Construction, Design, Size & Materials
The Samsung Galaxy S has a great feel in your hand. The Galaxy S does not feel too large in your hand at all, even with it’s superb 4″ Display. The phone has generally has a solid feel to it, although I definitely would have preferred the contrusction to be more along the lines of the Samsung Wave.
The Galaxy S is extremely thin at just 9.9mm, which means even at it’s size, it fits into your pocket with ease.
The back of the Samsung Galaxy S is a plastic contruction, with a colour scheme that makes me think of Carbon. I must say that the back cover seemed a little flimsy, although not to the point that it would snap or come off … but I did notice s tiny amount of play when you squeeze it against the phone. I am very sure that it won’t break though, as the review unit has visible marks of being dropped and knocked a few times before I got my hands on it and all was still well.
The left side of the Galaxy S contains the volume up and down rocker switch and the loudspeaker.
The right side contains the power button. There is no dedicated camera button.
The Top of the Samsung Galaxy S contains the MicroUSB port which has a cover that slides open and closed to access the MicroUSB. The 3.5mm Headphone jack is also on the top of the Galaxy S.
The bottom of the Galaxy S just has the microphone and nothing else.
Underneath the Display, the Galaxy S has 2 Soft-Touch buttons being the Back button and the Menu button, as well as a center Home button which is an actual button and not Soft-Touch.
The Samsung Galaxy S’s SUPER AMOLED display is quite easily the best cellphone display I’ve EVER looked at. The colours are extremely rich and vibrant, and the black really is black, not some toned down version of grey. In fact, the device reproduces black so well, that sometimes, I couldn’t tell the difference between the actual screen and the surrounding cover.
It may not be as high resolution as an iPhone 4, but that made no difference to me, I still couldn’t see the actual pixels and watching a movie on the device is a great experience. Samsung always seems to be the market innovator when it comes to phone displays, but they have definitely outdone themselves on this one. I really cannot explain how amazing this display is … you need to see it for yourself.
The touchscreen on the display is also one of the best I have come accross. It is very sensitive, so you definitely won’t find yourself swiping the screen again because it didn’t register or anything like that. It is sensitive enough, that it works even with my fingernail (something that most Capacitative touchscreens don’t do).
The ambient light sensor on the Galaxy S works like a charm, and actually dims or brightens the screen to a desired setting.
Probably the best part about the SUPER AMOLED display, is that it is still viewable in direct sunlight. Sure, it won’t be as vibrant as it is under normal conditions, but the important part is that the text is fully legible, andyou don’t have to squint to read it.
User Interface & Included Software
The Samsung Galaxy S’s user interface is really great, not over the top, but functional. The app menu tends to remind one of the iPhone’s interface, which altogether isn’t a bad thing considering it is an easy to use interface.
On the main screen, you have up to 7 available screens, which you can set to be displayed or not. On the unit I used, I did not use them all so I set them to just 3.
The Samsung Touchwiz 3.0 app menu is also customizable, which is a nice change from the standard Android app menu. Basically, you can edit the app menu and move the icons where ever you would like in the menu and create additional menu pages. In addition, something I really liked about the app menu, is that in edit mode (which is a simple click of the dedicated menu button and then “edit” ) you can remove an application just by tapping it. A much easier and better alternative to having to go to Application Settings or the Android Market App downloads page to remove apps.
Samsung have also included quite a bit of software, if not at first on the phone, available as a free download from the Samsung App Store ( Don’t worry though, this is not meant to replace the Android Market, but rather an addition. ). Just some of the apps I found for download include a keyboard that uses the camera so you can see in front of you as you walk and type, a remote control app that connects to Samsung TV’s that have Wi-Fi, a 3D racing game called Asphault, and a whole bunch of other stuff. (Take a look at the gallery at the bottom of this article to see images with the list of apps).
Samsung also include an interesting piece of computer based software to interface with the Galaxy S, called Samsung Kies. When you open it up, it resembles it’s own operating system, although it isn’t actually an operating system. It is a useful piece of software in that it allows you to backup your sms’s, edit your photo’s and a whole bunch of other things. What’s really nice is that there was no hassle at all on my part to install the software and get it to read the Galaxy S … I literally just installed it, plugged the phone in and it worked.
