Samsung Galaxy S GT-19000
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) What is it?Samsung Galaxy S GT-19000, running Android 2.1 operating system
Category: HardwareHardware and software
You'd use it in the...Home and office
First impressions: what is it like to look at, to hold, to use?OK, so it's visually 7mm away from being an Apple iPhone 3GS, but don't let that distract from the Galaxy S's sleek exterior. At 118g, the Galaxy S is slightly lighter than the iPhone 4 but not noticeably so. It's also thinner but slightly taller than the iPhone.
Thankfully Samsung opted for Google's Android (2.1) operating system for the touchscreen Galaxy S, making the phone much more flexible and intuitive than the Wave, Samsung's first Bada-powered device. With a 1GHz processor and a fair bit of memory available (8GB or 16GB, with capacity for an additional 32GB MicroSD card), completing tasks is zippy for the most part.
What does it really do well?Some nice additional features (vintage layers, for example) complement the device's 5MP camera, which also allows quick and easy sharing by MMS, email or social networks. YouTube video playback is sharp, thanks to the Super AMOLED screen, but the app can be sluggish to load, even on a strong Wi-Fi connection.
Most of all, it's a quick-response phone – allowing you to switch between apps and functions relatively painlessly. Web browsing suits the not-insubstantial screen well, despite the lack of Flash support – though the Bada-inspired font used on the Wave is easier on the eye than the Galaxy S choice.
What's the cost?Available for free on a £35 per month 24-month contract or around £400 sim-free. Not hugely expensive for an iPhone-rivalling smartphone.
What's it up against?The price and device specifications put the Galaxy S right among the best smartphones currently on the market. It's less expensive than the iPhone 4; you're getting a fair amount of bang for your buck.
Blind us with the tech specs, then:A Super AMOLED screen (embeds touch sensors into display rather than layering over the top); Weight: 118g; Dimension: 64.2 x 122.4 x 9.9mm; 5MP camera; front-facing VGA camera for video calling; 720p video recording; on-board FM radio; 8GB or 16GB memory, with potential for 32GB MicroSD card upload; 1GHz processor; Android 2.1 operating system.
What's it good for?Very nice for taking and sharing decent-quality photos quickly. With the Android operating system, the Galaxy S has all the potential – as opposed to the Wave which is mostly inhibited by running Bada. Of course, all this depends on how often Google updates the firmware and how quickly (or not, as seems to be the case) the various operators can push them out.
One in 10 contract devices sold in the UK is now reportedly running Android, a software that suits Samsung's well-made hardware.
What are its failings?I'd advise away from the Android Aldiko ebook reader, which was infuriating to use: slow to load, slow to respond to interaction and only able to fit 17 lines on the 4-inch screen. A weird stilted zooming inhibits an otherwise good browsing experience. And the browser address bar is unjustifiably big.
Annoyingly, even when the cursor is blinking in text boxes the touchscreen keyboard requires another (needless) selection before allowing any text input.
How big a pocket will I need (portable devices only)?Only 7mm taller than the iPhone 4, a normal pocket will suffice for the Galaxy S.
How long is the battery life?On paper: talk time stands at 803 minutes (2G), 393 minutes (3G), standby mode at 750 hours (2G), 576 hours (3G).
What's its USP?The big all-encompassing screen and its speed. The feature-rich relatively high quality camera also sets the Galaxy S apart as an excellent device, up there with the best of currently-available smartphones.
Rating out of 10:8
Finally, is it worth it – yes or no?Yes.
(c) 2010 Guardian Newspapers Limited.
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