Several months later, a review of Samsung’s Galaxy S Android Smartphone.
This post on Samsung’s Galaxy S Android Smartphone (i.e. model GT-I9000) is not just late – its very very late! I have had this phone for a good number of months and I guess it goes to show just how much I like it that I did not get round to doing a post sooner. However, I am sure my friends over at Samsung will be relieved that I finally wrote something about this amazing phone (Melissa, waiting to hear your feedback).
Let me start by saying that for the last 4 months or so since I got the Samsung Galaxy S, much has happened. I coveted this phone so much since I saw it last year at the Samsung convention that was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. As it was then, and as it still is today, its a wicked piece of innovative Android hardware. Its so popular that it sold over 10 million units last year after it was launched in June 2010. In addition, even in Kenya, the Galaxy S was running out of stock regularly in the first couple of months it was on sale.
The Galaxy S is one of the high-end Android phones that you can buy in Kenya. I am not sure what it costs right now but the last time I checked it was selling in Kes. 45,000.00 range which is a steal when you consider that an open Apple iPhone 4 retails for around Kes. 80,000.00. The Galaxy S does pack a punch in so many areas that its hard to say what is not good about it compared to other similarly priced or even more expensive smartphones. So, I will start here with what my impressions have been in non-techie speak:
- Packaging – The first thing that hits you about the phone is that its very thin and very wide at the same time. In terms of form factor, it looks very much like the pre-iPhone 4 models in terms of design. In fact, its quite often I confuse it for my iPhone 3GS when I am not paying attention. They look almost the same. However, it does feel a little “plasticky” compared to an iPhone, especially the back the phone – I think Samsung could have done a better job in this aspect of the packaging.
- Touch Screen – OK. Its a really BIGÂ touch screen. Its a 4 inch screen, and its a Super AMOLED! What does this mean? In English – its means its a really bright, clear, sharp and large screen to do all your touch things on the Galaxy S. There are very few if any screens you will get larger than the one on the Galaxy S. Its a real charm when it comes to looking at your high resolution photos and HD movies. It terms if responsiveness, the touch screen is really nice. No complaints here.
- Processor – The Galaxy S comes with a really fast processor even by today’s standards since it runs at 1Ghz. These are the sort of processors that used to run full scale computers only a few years ago. Its really phones like the Galaxy S that blur the line between what a smartphone is and what a computer is today. Its super capable from this perspective.
- Android – The Galaxy S was originally launched with Android 2.1. However, the one I had came with 2.2 which is one of the more recent versions of Android. This is a good thing since many Android phones in the market today are still using much older versions of the OS. In certain global markets, users are also able to upgrade their Galaxy S phones to Android 2.3 so its still on the cutting edge in this respect.
- Applications and gaming – In terms of applications, the Galaxy S comes with a large number of applications already installed. However, its possible like with any other Android to access the Android Market to download thousands of additional applications. Some of the the cool applications include LAYAR which is an augmented reality application. In terms of gaming, I have found a good number of games on the Android Market that I have managed to download and play on Galaxy S. The large screen goes a long way in improving the gaming experience across the board.
- Memory – The Galaxy S I got came with 8GB of on-board memory. In addition, a free 8GB external microSD was also provided in the box for a total of 16GB memory. This is NOT bad since you can expand the microSD storage to 32GB for a total of 40GB. This is ideal if your heavily into applications and online media such HD video and high resolution photos.
- Camera – The Galaxy S comes with a 5 megapixel camera which is not bad. However, newer phones now come with cameras that have 8Â or even 12 megapixel cameras. Nevetheless, the photo quality of the Galaxy is really good. Its not ideal though for low light conditions as it does not have a flash.
- Video – One of the best features of the Galaxy S is its ability to do HD Video. I will NOT get into the specifics but the few home movies I have done look really sharp and stunning. Its a gem of a multimedia device from this perspective.
- Business functions – As a business oriented phone, the Galaxy S works remarkably well when it comes to email and calendering via the Social Hub feature. The on-screen keyboard is easy to use and comes with customized features from Samsung that make it even better. In addition, the phone has the “swype” which makes using the on-screen keyboard a synch.
- Networking – The Galaxy S, as expected, supports 3G and other slower standards for Internet connectivity such as EDGE. In addition, it works equally well on WIFI as well and Bluetooth for connecting peripherals. I have had no issues in this area.
- Mapping and navigation – In terms of mapping and navigation, I have used these a lot on the Galaxy S and especially with Google Maps. This works!
- Battery life – The caveat of all smartphones I have seems to be battery life. All that speedy internet, applications and processor hungry stuff just kills battey life. This is also the case with the Galaxy S. You have to charge it daily, sometimes severally, depending on how much you use it as a “power user” – not unlike an Apple iPhone which is even more battery draining in my opinion.
In a nutshell, the Galaxy S is a really good phone, even a year after it was launched. There is a good reason why it sold 10 million units in around 6 months – its one of the best Android phones ever to-date. Therefore, its a good thing that the 4G capable Galaxy S II is being launched today in South Korea as the successor to the Galaxy S. It will probably take a good number of months for the Galaxy S II to make it to Kenya so for the timing, I give the original Galaxy S a strong buy recommendation!