The Samsung Galaxy Exhibit is a slightly modified version of the unlocked Galaxy S III Mini. Keep in mind, however, that the GS III Mini isn’t a shrunken version of the Galaxy S III—the G S III is bigger and badder in every way. But the Galaxy Exhibit has similar software and features, wrapped up in a smaller, more pocketable design.
From the front, the Galaxy Exhibit does look a lot like a miniaturized version of the Galaxy S III, with the same single Home button, the same plastic silver ring around the face, and the same pebble blue color. But at 4.78 by 2.46 by 0.42 inches (HWD) and 4.27 ounces, it’s a lot squatter, thicker, and less elegant. The back panel here is made of matte plastic, and a curiously blue metallic embellishment around the camera sensor makes it look like someone forgot to take the protective shipping sticker off of it.
The nice thing about the design is that this phone is a lot easier to handle than a big phone like the Galaxy S III, especially if you have smaller hands. But I found the on-screen keyboard a bit too small and difficult to type on, which isn’t usually a problem I encounter on other phones this size. At least it has Swype built-in, which allows you to drag your finger across the keys in order to type out words more easily.
And speaking of size, the Galaxy Exhibit has a 3.8-inch, 800-by-480-pixel TFT LCD. It looks reasonably sharp, though colors aren’t particularly brilliant, and it could stand to go a bit brighter. Two backlit capacitive touch keys can be found on either side of the physical Home key. There’s a Power button on the right side of the phone, a Volume rocker and microSD slot on the left, and a power port on the bottom.
Network, Plans, and Call Quality
The Galaxy Exhibit is one of the first MetroPCS phones to run on T-Mobile’s network. T-Mobile is GSM-based, as opposed to MetroPCS, which is CDMA. Right now you can only get this phone if you live in Boston, MA; Hartford, CT; or Las Vegas, NV. MetroPCS plans to add additional markets soon, though it makes your chance of getting on T-Mobile’s network through MetroPCS extremely limited at the moment.
But if you’re a MetroPCS user, why should you want to get on T-Mobile’s network anyway? Well, since the T-Mobile/MetroPCS merger, MetroPCS will slowly be folded into T-Mobile. MetroPCS will ultimately stop selling CDMA phones, and while they will continue to work, there will be no additional improvements made to its CDMA network. This is in stark contrast to T-Mobile’s GSM and LTE networks, which the company plans to improve considerably. On top of that, if you’re using a MetroPCS phone, and you travel outside of the native coverage area, you start to roam on Sprint’s 3G network. T-Mobile already has a wider coverage area than MetroPCS, and its 3G network is vastly superior to Sprint’s, so you’re going to see better speeds.
The Galaxy Exhibit can be paired with any current 4G service plan. Take that with a grain of salt, as the Galaxy Exhibit doesn’t support T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, or even HSPA+ 42, so you’re not actually getting real 4G data rates. Still, MetroPCS offers some pretty compelling contract-free rates. $40 per month gets you unlimited talk, text, and 500MB of ‘4G’ data, with throttled speeds after that. $50 ups the ante to 2.5GB of ‘4G’ data, while $60 per month gets you truly unlimited everything.
Compare those rates with T-Mobile, where each plan basically costs $10 more. Contract-free rates start at $50 per month, and that gets you all the talk and texts you want, along with 500MB of high-speed (3G or 4G) data per month, after which your speeds are throttled. $60 gets you 2GB of high-speed data, and $70 gets you unlimited high-speed data. But while T-Mobile is just a little pricier, you get a vastly larger selection of phones to choose from.