Customer Review

132 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous screen and fast processor defeat tacky case, 8 July 2010
*I have the 16gb version of this, but I couldn't see it on Amazon. The phones are the same apart from this small detail.*

The first thing anyone notices about the Galaxy S is the screen. There are other smartphones out with the same size of screen (the HTC HD2, I believe) but the "super AMOLED" display really pops with brightness and colour. Normally I dismiss claims of "20% extra brightness, 80% sunlight reduction, 20% extra battery" as marketing guff, however, in the case of this technology, it appears to be at least somewhat true. The screen makes even mundane usage of the device something of a joy.

The phone is sold with Samsung's own interface on top, and in many ways it reminds me of the Sense UI on the HTC devices, though it does lack some of the widgets that came with my wife's HTC Hero, such as as the homescreen weather/time widget and the email widget. Similar applications were easily found on the Android Market. The touch whiz interface is clearly somewhat less polished and pretty than Sense, but it essentially does the same things.

And this phone is fast. The capacitive screen requires the lightest of touches to set the processor in motion and switching between apps, screens, pictures, albums is almost instantaneous. The machine is built on a 1ghz processor like the Nexus 1 and Desire, but it beats both in benchmarks and includes a dedicated graphics engine. I haven't had much opportunity to try many games, though the few I've tried (including Asphalt, a 3d heavy game) have run extremely well. It's just a shame that there aren't more big developers working in the Android Market at the moment.

Swype is a brilliant addition to text input on the device. You may have heard of it, or something similar - it allows you to trace a "path" including the letters you want in a word, rather than pecking them out individually. This sounds somewhat silly until you try it. The software has an uncanny knack of choosing the correct word out of the letters you trace and it makes typing out long words fast and easy. It isn't so good for the fiddly bits of messaging - punctuation, capitalisation - but you can combine it with hunt and peck for finer editing.

Now the bad.

The design of the phone is inoffensive, yes, and also generic. It's what you'd draw if you wanted to represent a distillation of 2010 smartphones. It's basically an oblong screen with filleted edges. It has one clicky physical home button flanked by capacitive menu and back buttons. I found that I missed the physical trackball of the Hero, if only to flip between screens or fidget with. The case is a shiny, slippery plastic, and the back is composed of tiny, faintly iridescent polkadots. Not very nice to look at or hold, especially since this is a large, thin slab. Don't ever rest it on your knees, it'll just slide off. I expect that I'll get a case with a bit more grip for it when a wider selection becomes available.

The battery life isn't great either, though I am able to get at least a regular day of use out of it. It has never given up on me when I've needed it, but it does get worrying low late in the day. Bear in mind that it's my new toy and, as with any new gadget, I play with it all the time: installing new apps, changing backgrounds, taking pictures, messing with the GPS, etc. So when I calm down a bit I expect the battery will go proportionally further.

Overall, this is a very polished device. It's packed with cutting edge hardware that works in efficient tandem with a quickly maturing Android. I dislike its physical design and it's a shame that Samsung didn't plump for higher quality materials and a more daring style to match the hardware. However, we don't (at least, I don't) buy phones for what they look like when they're switched off, lying on a table. No, we spend most of the time looking at the screen, and the Galaxy's display more than makes up for its ugly chassis.

Edit (11/02/11):
As others have recommended, I eventually got a simple silicone case. The phone is much better protected and way less slippery now, though it is slightly harder to slip out of a pocket! Small price to pay for a phone I'm probably going to rely on for the next year or so.
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Comments

Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 11 Jul 2010 09:18:50 BDT
Thanks for your honest review....

Posted on 16 Jul 2010 10:08:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jul 2010 10:11:12 BDT
Spuddy Spud says:
Good review. I just got one for free from Orange - I'm more than delighted with it. The screen is beautiful: far nicer than the iPhone, which is saying something because that has a really nice display. All apps rocket along. Niggles I've had are battery life if apps / games are used, and phone remains in silent ringing mode when you've disconnected a bluetooth headset, requiring me to remember to switch it back on. Samsung apps are flaky but like you say, the android market provides alternatives. It's a shame the operating system does not support Flash video (e.g. BBC website news), hopefully this will be cured if an Android 2.2 update becomes available. I hope it does!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Jul 2010 12:11:15 BDT
Thanks. I think Samsung have stated that these phones will get 2.2 in Korea in August, so I expect the international update won't be too long after that. I've come to the conclusion that GPS absolutely kills the battery - consumes almost as much power as the screen. I went for a 30m run with Cardiotrainer (great app btw) using the GPS to track my progress and it used about 20% of by battery. That 20% is out of a 12hr day, in which the screen took about 30%.

As for the interface - I've heard good things about Launcher Pro.

Posted on 19 Jul 2010 16:58:14 BDT
Good review, Craig. I've had this phone for a few days now and am finding it difficult to put down. After adding a silicone case and a screen protector the ugliness goes away, leaving you to marvel in the speed and graphics of this truly amazing phone without it sliding anywhere!

In reply to an earlier post on 13 Aug 2010 09:48:36 BDT
Sam says:
I noticed your problem with lack of flash support, download the mobile browser SkyFire, this browser allows you to play flash video. It does for my Nokia 5800 and im aware this app is on the Android market. Hope that helps.

Posted on 6 Feb 2011 23:59:39 GMT
70'srule says:
The case is plastic and thin but so what?.......this means that it is light and you still need a case.
Fit the "case-mate tough" in black/black and it's all sorted.
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Location: Aberdeen, Scotland

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