Apples iPhone 4 has been a runaway success, but Android phones are also selling like hotcakes with over 160,000 device activations per day. Most of the high-end Android phones are similar to each other in terms of hardware. They feature the usual 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, and an AMOLED/TFTscreen with its size varying from 3.7-inch to 4.3-inch.
The only exception to my last statement will be the Samsung Galaxy S. The Galaxy S is a true high-end Android phone with many new features, which are yet to be found in any other Android phone. I have been using the Samsung Galaxy S phone for more than a week now and here is a hands-on review of the phone.
Unboxing And Build Quality
The retail box of the Galaxy S has a pretty much O.K. size. I would have preferred a smaller box, as it would have been a bit eco-friendly but then Samsung would have had a tough time packing in the charger, and other accessories of the phone. The retail box consisted of:
- 1x Samsung Galaxy S
- 1x Travel Charger
- 1x G7 1500mAh battery
- 1x USB Data Cable
- 1x In-Earphones
- 1x Leather Case
The build quality of the phone is pretty ok. The handset is primarily made up of plastic, with just a metal frame running across the body of the phone. The back cover of the phone is way too thin. In fact, the first time I opened the back cover I thought I would break it in a week or so. Thankfully, I have been proved wrong.
The back cover is made of tough plastic, and will not break off on a day-to-day basis usage. The phone has a very slim waistline of 9.9 mm. Even though the phone has a 4-inch screen, it is extremely light. Stats say the phone weighs in at 119g, but when you hold the phone, you will surely doubt the stats! Galaxy S gets an extra brownie point point for the nice mircoUSB sliding cover.
Samsung Galaxy S is the first Android phone to feature a 4-inch Super-AMOLED screen, and it is just BRILLIANT! The blacks on the Super-AMOLED screen are even deeper than my black hair. The screen has a very wide viewing angle, and has great sunlight legibility. I had no problem whatsoever in using the Galaxy S under direct sunlight.
The Galaxy S is powered by an ARM Cortex A8 processor running at 1 GHz. The Cortex A8 processor is better than the Snapdragon in all the benchmarks we conducted, but not by a huge margin. The 512MB of RAM also make sure that the phone is never low on RAM. The phone comes in two storage capacities of 8GB or 16GB. Of the available space, 2GB of the space is used as the ROM of the phone. So users never need to worry about running out of free space while installing applications and games from the Android market.
The Galaxy S is also the first Android phone in the market to feature Bluetooth 3.0. The back of the phone features a 5MP camera, with touch focus and smile detection.
The Galaxy S runs on the Android OS v2.1 (Éclair). On top of the Android OS, Samsung has loaded their TouchWiz 3.0 UI as well. TouchWiz in its latest form has improved a lot. TouchWiz has added options to switch on – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Silent Mode and Vibration mode to the popular Android notification bar, which is definitely very handy. TouchWiz also automatically imports your contacts from Facebook, Twitter and Google Contacts. Another nice feature of Touchwiz is that a right swipe on the contact will initiate a call and a left swipe will message the selected contact in the Contacts application.
The 1 GHz processor ensured smooth operation of the phone. The phone never felt slow, except sometimes when the “stalling” issue occurred. Sometimes, the messaging, contacts application on the phone takes some time to open up, whereas third party applications work just fine. At the time of writing this article, new firmware for the Galaxy S was released. The stalling issue has been fixed to a certain extent with this new firmware.
Samsung has also pre-loaded the phone with quite a few applications. There is a third party eBook reader on the phone – Aldiko eBook. Samsung has also loaded the phone with the AllShare application which makes your phone acts as a media server. Other pre-installed applications include Layar, ThinkFree Office, Daily Briefing, File Manager and Social Hub.
Along with the Android Market, there is also a Samsung Apps store. As of now, the Samsung Application store has only 5 apps including Asphalt 5. The phone will get some extra brownie points for the support of Xvid, DivX, and mkv codecs. The phone easily played back a 4.7 GB mkv file without any hiccups.
The music quality of the phone is decent as well. The Galaxy S also features an equalizer, along with 5.1 channel Dolby surround sound and music effects. The music player of the phone simply looks outstanding on the 4-inch Super-AMOLED screen.
Camera, GPS And Internet Browsing
The Galaxy S features a 5MP camera at its back. Sadly, the phone lacks a LED flash so night photography with this phone is a strict no-no. The 5MP camera is a decent performer in good lighting conditions. A major problem is that the 3D Gallery of the phone does not show you the camera pictures at their full resolution.
Also thanks to the Super-AMOLED screen, any snap you click from the camera looks good on the phone. It is only when you view the picture on your PC, do you notice how the picture has come out in reality.The phone is also capable of recording videos in 720p HD resolution. The quality of the videos is pretty decent, and the fps of the videos shot hovers around the 30fps mark.
Here are some camera samples of the device –:
The GPS of the phone is a mixed bag. Using Google Maps, I was never able to get a satellite lock inside my house. Outdoors, I was able to get a GPS lock in less than 10 seconds.
The Galaxy S is made for Internet browsing. The superb web-browser of the Android OS and the Super-AMOLED screen of the Galaxy S are a match made in heaven. The web-browser also supports pinch to zoom. Pages load quickly, and text reflow automatically adjusts the text on the screen for easy readability. The web-browser has a minimalistic interface, which certainly works in its favor. The only downside of the web-browser is that it lacks Flash. However, the phone will get Flash support with update to Android 2.2 (Froyo).
Battery Life And Conclusion
The Galaxy S is a super-phone. The Super-AMOLED screen, and the 1 GHz processor make this phone a must buy. The pros of the phone easily outweigh the cons of it. The battery life of the phone is also pretty remarkable, even though the phone has a 4-inch screen and a 1 GHz processor. The phone lasted me a day of heavy usage on a single charge. This is definitely better than most of the power-packed Android phones like the HTC EVO 4G, Incredible etcetera.
The 16GB version of the Galaxy S is available in India for Rs 28,500. At the current price point, I don’t think there is any other phone which can offer a better VFM than the Galaxy S. If your budget permits, go for the Galaxy S without a doubt! The phone definitely lives up to its tagline of “Future Beyond”.
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