Having first appeared on Sprint’s Boost Mobile MVNO, the Samsung Transform Ultra has made it’s way to the mothership. The Transform Ultra is an update to the original Samsung Transform which released back in October 2010. This one pack an upgraded processor (1GHz vs. 800MHz), Android OS version (2.3.4 vs. 2.1), and some other minor changes. Is it worth getting on a 2-year agreement?
FREE with new 2/yr agreement during RadioShack Holiday sale
$49.99 with renewal of 2/yr agreement
$399.99 off contract
Where to Purchase:
Phones in Category:
Samsung Captivate Glide – $499.99 @ AT&T w/ no contract, $149.99 with 2yr agreement
Samsung Indulge – $309.99 @ Cricket Wireless w/ no contract
Side-slider form factor
1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Processor
CDMA 800/1900, EV-DO Rev A
116 x 61 x 14 mm
Capacitive Multi-touch HVGA touchscreen
Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
320 x 480 pixels | 3.5 inches
2GB Internal storage, up to 32GB microSD/microSDHC
3 MP Rear Camera with LED flash and Camcorder option
0.3 MP Front-facing VGA camera
Video calling with included Qik software
Full-size QWERTY keyboard
- Android 2.3.4
Sprint’s Carrier software (Sprint ID, SprintZone, Sprint Mobile Wallet)
- Li-Ion 1500 mAh Battery
Snappy UI, and pretty much vanilla AOSP look and feel.
Good benchmark scores
Good battery life – while only being connected to Wi-Fi on occasion and the rest of the time being spent in idle mode cell standby, it was at 80% battery life after more than 17 hours. Don’t expect that to be the norm as you use the device, but all things considered that is really good for a device when in idle state.
Sliding the device open halfway auto-unlocks the phone, instead of just displaying the unlock screen, thus making accidental entries possible
Keys on the keyboard are only slightly raised, making typing on it difficult compared to other QWERTY keyboards. Looks like that was done to keep the thin profile.
Sometimes the auto-brightness was a little too aggressive and sometimes very sluggish. Hard to get a sense for how it’s checking light levels.
In The Box:
2GB microSD card with SD adapter
- Front – Speaker ~ 3.5 in screen ~ physical Home / Menu / Back / Search keys ~ front-facing camera
- Back – Speaker ~ 3 MP Camera ~ LED flash
- Top – Power button ~ 3.5mm headphone port
- Bottom – Charging/USB port ~ Microphone
- Left – Volume Up/Down
- Right – Dedicated camera button
- Your one-stop source to access your wireless account, phone tipes, news, a list of top apps and more. Access Sprint TV®, GPS Navigation, NASCAR Sprint Cup MobileSM and Sprint Music Plus.
- Sprint ID
- Allows you to instantly personalize your phone to complement your needs and interests. Customers can download an ID pack which contains apps, widgets, ringtones and wallpapers tailored to their individual interests or needs.
- Video-calling with other users of the mobile and desktop versions of the software.
- Sprint Mobile Wallet
- It allows customers to use a universal PIN to make purchases using their Visa, MasterCard and Amazon Payments accounts along with other payment methods, right on their phone. There’s no need to enter credit card information with every purchase – customers just select Sprint Mobile Wallet at checkout, enter their PIN, and choose their payment method or account from those saved in the Sprint Mobile Wallet
- ThinkFree Office
- Microsoft Office compatible office suite for your Android mobile device. Allows you to manage your documents on/off line via a Thinkfree.com account.
There is nothing special about this 3 MP camera – it takes pictures as you would expect. However it had a number of great options in “Scene Mode” that I had not seen before. The front-facing camera isn’t really worth much in terms of actual picture taking due to it’s sub 1 MP (0.3 MP) picture quality. Here are a few samples of the pictures the rear-facing 3 MP camera takes (click for larger image):
The Music player is the standard AOSP app – nothing special. It plays MP3 files which you can add from the SD card or download.
I used Fruit Ninja to test out gaming as it’s become quite the addiction for me. On this device I found myself wishing for my normal phone. This is where the auto-brightness issues came into play for me. It was virtually impossible to see the screen and play the game as the screen brightness was so low even though I was in a bright room so the screen should have auto-adjusted up which it didn’t.
The game play itself was good – and the touchscreen was very responsive and there was no perceived lag. Playing a game like this is difficult in my opinion as the screen size (3.5”) just doesn’t lend itself to a lot of action games. So I tried out Hanging with Friends and I was very pleased with the overall gameplay. The auto-brightness issues didn’t bother me in this game and I was able to lose as normal.
I was sceptical at first about this device, having used low-end Samsung devices before (Moment, Intercept) but I was pleasantly surprised at all this device has to offer. Having a relative lightly modified AOSP UI is a huge plus for me, and keeps a lot of the bloat that tends to come with customized UI’s (TouchWIZ, Motoblur, Sense, etc.) which in turn slows down the device and can hamper the user’s experience. This device goes a long ways towards a viable mid-range handset. While the keyboard itself is a little problematic for smaller hands, I feel that someone with larger hands could compensate for the smaller-profile keys. I will definitely recommend this device to those looking to join or continue with Sprint or Boost but don’t want the high-dollar devices that can come with the territory.