Camera – Image & Video Recording Quality
The photo quality on the Samsung Galaxy S is good but nothing amazing, but the video quality is astounding.
I think Samsung overlooked the camera when developing this phone. The fact they did not integrate some form of lighting also shows this fact as many users of phones such as these enjoy clicking photos at night with friends. The day quality of the Camera is very good, but without a camera light, night photos are grainy at best.
The video on the other hand is superb (in the light of course). The video records at 720p which is HD and amazing. To watch a video you just recorded on the Galaxy’s screen also adds to the immersion with the amazing display … but playing back the video on an LCD TV shouldn’t be a problem either. In fact, it would have been nice if Samsung had included an HDMI cable of some sort, but there is always next time (Samsung, I hope you’re reading this).
Multimedia – Photos, Videos & Music
The Samsung Galaxy S makes for an awesome Multimedia phone, definitely one of the best I’ve seen.
With a huge 4″ display of the Samsung Super AMOLED quality, coupled with an amazing 1Ghz processor that outdoes itself in the benchmarks, the Samsung Galaxy S is the perfect device to watch movies on the go.
The screen is definitely more than large enough to enable you to show your lovely collection of photos to your grandmother, she definitely won’t struggle to see them!
Samsung were also kind enough to include a decent handsfree headphone set, which are proper in-ear headphones. I tested them out, and they compared favourably to my Sennheiser in-ear headphones … making the point that Samsung want you to use the Galaxy for your personal media … and listening to music on the device is, how you say … Magnifique (Said with tantalising french accent)!
The battery life on the Samsung Galaxy S is very good for a phone with such a large display and such powerful spec’s. The only time I found the battery was draining quickly, was when I had two specific apps on the phone running as services, WhatApp and PingChat. Other than with these two apps, the Samsung would easily last a full day with heavy usage and two day with moderate usage.
Either way though, the battery on the Galaxy S is definitely much better then my HTC Magic, even with it’s smaller screen and lesser spec’s.
The Samsung Galaxy S is a super performer!
It includes the ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor, 512MB Ram, a 2GB Rom and 8GB Internal Storage, and Samsung were still thoughtful enough to include an 8GB MicroSD card, giving you a whopping 16GB of Storage Space!
The benchmarks speak for themselves though with the following results:
Linpack, the benchmark for processing speed, scored a staggering 8.05 Megaflops, an amazing score to be had on a phone that hasn’t been tweaked by the user.
Neocore, the benchmark for 3D graphics, scored a whopping 55 Frames Per Second … ensuring that the Samsung will handle any game you can throw at it.
With the Samsung upgrading to Android 2.2 Froyo in the coming months, the speed will be set to improve even further, as if it wasn’t fast enough as is … definitely something to look out for!
Notifications and Alerts
The Samsung Galaxy S’s speakerphone is quite ample, and you shouldn’t be missing any calls any time soon. The vibrating alert is also decent, and in most cases you will feel it in your pocket.
What I really thought was a nice touch though, is the included Alarm alerts … something I have never seen on a phone before (or any device for that matter). It is called the smart alarm, and basically, you set the alarm … and the phone will gradually wake you up. The really interesting part were the alarm tones … when you switch on the Smart Alarm, you have a choice of various soundtracks such as Morning or Rain Forest and a few others.
My favourite was the Rain Forest soundtrack, which is exactly what you would think you should hear in a rain forest in the morning … birds chirping softly, bugs tweetering and leave’s brushing in the wind, coupled together with some light instrumental music. To be honest, I would have thought something like this would put me to sleep, but contrary to my belief, it would wake me up in the morning in a good mood, usually with an unoblivious smile on my face.
Samsung was the first phone in South Africa to be introduced with the new SWYPE text input system, which essentially re-invents the wheel and is the next generation of virtual keyboard for a touchscreen phone.
I really enjoyed using SWYPE, it is truly an amazing piece of software, and whoever I demoed this to in my circle of friends was flabbergasterd. This is an app that you honestly cannot understand how useful it is until you have used it. Make sure your next phone has SWYPE on it!
The Samsung Galaxy S is an outstanding phone and I can happily say that it is almost the ultimate phone, aside from the few gripes I mentioned above. If you are looking for your next Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S is it … and you will be impressed indeed.
Ease of use: 5/5