Samsung’s mobile phone range covers every smartphone platform out there and the tech giant has even launched a phone on its own Bada OS. That’s probably why the company is so good at making smart devices.
The Samsung Galaxy is without a doubt the best Samsung smartphone to date. That’s thanks to a speedy OS and that stunning screen that leaves other manufacturers wanting to hide under the TFTs.
The Galaxy S is larger than an iPhone and some may consider this a negative. That said, because it’s so light and slim, I really don’t think this is a problem.
At 9.9mm it feels really skinny and this makes it easy and comfortable to nestle in the hand. It’s only 119g too – extremely light for a smartphone, despite the fact that it is packed to the rafters with functionality.
The screen is quite simply stunning. It’s four inches and every single pixel is bright and clear.
Although not as high resolution as the iPhone 4’s 640×960 pixels, the Galaxy S’ 480×800 pixel capacitive Super AMOLED display feels more usable than the iPhone 4’s, and this is probably because of the extra space for live widgets and to make use of the browser.
What makes the Galaxy S’ display so good is that the colours are rich and blacks are really black, rather than the muddy blacks you find on many displays.
It’s also easy to see outside – something that many manufacturers struggle with, and this is thanks to an extra outdoor visibility mode that eradicates issues caused by the sun shining on an OLED screen.
In terms of the hardware design, there’s an iPhone-like home screen button in the centre at the bottom of the Galaxy S and on either side of this, a touch sensitive menu key and back key.
The Samsung Galaxy S runs on Android 2.1, 2.2 upgrade is available and certainly welcomed.
This means that there are seven home screens for you to customise, giving you plenty of space to apply your favourite shortcuts and widgets.
Other advantages of Android 2.2 include better Exchange support, live wallpapers if you fancy sprucing up your phone and live view that allows you to take a look at all of your home screens at one time.
Samsung has applied its Touchwiz UI on the Samsung Galaxy, as it has on most of its touch screen devices, which isn’t massively different to the android front end in comparison to HTC’s Sense interface.
You will probably notice that the application system is somewhat different to the Vanilla Android UI. You have to scroll across to your next page of apps rather than up and down this is similar to the iPhone UI. I think this is a better way of navigating because the Android UI can sometimes be a little over-sensitive, meaning you open up applications when sweeping your finger up and down.
The Galaxy S really is a powerhouse, teaming with functionality powered through an ARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor. This coupled with the improved power management features of Android 2.1 means that it’s quick to wizz between menus, home screens, switch applications and run multiple applications at any one time.
Many devices, such as premium tablets like the Dell Streak seem to struggle with Multitasking and browsing and here it’s obvious that Android 2.2 really does speed up the running of the platform.
The Samsung Galaxy S does focus on multimedia and it’s no surprise with such a massive screen. All the major music and video formats are supported, including DivX and Xvid, you can also watch and record in HD.
There’s also DLNA onboard, allowing you to share content across your DLNA multimedia network such as TV, network storage devices or speakers, providing they support DLNA too.
There are two basic document editors onboard – ThinkFree Office that allows you to access your Microsoft Office documents while online or offline and Write and Go for writing quick notes.
ThinkFree can be linked to a cloud storage service so you can always have access to your documents whether you’re online or offline. It’s pretty basic, but is handy if you need to quickly peek at any of your documents on the go.
I’d recommend downloading Docs to Go for a fuller editing experience though.
Other apps preinstalled include an iBooks-like app called Aldiko for viewing eBooks and the Layer augmented reality app. They’re handy extras, but a whole selection of different eBooks and augmented reality apps are available on the Android Market – many of them are better too.
The bundled browser displays web pages in their full glory, and multi touch allows you to pinch and to zoom into parts of the the page.
The browser isn’t as highly featured like HTC’s own browser, but it’s fine for viewing web pages and the like.
The Samsung Galaxy S is available with 8GB or 16GB of internal storage. I got the 16GB version. There’s also a microSD card slot, which is just one of the areas where the Galaxy S beats the iPhone.
You can have up to 48GB of space on the Galaxy S at any one time, but this is limitless if your willing to swap cards too.
What is annoying though, is that to hot swap memory cards, you’ll have to remove the back plate. Thankfully the design is better than some because it’s not under the battery.
The Samsung Galaxy S features a front-facing camera in addition to the real five megapixel snapper. The front-facing camera allows your to take part in a video call with anyone – not just those who have the Samsung Galaxy S like on the iPhone with FaceTime
Although the large screen of the Galaxy S does make it a doodle to use the keyboard in either portrait or landscape mode, Swype makes text entry even easier.
Instead of tapping each letter individually, you can trace your finger over the keyboard to type words. It’s an effective way of type although like any new way of entering text, it’ll take some time to get used to.
Battery life is pretty reasonable in my comparisons to the iPhone, and thats because Samsung has opted to include a 1500mAH jukebox.
You will still need to charge more often than a feature phone, but can keep going for around 36 hours if you’re a light to mid-range user.
Although the Samsung Galaxy S is one of the best-featured Android devices out there, Samsung needs to work on its Touchwiz UI so it feels more finished. HTC’s Sense comes out on top here, but other than that, the Galaxy S conquers them all.