Review

The Samsung Admire ($99) is a fine, midrange Android smartphone. It’s not a device for power users, but it’s a decent introduction to Android for MetroPCS customers looking to take advantage of the carrier’s inexpensive monthly plans. It’s not perfect, and there are better options out there, but it should satisfy people who aren’t too demanding of their smartphones.

Design and Call Quality
The Samsung Admire doesn’t look or feel like a luxury device. Made entirely of shiny black plastic, with a textured back panel and ribbed bands running along the sides, this isn’t a phone you’ll be running to show your friends. But at 4.6 by 2.4 by .5 inches (HWD) and 4.1 ounces, it’s compact and easy to hold. The 3.5-inch, 320-by-480-pixel capacitive touch screen looks suitably sharp and bright enough, though certainly not on par with higher end devices. Four clicky hardware function keys sit below the screen. Typing felt somewhat cramped on the on-screen Swype QWERTY keyboard, though dialing numbers was fine.

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The Samsung Admire is a tri-band, 2G 1xRTT (800/1700/1900 MHz) device with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi. It connected to my WPA2-encrypted Wi-Fi network without a problem. Reception was fine, but voice quality was mixed. Calls sounded relatively full and loud in the earpiece, but voices had a robotic quality. On the other end, calls made with the phone sounded muffled and unclear, though noise cancellation was very good. Calls sounded better through an Jawbone Icon Bluetooth headset ($99, 4 stars) and voice dialing worked fine over Bluetooth without training. The speakerphone is far too quiet to use outside. Battery life was average, at 5 hours 18 minutes of talk time.

The Admire runs the latest version of Android, 2.3.4 (Gingerbread), which is a big plus. Samsung hasn’t done much tinkering with the UI, so it’s a relatively straight Android build. There are five customizable home screens you can swipe between, which come preloaded with a few standard apps and widgets. MetroPCS has saddled the Admire with a fair amount of bloatware. Some of it is useful, some of it is pointless, some of it is deletable, and some of it is not.