Samsung Galaxy S Hands-On Review
By on July 17th, 2010

Apple 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 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.

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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

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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.

Hardware

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.

Software

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.

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The 1 GHz processor ensured smooth operation of the phone. The phone never felt slow, except sometimes when the stallingissue 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 :

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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.

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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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Author: Rajesh Pandey Google Profile for Rajesh Pandey
Rajesh is a 19 year old nerd, currently pursuing B.Com Hons from Bhawanipore college in Kolkata, India. He loves everything tech, especially Android. You can follow him on twitter @ePandu or mail to him at rajesh@techie-buzz.com.

Rajesh Pandey has written and can be contacted at rajesh@techie-buzz.com.
  • http://techzilo.com Sumesh

    Good review, I was looking forward to it, particularly the battery life and camera. Am disappointed to learn it does not have a flash, one would expect high-end phones of 2010 to have flash.

    As for the native parts of Android experiencing slow down, one would expect that to change with Froyo, pretty much everyone who used it reported decent improvements in speed.

    Any chance of the author updating this with usage of Froyo?

  • smokes

    how come there is no detail on GPU ? :)

    look at the difference in game with Froyo ( N1) and Samsung Captivate ( same hardware)

    Captivate KILLS N1 with froyo on gamimg…

    the new GPU is fucking awesome…

    this is a huge detail you miss

    • http://www.lifeofrajesh.com Rajesh Pandey

      Because I did not wanted to make this review too geeky. :) The Galaxy S has the BEST CPU+GPU combination found in any Android phone.

      @Sumesh – We will write a short review of the Galaxy S when Froyo is released for it.

  • http://www.ilifephotography.co.uk Karl Bratby

    thanks for sharing, iPhone 4 is in the trash …go go galaxy

  • Sameer

    Just wondering if you rooted your Galaxy S for those screenshots…

  • Mark

    GPS is more than a mixed bag. Some days it just flat doesnt work. If you run GPS Test and compare to other phones you can see there's a real problem with signal strength and accuracy.

    This and the lag, coupled with Samsungs useless support staff are ruining an otherwise good phone.

  • http://knowsmokelesscigarettes.com/ ALIF KHAN

    hi, Nice review and I'm planning of buying this beauty. can you please tell me more about the music capabilities of this phone? like comparing it with other good mobiles on the market.

    thanks.

  • http://yourinfos.net Dodal

    Hey.. nice post :) thank you!

  • SQL Training

    Wow, the features of the phone looks extremely awesome. Wish my budget could permit getting this phone but damn :(

  • http://www.isisandosiris.com.au/ Isis and Osiris

    It seems like Samsung galaxy is here to make a difference now….. every feature is simply amazing… i loved everything about this phone…. thanks for this amazing gadget's info.

  • http://www.isisandosiris.com.au/ Isis and Osiris

    It seems like Samsung is here to make a difference with this galaxy phone… The Facebook and twitter address importing tool is simply awesome…. loved it.

  • Rohan

    The Samsung Galaxy S has Only ONE drawback – NO Flash. So low light photos is NOT Possible.

    When u use the 5800 XPressMusic (happy owner) with the flash and without the flash the photo difference is clear to the naked eye.

    I hope Samsung puts a flash in this one ASAP and makes us happy. Samsung – I hope you are listening.

    Any idea on Froyo Update release schedule.

    Anyway I will definitely be going for the Samsung Galaxy S soon.

    • smokes

      yeah the flash kinda is bad.. but i can live with that =)))

      no big deal :)

  • Amit

    Hi Rajesh.

    I am planning to buy this phone soon.
    I have one query reagrding the GPS. does it come with pre loaded maps??? or it will use the GPRS for loaction and directions???

  • Fiona

    the surround sound feature on the Galaxy S phones is actually SRS 5.1 surround sound – not Dolby. To learn more about this audio feature check out: http://soundingoff.srslabs.com/

  • Sunny

    How do you down load apps, Samsung and android on to the phone.
    I could hardly find anything on the phone.
    Thanks

  • Rrizwan S

    i wel plande buy a 4g phone but im confuge please give me sugestion wich i buy
    1) i phone 4 or samsung galaxy s please send me idea

    • lucy irwin

      i have just bought the samsung galaxy s 19000 an ive had the iphone i love this phone alot better than apple iphone i have always had samsung phone,s an just thought i would have a change i could have saved my money an stayed with samsung ,, samsung fare out ways the iphone by fare lucy

  • Rrizwan S

    I have decided to buy a 4g phone but i am confused between iPhone
    4gS or Samsung Galaxy S. So, please give me the suggestion. thank you

    • shrayash

      both the phone dont have 4G
      nd in a place like india there is no need of buying a 4g phone for atleast nxt 2 years
      nd if u really want a 4g phone “samsung epic 4g” is d best

  • roshna

    hi rajesh nice goin in this age u ll top ur aim…but thing i want is that i wanna a buy a phone ,,,,think u ll figure out next thing bt my query is too simple i hv done my homework and hv found out all the features i really liked NOKIA N8 nut its too expensive nearly 32,000…so i think am gonna stick wit galaxy s but thing I WANT TO KNOW WHICH IS A BETTER OPTION GALXY S OR WAVE………….??????lv a comment or prefarably mail me
    …………

  • Tomas

    Hey i just recently got a Galaxy s Vib and cant find a way to get my photos and videos off my phone and on to my PC, when i hook up my Galaxy to my PC via the usb/charger cord my PC does not recognize it, is there a media manager i need to download or anything. Thanks

    • Terry

      I think you might need some sort of CD found in the box you bought the mobile in. That is the usual and classic way, I’m really not sure since I didn’t buy it yet.
      Anyway,if the disc is there, install it to your PC and look what would happen.

  • aditya arya

    this is perfect. i actually bought this phone and then i read this article. this is perfect and brillient. u guys are 110% right about this phone. sadly about camera i do not find the camera good which i believe that samsung will improve in later days. thank u will read review from this site always before buying any phone in future

 
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