Samsung Galaxy S Hands-On Review

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.

Motorola Says No To Custom ROMs On Their Phones

One of the main reasons why the Motorola Droid sold like hot cakes in the U.S was because of its unlocked bootloader. The unlocked bootloader allowed the modding community to play with the phone to their heartsMotorola content. Thanks to the unlocked bootloader users could flash a custom ROM with tweaked settings, overclock their CPU etcetera. Sadly, the European version of the Droid a.k.a Milestone featured a locked bootloader due to which it did not do sell very well.

When Motorola announced the Droid X, the modding community hoped that the Droid X will also feature an unlocked bootloader. Sadly, it was found out that the Droid X uses the same bootloader as the Milestone. Now in a shocking move, Motorola has officially announced that it won’t allow Custom ROMs on their handset from now on.

Securing the software on our handsets, thereby preventing a non-Motorola ROM image from being loaded, has been our common practice for many years. This practice is driven by a number of different business factors. When we do deviate from our normal practice, such as we did with the DROID, there is a specific business reason for doing so. We understand this can result in some confusion, and apologize for any frustration.said Lori Fraleigh from Motorola.

Motorola even suggest people to buy a Nexus One or a Google ADP1 developer phone for flashing and playing around with their phone.

Bad move from Motorola here! I am sure the sales of Droid X and Droid 2 will take a huge hit due to this.

Motorola Droid 2 “Unofficially Made Official”

The Motorola Droid was and still is one of the hottest Android phones around. When Motorola, along with Verizon launched the phone back in 2009, it set the sales chart on fire. Even though the phone is still selling well, thevzw-summer-catalog hardware inside has become dated. Many people expected Motorola to launch the successor of the Droid at the Droid X event held on 23 June, 2010. But Motorola and Verizon only announced the Droid X at that event.

However, many leaked pictures of the Droid 2 suggested that the phone is not far away from launch. Now Verizon has unintentionally made the Droid 2 official. BGR received the Verizon Summer/Fall catalogue from one of their sources which mentions about the Droid 2. The document even gives a sneak peek into the Droid 2 specs. The phone will feature a 1 GHz processor, a 5MP camera, and 3G mobile hotspot functionality. An 8GB memory card will also be pre-installed with the phone.

Since the Droid 2 features in the summer catalogue of Verizon, the device will be launched in the month of August..

Opera Mini 5.1 Released For Android

The beta version of Opera Mini on Android platform finally got updated to the final version, Opera Mini 5.1. The update is now available on the Android market. To download it, search for Opera Mini on Android market or just update, if you have already installed it.opera Mini

Opera is most popular mobile browser in the world. Opera mini user count is over 61 million worldwide. The key feature of Opera Mini is the fast rendering of web pages. In addition of being fast, Opera mini compresses the web pages to 90 percent. Hence, cutting down cost of internet usage.

The Opera Mini scored a staggering 1 million download on iPhone within 24 hours of release. The final version has improved a lot when compared with the previous beta. Undoubtedly, Opera Mini is a must have browser for all mobile platforms.

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Motorola Droid X Gets An OTA Software Update

The Droid X is yet to be officially launched. The handset is slated to be available at various Verizon retail stores on 15 July. However, pre-orders of the phone began quite sometime back. Surprisingly, some people who had pre-ordered the Droid X received the phone even before its launch. Now Droid-Life is reporting that Motorola has just rolled out a new OTA software update for the Droid X. The OTA (Over-The-Air) software update weighs in at 18MB.

Earlier Motorola had said that people who received their Droid X earlier than expected won’t be able to activate it. But the very next day the company said that users can activate their Droid X. As of now, no official change log of this OTA software update is available. Since no official change log is available we can’t say anything about this software update.

In all probability, this software update is just a bug fixer. We will update this post, once and if an official change log is made public.

HTC Droid Eris To Get A Software Update Soon

Droid-Life is reporting that the HTC Droid Eris is going to get a software update soon. The software update will not bring Froyo to the Eris. Instead the software update will improve the performance and enhance some features of the phone. A tipster at Droid-Life managed to get his hand on a leaked screenshot of the upcoming software update from Verizon.

The software update will improve the audio quality and audio control of the phone. It will also enhance the speed dial feature of the phone. The text, video and picture messaging ability of the phone will be improved as well. Other improvements include bluetooth pairing with a Jabra bluetooth headset. Also Droid users can now sync their Gmail contacts with their phone. The Weather/App widget of the HTC Sense UI has been improved as well.

