Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Aviator

Given that my personal cell provider is US Cellular, I was pretty excited to get my hands on its first 4G LTE device and potentially my new smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S Aviator.

The Aviator’s touch screen measures in at 4.3 inches. The size seemed to be a good compromise between practicality and flashiness. The screen is big enough to text, watch videos and browse web pages easily, but sleek enough where it doesn’t feel like an inconvenience to tote around. Actually, if two features that you look for in a mobile are thin and lightweight, I would definitely look into the Aviator.

Aside from the design, a few other notable features include the camera and HDMI output. The 8 – megapixel rear camera takes good pictures, similar to that of the iPhone 4s or Galaxy S Skyrocket. The HDMI output allows users to connect to other devices to watch videos or movies on bigger screens. While I’m not that savvy on how to utilize the HDMI port, it seems pretty convenient if that’s your thing.

The Aviator’s biggest draw is its 4G LTE capability. I was expecting the device to default to the 4G LTE setting, but I found I had to do some Google work to switch the settings. Through my searches, I also found that keeping your mobile in 3G unless you’re doing heavy web surfing or downloading will make a significant impact on your battery life. So if battery life is important, try keeping it in 3G whenever possible.

When I did switch the Aviator to 4G LTE, there was I a dramatic improvement when running the applications and browsing the web. Loading and streaming videos had little buffering time, and downloading web pages was a breeze. Unfortunately, the 4G LTE network is currently only available in some areas including Madison,  Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Appleton, Monroe, Platteville and Portage, so Wisconsin residents outside elsewhere in the state won’t be able to take advantage of the 4G LTE network just yet.

Tech Review: Samsung Galaxy Aviator

Aside from network issues, I hope the device is in the running for the Android Ice Cream Sandwich update. Straight out the box, the Aviator currently runs Android’s Gingerbread platform, which is fine for the short term. Though as newer devices are coming out with Ice Cream Sandwich, it would be good to see an update made available for the Aviator to keep it as current as possible.

Generally, I like US Cellular’s choice to go with the Samsung Aviator as its first 4G LTE smartphone. As I mentioned earlier, the device is flashy but still user friendly and includes all the bells and whistles you could want in a smartphone. In the future, I’d like to see a software upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich and less work to connect to 4G LTE.

The Aviator is currently available for $199 with a two-year contract in most US Cellular stores. However, if you live in one of US Cellular’s new 4G LTE network areas, you will receive a $100 rebate and only pay $99 for the Aviator.  Though I had problems with the 4G LTE network initially, it’s still worth going into a US Cellular store and seeing it for yourself, especially for only $99.

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