTY keyboard. We feel that it’s good that Samsung didn’t change that part of the design. This keyboard with all of its four rows slides out from the side with the spring-assist which is pretty solid and feels like it was built to last. The keyboard is something we loved, as the keys weren’t cramped but they were spaced nicely so you make as little errors as possible. The keyboard also makes you feel for sure that you clicked on something and gives a good response to it too. Although a spacebar that felt more solid would have been better but we can live with that. We would recommend that the auto-correct is kept off as it more often than not gets the wrong word or punctuation.
This keyboard sits beneath a 3.5 inch HVGA screen. Right below this screen you see four physical buttons instead of the usual capacitive ones. The Samsung Transform Ultra is a smartphone that will sit in your hands so comfortably that you won’t want to let it go. It’s a tat bit smaller than its predecessor at 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.55 inches, thus making it feel that way. The buttons around the phone are well made that everything adds up to making the phone feel very well built. Speaking of buttons, the camera key is on the right while the volume rocker sits on the left. On the top of the phone is the power key together with the standard audio jack. Finally, you can use the microUSB port on the bottom for charging and the like. A nicely done slide mechanism together with the textured battery door gets another nod from us. The phone may be made of plastic, but there are no doubts on how well it has been designed. Flip the phone and on the back is a 3MP camera that will be talked about later on.
What’s under the hood you ask? A Quallcomm Snaprdragon S2 processor that runs at 1GHz sits within the phone to provide all the processing demands thrown at the Samsung Transform Ultra. Thanks to the 512MB of RAM onboard, the performance is all the more better. Of course, you have to look at it as a mid range smartphone and not compare it with the giants of the smartphone business. Samsung Transform Ultra comes with 1GB of ROM and a 2GB memory card out of the box. However, if you need more space you can always upgrade it to a 32GB card.
One of the major differences between the Samsung Transform Ultra in the postpaid version when compared to the prepaid Sprint Boost version is the software. The phone runs on the Anrdoid v2.3.4 Gingerbread. We are not shocked that it’s not using the latest Ice Cream Sandwich version of Android because this is a mid-range device after all. Having this software means that you now have SprintID customization on the phone. It’s nothing new for someone who has used a SprintID phone before though. Nevertheless, for those who don’t know what SprintID can be used for, well for starters you can download themes that give you everything from wallpapers, new look for widgets, apps and also ringtones. The themes range from things like health and fitness to fashion or even fantasy football.
The Samsung Transform Ultra comes with a decently sized 3.5 inch screen that comes with HVGA resolution. It’s refreshing to see a screen for a smartphone that is bright enough to take on the wrath of the sun. However, the screen showed that it lacked in terms of details as you will find yourself squinting when trying to read small text. In conclusion, we think it’s a pretty good display for a mid range smartphone as it is pretty responsive too.
On the back of the phone sits a 3MP camera that also sports LED flash. Since we are in the topic of cameras, it’s worth a mention that the front of the phone has a VGA shooter as well. From our testing, we found the camera impressing with macro shots. The details were more than we had expected, so we got a pleasant surprise there. The color reproduction on the shots that were taken was also top notch in our opinion. When given the challenge of taking on strong backlighting face to face, the camera faced some problems. This was the case with photos taken in low light situations as well. Sadly, video recording can only be done at VHA resolution, so we don’t recommend that too much.
The nice thing with Samsung Transform Ultra was it performed really well when it came to internet browsing. We liked how pages loaded swiftly even when the pages had Flash content. Navigating through web pages with the pan or pinch functions was as smooth as it can be. As for the connectivity options, we had Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth onboard. This phone is also a 3G device that runs on Sprint’s EVDO Rev.
Moving on to the call quality obtained from the Samsung Tansform Ultra, we are pleased to tell you that we liked it and so did our friends who answered our calls for the test. They said that albeit our voice being a little hollow, it was loud, clear and free from static and echo. On our end, things were pretty much the same, which means it’s all good. Coming packed with a 1500mAh battery means that you will get about 7 hours of talk time. If you are an average user, then you can even use it for more than a day.
Pros and Cons
The Samsung Transform Ultra impresses us with its really good build quality. The QWERTY keyboard also catches our attention as it’s well designed and slides out easily. The smartphone also doesn’t show any signs on lag when in use.
The screen with its low resolution was a major downer. We also felt like the spacebar could have been a bit stronger so it would last.
The Samsung Transform Ultra does a good job for a phone that’s looking to fit in the mid range smartphone category. Sprint might just have made the right move to work with Samsung on this phone.