Utilising Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology, the slim and lightweight Galaxy S offers a mesmerizing display, with vibrant colours even in bright sunlight. Its multimedia capabilities are the top of the line. However, users who are accustomed to sturdy high-end handhelds may be put off by the ‘plasticky’ feel of this phone and, considering the rounded corners and a central home key below the touchscreen, the device may be mistaken for a less substantial and larger iPhone 3GS. However the Galaxy S is neither an iPhone nor a cheap wannabe it is a device brimming with slick features, designed to leave a lasting impression.
Enriched with all the updates to Android 2.1 and powered by a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird CPU, the Samsung 19000 Galaxy S has 512MB of RAM to process applications very efficiently. The applications work consistently well – from the camera, through to the gallery to the document viewer, application and
user interface transitions are extremely fluid. The sensitivity of the
capacitive touchscreen measures up to expectations; the device’s software responds smoothly to the gentlest of finger gestures. Surfing the Web on the Galaxy S via a Wi-Fi connection proved to be a breeze.
The Galaxy S has some of the most practical and user-friendly softwares that Samsung has ever released on a phone. The preloaded apps include the Aldiko e-book reader which rivals e-book readers like the Kindle or Stanza. Daily Briefing is an app that gives a quick look at what is going on in the user’s life and around the world with the integration of AccuWeather, tasks saved to the calendar, and Associated Press news. User’s who are not familiar with a touchscreen interface will especially welcome the on-screen swipe keyboard. Instead of tapping keys, with Swipe, you just have to keep your finger on the onscreen keyboard and drag it from letter to letter. Predictive software guesses the word you are spelling.
Like all Android phones, the Galaxy S comes with a suite of pre-installed Google apps, including Google Maps, Google Talk and Gmail. You can also connect to an MS Exchange mail account and sync contacts with your Facebook, Twitter and MySpace accounts. Other interesting applications include a personal diary, a file explorer, a video player capable of decoding DivX files, and ThinkFree, a Microsoft Office documents compatible program. And then of course, there is always the Android Market and Samsung Apps, where users can download many attractive applications for this Android phone. However, attempting to access the Android Market on the test unit provided by Samsung was quite exasperating. The device would not add a Gmail account until a micro-SD memory card (not supplied with the prerelease test unit) was inserted and the handset rebooted.
This smart phone is equipped with a five-megapixel camera with options to choose between different scene and focus modes in the camera software. The camera results are fairly decent under optimal lighting conditions. However, the absence of a shutter key and a LED flash is disappointing, as you have to use the touch-focus feature to focus on your subject and tap the virtual shutter key to capture the image. Videos are captured in 1280×720-pixel resolution at 30 fps and considering the lack of focus control, the captured details do not look bad, although video clips did appear a bit grainy when viewed on a larger screen. There is also a VGA camera on the front for video calls and video conferencing.
The excellent surfing experience and other multimedia features offered by this device make it difficult to remember that it is a phone after all. Call quality is clear and uninterrupted, though the earpiece speaker volume is a bit low and one had to rely on the supplied earphones to attend phone calls in a crowded public place. The voice dialer on the phone does a hit-and-miss job; it rarely picked out the right contact to call and required much tuning for the result to come close to the correct contact.
The battery life of the Galaxy S was the least impressive aspect of the pre-launch test phone. While it took almost four hours to get it charged up to 90 per cent, it drained down to almost 40 per cent after a couple of hours of usage, involving voice calls and downloading apps from the Android Market.
Samsung has marked this android powered phone as the one that makes the smartphone “brilliant”. Though the Samsung GT-19000 Galaxy S has its share of flaws, its strengths outweigh the drawbacks. Overall, it is a remarkable addition to the Android handset arena and, with one of the best displays in the business, it is bound to capture the attention of users as well as other manufacturers.