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Samsung Exhibit II 4G (T-Mobile) review

Is a low price this budget 4G phone's best asset?

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The Samsung Exhibit II 4G (T-Mobile) runs Android 2.3: Gingerbread and Samsung's TouchWiz. While this smartphone has unfortunately been left behind by the even more deliciously named Android 4.0: Ice Cream Sandwich, the dual technologies are a useful combination.

The lock screen displays the time and date in big letters. Incoming text messages are displayed briefly, in small letters at the top of the screen, and the phone displays icons for quick access to missed calls and new texts until they are viewed.

The top of the lock screen is rather cluttered with icons, including a second clock, battery level, ringer status, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and alerts for apps in need of updating. Facebook and email alerts also appear here briefly.

Gingerbread and TouchWiz

The Exhibit II's combination of the Android Gingerbread OS and Samsung's TouchWiz interface allows for up to seven different home screens, which can be outfitted with apps and widgets of your choosing. The four primary icons at the bottom of the screen are Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications.

Samsung Exhibit II 4G T Mobile

Newly downloaded apps start off under the Application icon, and can be dragged to a home screen for easy access. This helps reduce clutter, since not every app needs to be on a home screen.

Many Widgets of varying degrees of usefulness come pre-loaded, and can be added or removed from any home screen. A Google search bar with voice recognition is an essential, and an Android widget that offers interface tips is helpful for new smartphone users. T-Mobile's recommend apps Widget was an eyesore, but easily done away with.

All in all, the interface is simple and pretty, but did have a tendency to become sluggish or unresponsive with multiple apps running.

Performance

With only 512MB of memory (356 available for non-OS functions), multitasking is not one of the Exhibit II's strengths. Thankfully, the phone has an Active Applications widget, which tells you how much system memory is being used, and allows for easy management of multiple apps.

Samsung Exhibit II 4G T Mobile

While app loading times were generally fair, the interface became slow when exiting or resuming processor-intensive apps such as games or streaming media services. Home screen navigation would be noticeably slowed, and icons would pop in after a second. It was nothing unreasonable; just don't expect the snappy response of a multi-core processor device.

Overall, the Exhibit II performed well enough if given a chance to "catch its breath" in between applications.