The Samsung I9000 aka Galaxy S is making Waves (pardon the pun) in the Android sector. As Android handsets go it’s being frequently discussed as one of the most powerful devices in this segment. But before you break open your piggy bank, take a closer look.
If ever there was a legit iPhone clone, the Galaxy S is it. I had way more people ask me how I managed to get such a slim iPhone, than ‘Wow, is that the Galaxy?’ The handset’s biggest asset is the 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen (480 x 800 pixels, 16million colors). It’s crystal clear and colors always appear vibrant and precise. At just 116g this wide device is extremely easy to carry around without feeling an uncomfortable bulge in your pocket. A micro USB port that doubles up for charging is located at the top. It can neatly be hidden with a sliding panel. The 3.5mm handsfree socket is also located at the top. Once again I had an issue with using other handsfree kits. Seems like a Samsung Phenomenon. The bundled kit is extremely conformable and well built for clear audio so no worries.
Volume/zoom keys are located on one side and a rather buggy screen lock/Power button is located on the other. The Galaxy S is available in 16GB capacities with support for external memory (microSD Hot Swap). It has touch sensitive Menu and Return keys with a single Home button in between. Even if it does come off looking a bit iPhone-ish, the Galaxy S has a well balanced easy to use, comfortable design.
Features and Performance
Even with its ARM Cortex A8 processor (1GHz), after installing a few very basic apps and games, the device started to get a little crazy. The phone would ring for a good 5 seconds before the call screen popped up for me to answer and the overall system began to get a bit buggy in certain places. Accessing games and heavier apps seemed to be a generic issue as I found out from a few others who were using the handset. I didn’t like the fact that this TouchWiz 3.0 UI didn't give me the choice of how many desktops I could have. This is very unusual as Android handsets do allow you to select just how many you want but for some reason the option did not show up on this test device. An even bigger issue was that the internal memory showed 7.++ GB available when I hadn't installed any data on the device. I was also informed that the device is selling in India with 16GB of on-board memory while it is available in an 8GB capacity in certain other places.
Samsung initially informed me that the 8GB version was selling in India with an 8GB memory card. This was of course incorrect and that information was clarified just this morning thanks to some of our readers and a call from the company. I flashed the handset again and found that most of the buggy bits of the UI remained unchanged but the glitch with in the memory section was gone and the internal memory now showed me 13.43GB of space. I was also now bale to add and remove desktops.
I've spoken with the company about this and in case you've had the same problem do let us know.
The social networking integration with the phone book could have been better organized. This is where HTC has them beat. Thanks to TouchWiz, the otherwise simplistic Android UI is transformed into one a little more colorful. Other than a few buggy instances though, the UI was smooth and quite responsive when it came to navigation, multi-touch and using the extra large keypad. Swype is an added bonus and is built in. Once you’ve gotten used to it, it will definitely speed up your typing speed. The handset did however take unusually long to access the data card every time I added files onto it and removed the USB cable. I timed it at almost a whole 50 seconds almost every single time.
The Galaxy S excels in the media department. Even without Samsung’s DNSe system, the audio capability of the device is brilliant. Tones have a significant amount of depth with a rich audio clarity. The decibel level the handset can reach is more than you’ll ever need so peaking the volume is not something I recommend. A set of EQ presets are available and so is a customizable option (8 band setting). There are also addition effects that can be added on from Bass enhancement to a 5.1 Channel option for AV out or use with the earphones. The FM radio worked out really well and the reception was quite satisfactory even while commuting through the city. It took just about 15 seconds to find and store the nine radio frequencies available.
On a large screen Super AMOELD like this, DivX and XviD codec support is a real Godsend. There’s no need for any conversion just drag and drop your video files and you’re good to go. .FLV files didn’t play though. The video player also has a stretch to fit setting those who don’t like black bars. It also supports TV out but cables are not included.
The built in Aldiko eBook reader is very similar to Apple’s iBook app. The interface is easy to use and the formatting of the pages is designed to be extremely convenient for reading. You can also zoom into make the font as large as you wish. The best part is that Samsung has included some of the very best in book titles that you can download for free.