The Samsung i9000 Galaxy S is arguably Samsung’s best smartphone to date. It’s their flagship smartphone running on Android 2.1 and has the most gorgeous large display I’ve seen on a phone. After a few weeks use, I would say that this is one of the elite smartphones out there.
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s take a look at its qualities and features.
The Samsung Galaxy S is big, thin and light. Big is good for a smartphone. Thin and light? Maybe not.
Some of you might think that its slim 9.9mm body is a good feature but you may find it awkward to grip especially when using it with one-hand. At 119g, it is the lightest smartphone I’ve handled and it feels like a dummy phone. Bad? For me yes because along with the awkward grip, a slight bump on your elbow might send this phone flying. I would suggest getting a bumper case pronto to make the phone chunkier for a better grip and protection.
The right side of the phone has the lock/sleep button. Unlike their Omnia though, this button is so small and placed at the bottom half of this slim phone making it hard to press with the natural position of your thumb.
There’s the volume rocker on the left side. A micro-USB port with a sliding cover is located on the top side for charging and connecting to a PC and beside it is the 3.5 mm audio jack. At the back is the autofocus lens for the 5 mp camera (more on that later). Sad to say there’s no flash. There’s also a camera in front for some video chat action.
At the front underneath the display are touch buttons for the Menu and Back. The Back button can also be used to go back pages while surfing the net. The slightly recessed Home button is located between them.
Admittedly, the design is no way at par with other beautifully crafted high-end phones. It feels plasticky and the stainless steel surrounding the sides looks cheap. Mine already has slight scratches due to light bumps. But really, don’t let the build deter you from getting this powerful phone.
The 4” Super AMOLED display is really gorgeous. It gives bright and vivid colors that makes me not want to look at other phones simple LCD display anymore. It made my iPod Touch look very dull. This is one of the feature that Galaxy S owners should be really proud of. Only the iPhone 4’s retina display can give Samsung’s Super AMOLED real competition. But guess what, Samsung is one of Apple’s supplier for their display panels.
The 800 x 480 resolution makes it really ideal for watching HD videos on the go. It’s also great for browsing the net, using the map, checking e-mails, or viewing photos. If you really want to enjoy a real smartphone experience on a touchscreen display, look for those with huge screens.
Samsung used its own TouchWiz 3.0 interface but this one’s better than those in their Omnia line. It’s not as beautiful as HTC’s SenseUI but it’s serviceable.
You can have up to 7 Homescreens filled with apps and widgets both from Android and Samsung. Widgets that I find really useful are the universal search, power control, Facebook and Twitter. There’s another interface which is used to see all apps installed and it reminds me of the iPhone’s UI.
With its 1GHz ARM Cortex processor, I didn’t experience any lag at all with the interface. Everything’s snappy and responsive. Maybe the Advanced Task Killer Android app had something to do with it.
Have you heard of Swype? It’s a new way of touch-typing in mobile devices where you glide or trace the letters of the word that you want to type. No more lifting of fingers. Really awesome for composing long, correctly-spelled messages for e-mails, Facebook messages, etc.
The Samsung Galaxy S is one of the handful of phones available in the country that has Swype built-in. The official Android app is not yet released in public but its bound to be the next best thing in mobile texting using touchscreen phones.
If you’re not that keen on Swype, the QWERTY keypad is still easy to use. Keys are nicely spaced and you don’t have to toggle keypads just to key in numbers and symbols (I’m looking at you Apple). Of course numbered keypad is also available with T9 prediction if you prefer that mode.
The Galaxy S has a 5 megapixel camera only but it produces very good quality of photos for a phone’s camera. Probably one of the best that I’ve seen… if used during daylight or with ample light that is. It’s a great companion during product launches when I don’t have a camera with me.
I also liked how you can tap any portion of the screen to change its focus area. If only they included a flash on this one, it would really make it a complete and powerful handset.
Here are some sample photos taken with the Galaxy S.
Check out more sample photos taken by Yugatech.
720p video recording is also possible with the Samsung Galaxy S and you can instantly upload it to Youtube if you want thanks to Android. Same with your photos which you can easily mass upload to your Picasa account. Very useful for bloggers.
The Galaxy S can also be a great portable multimedia device thanks to its 4” Super AMOLED screen. It can play DivX files without any stuttering. Transferring of files can be done via its iTunes-like app called Samsung Kies, via MTP or simply treat it as a hard disk. With the internal 8GB/16GB, you can store a lot of media files in the Galaxy S. You can also expand the storage via microSD (up to 32GB).
So how’s the battery on this beast? Mild text and calls would last me two or three days. But when I often use WiFi to push data such as FB and Twitter updates and e-mails, I’ll be getting less than two days worth of juice. You might want to plug it to a PC every time you can if you’re planning to use its WiFi and 3G a lot. Or use the power control widget to turn off features that forces apps to run on background (GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, etc.) when you’re not using them.
This section is mostly for first-time Android users or those who are wondering if Android is really for them. When you first start your Galaxy S, you will be prompted to sign in with your Google account. Seriously, you need to have one to maximize Android. Once you let Google control your mobile life, you will find how easy it is to transfer/sync your contacts and e-mail from Gmail, events from Google Calendar, photos to Picasa, videos to YouTube, and so on. You’re gonna love Android when using the Galaxy S. I did.
The Samsung Galaxy S is not the perfect smartphone out there but for me it comes close to that. Possible improvements would be the design build, the materials used and most especially the inclusion of a flash on its camera. Upgrade those in a next release and you’re going to have a phone that would rest on top of everyone’s list for a long time.
You might think that I’m so high about the Galaxy S. Well I am. I’ve never been really impressed with using an Android smartphone before until I’ve experienced the Galaxy S. Hats off to Samsung for creating such a worthy smartphone.
- Samsung 1.0GHz processor
- 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen @ 480×800 pixels
- 8GB/16GB internal storage, up to 32GB via microSD
- HSDPA 7.2 Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps
- WiFi 802.11n w/ DLNA
- Bluetooth 3.0 w/ A2DP
- 5MP autofocus camera
- 720p @ 30fps video recording
- 2nd front-facing VGA camera for 3G calls
- Android OS 2.1 (Eclair)
- GPS w/ A-GPS support
- 1500mAh Li-Ion battery
- SRP: Php32,995