The software update is expected to be rolled out to Droid Eris users at midnight on 17 July. It is nice to see HTC and Verizon rolling out a software update for such an old Android phone. Kudos to them!

Samsung Wave Sales Touches 1 Million Mark

As I expected, the Samsung Wave turned out to be a huge hit. The Samsung Wave runs on Samsung’s proprietary BADA OS. It has a 3.7″ Super AMOLED touchscreen and an 1 GHz processor.

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Today, Samsung reported that the worldwide sales figure of Samsung Wave touched the 1 million mark. The Samsung Wave released a month ago and the figures are very good. However, the figures won’t stand in front of the iPhone 4 sales, which was 1.7 million in three days.

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Samsung also said that their powerful Android phone, the Galaxy S reached 300,000 sales mark in South Korea in 19 days. Samsung will be releasing the Galaxy S in US via four widely know carriers. The T-Mobile release date is 15 July, while AT&T will release their version on 18 July.

I have always been a fan of good hardware in a mobile phone. The success of Wave and Galaxy S is no surprise for me. I personally feel that the figures of Galaxy S will surpass Wave soon.

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HTC Incredible Gets Custom ROMs Based On Android Froyo

It was just last week that the HTC Desire got the Android Froyo update unofficially“. Now it is the U.S only HTC Incredible which has got the Froyo update unofficially. HTC had said that most of their Android phonesHTC Incredible launched in 2010, will get the Froyo update by the end of 2010.

If you are impatient and cannot wait for such a long time, then users can flash the CyanogenMod 6 on their Incredible. This custom ROM, which supports many devices including HTC Magic, G1 etcetera, brings Froyo to Incredible. However, this custom ROM has stock Froyo which means no HTC Sense UI. A user over at Droid-Life managed to flash this Custom ROM on his Incredible and took some benchmarks of the device. The results were downright impressive!

If you don’t want to lose the Sense UI, then there is a Custom ROM codenamed SkyRider for you. Keep in mind that this ROM is still in beta, but manages to bring Froyo and Sense UI together on the Incredible. This ROM still has a few bugs related to Camera, Wi-Fi etcetera.

Samsung Vibrant To Release On 15 July In US

We reported earlier that AT&T will release their version of the mighty Samsung I9000 Galaxy S, on 18 July and T-Mobile on 21 July. T-Mobile wanted to be one better than AT&T, hence, they rescheduled the release date of Samsung Vibrant to 15 July. Samsung Vibrant is T-Mobile’s version of Samsung I9000 Galaxy S.

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An official at phonedog got a reply via twitter from TMobile_USA that Samsung Vibrant launch is scheduled for 15 July. So, it is official now and T-Mobile won the race against AT&T for bringing the first Galaxy S in US. The cost will be $199 on two year contract (same as AT&T).

The hardware is the same as in Captivate and I9000 Galaxy S. We have reported about the hardware earlier and you can check the details here.

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Samsung Captivate Release Date Announced By AT&T

Samsung Captivate, the AT&T version of the powerful Samsung I9000 Galaxy S, will be hitting the stores in US by 18 July. The Samsung i897 Captivate will be the first amongst all Galaxy S to hit the States. The T-Mobile version of Galaxy S, the Samsung Vibrant (a.k.a. Samsung T959 Galaxy S) will release on 21 July, bit later than the Captivate.

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The Samsung i897 Captivate has a 4″ Super AMOLED multi-touch capable touchscreen, with 800 x 480 resolution. It will be having a 3.5mm audio slot. The internal memory will be of 16GB and the external microSD slot will be expandable up to 32GB. The RAM in Captivate will be of 512MB. Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with DLNA support will be present. The Bluetooth version will be 3.0 with A2DP support.

The camera on the Captivate is of 5MP resolution. It will not have any flash light support. The video will be recorded in HD(720P) resolution. The secondary camera for video calling will be of VGA resolution. The Captivate will have Android 2.1 at the time of release. Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz UI over Android 2.1 will come onboard.

The processor inside the Captivate is Samsung’s own Hummingbird processor with a clock speed of 1GHz. Stereo FM radio with RDS support will be present. GPS with aGPS and Digital Compass support will be also present. Divx video playback codec is also supported. It will be available in Black and Grey colors.

The Captivate will cost US $199.99 on a two year contract with AT&T. The T-Mobile’s Samsung Vibrant will cost the same but will hit the stores by 21 July.

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