By Seth Weintraub
July 15, 2010

Although Apple has again pulled the spotlight from Android launches, today is a huge day for high-end phones.

If you are in the market for a high end Android phone, you likely have today checked off on your calendar.  Verizon’s much talked about monster truck of a phone, the Droid X, goes on sale today.  Verizon has made a big deal of the launch including this video which they posted to YouTube last night:

Droid X might not even be the best Android device launching today, however.  Bigger isn’t always better.

T-Mobile is the first carrier to release their Samsung Galaxy S phone.  Theirs is called the Vibrant and has a very appealing form factor.  I’ve been using one for the past few days and I am very impressed with the hardware.

I’m not a big fan of skins whether they are HTC’s Sense, Motorola’s Blur and now Samsung’s attempt, which is goes more in the direction of the iPhone than its competitors.  I’m really hoping at some point, Google (GOOG)  does away with carrier and manufacturer skins.

The buttons on the bottom of the Vibrant are also smaller, only lit up when touched first and have a weaker haptic touch than the other devices.

The Android OS and the major functions are all there, once you cut through the skin.  The camera is only 5 megapixels and comes without a flash.  But you won’t miss them with Samsung’s great CCD and ISO controls (brought over from their camera line).  It does 720P video as well.

Compare Samsung Galaxy’s specs to a new iPhone: 4-inch screen to the iPhone’s 3.5-inches.  Then compare the weight.  The iPhone is significantly (20 grams) heavier. The Vibrant is also thinner than the iPhone, if you have the requisite “bumper”.  Without a bumper there is less than a millimeter of difference.  And the vibrant feels good in your hand, not like a squared off piece of metal.

To showcase the screen, which is definitely the focal point of this device, Samsung provides the full  Avatar movie in its entirely with the phone.  It is a site to behold on the 4-inch Super AMOLED display.  See if your eyes can make out any pixels.  If I am a T-Mobile store manager, all of my Vibrants are running Avatar 24/7.

T-Mobile’s network in New York City is pretty solid and this thing does a much better job of keeping calls than my iPhone 3GS or iPhone 4, which may or may not get some help from Apple tomorrow.

If you can somehow see through the Apple hype (which strangely seems to surface around the time of big Android launches) you’ll find.

The Vibrant is available directly from T-Mobile for $199 (after $50 rebate) with a two year contract (or for $149 at Amazon w/o rebates).

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