Samsung Galaxy S a Smart Move
True iPhone Competitor
Samsung have a great phone here, and an even greater opportunity to take a bigger chunk of the prosperous smartphone market, especially with current issues the iPhone 4 users are experiencing.
Straight out of the box the first thing we notice is the phone is lightweight and slim with more than decent build quality, I have read others compare it to the iPhone 3GS in feel and look but I’d have to disagree and say that’s like comparing the design of a wood encased Atari to the all black plastic design of an Atari 2600, they’re not as close in looks as they are in function, and while the original Atari was new, sleek, and modern at its release, the 2600 was clearly a better design and very up to date.
Turning on the Galaxy S is easy, there are really only two options, a small control button on the right side of the phone which would have been better placed on top beside the sliding USB port door, or what appeared and eventually turned out to be, the rocker type volume control on the left. Once the initial wallpaper appears there’s a moment similar to the recent Staples commercials advertising low prices, ‘Whoa! That’s a crisp image!, while the iPhone 4 may cram in the most pixels per square inch of screen realty it does not match the vivid quality of the Samsung AMOLED equipped Galaxy S.
Did I Stumble into an AT&T Store?
Yes, and yes it was on purpose, for a couple reasons. First, after using the phone for two days with a pay&go sim card I had already decided I was not ready to stop using this phone and that I was ready for it to become standard operating equipment in my front pocket. Secondly, I wanted to see the response exposure to this highly anticipated 1GHz Android based smartphone, due to be released through AT&T as the Captivate, would deliver from the sales team. Again, ‘Whoa was the expletive of choice for employees that this phone appeared to be a magnet for.
This visit also turned out to be an opportunity to straight up compare the Samsung offering with the on display iPhone 4. I stood back and observed as the handful of sudden gathered customer-ignoring employees huddled around put the two phones through their impromptu bench tests. There seemed to be an immediate general consensus that the 4-inch 800×480 resolution AMOLED screen was preferred over the Apple offering. The Galaxy S comes equipped with the Swype, or, as one of the what appeared to be 12 year old sales kids put it, the ‘oo-oo-oo-Swype app preloaded, and it was a big hit mainly due to its ease of use, and I have to concur with my orange and blue clad minions, the Swype features is extremely easy to use and has the ability to leave you feeling like you’ve got some ˜mad skillz’.
While the guys played with extremely impressive camera functions, a 5-megapixel still shot with autofocus and the 720p HD video offering, all were agreed the quality was outstanding, with one even comparing the video quality to that of his Flip, but after the ˜blonde spotty one’ brought up the fact it didn’t have an exterior camera button we were all agreed that it could have used more than the touch screen offering that seemed to be the cause of occasional blurry images.
The adjustment functions and options are more comparable to that of a mid-priced Canon or Nikon point and shoot camera, equipped with blink, smile, and face detection, panorama, high-speed shooting, and multiple shot. A nifty feature I personally liked was the included ability to edit and crop before sending. While the Galaxy S lacks any kind of flash or light offering, un-noticed by our ad-hoc review team, we found that during dusk lighting adjusting the exposure setting offered satisfactory results and probably explain why the adjustment option is right there on screen.
Back in the Real World
Pitted against the iPhone 4, both phones are very similar in that call quality is virtually indistinguishable between them, they both run at 1GHz, they both offer the same, or pretty close to the same standard features and operating options, however it will come down to personal choice when choosing a smartphone, and Samsung have headed in the right direction with this device, which they referred to as a Smart Life Phone, and that is what it comes down to. Anyone dropping the required coin for either one of these phones wants it to be an extension of their social life, their work life, and their family life, balancing the visually attractive with functionality.
The iPhone wins hands down with its iOS 4 & established Apps offering, that said, the Google-based Android OS and all the potential offerings has yet to be fully developed, but it is sure to progress and mature as we continue to see the arrival of hardware such as the Samsung Galaxy S and others like HTC.
We’re of course going to find issues with any phone, a few we found and determined we could live with were the power button placement on the right side of the phone, being left handed I found myself knocking it or holding it inadvertently and being offered the options of flight mode, silent mode, or turn off. We are not a big fan of the four fixed quick keys sitting at the bottom of the screen either, again just a personal aesthetic thing for us, and as noted earlier the lack of a dedicated camera button was inconvenient too. As for quality of build or function there nothing we can really knock.
For me personally, recognizing the outstanding quality of the iPhone, some of the higher end HTC phones, and now this Galaxy S, I would choose this Samsung for the following reasons. Aesthetically, the Galaxy S is the best looking, feels the most comfortable in the hand (and pocket), and the AMOLED screen truly sets this phone apart from the rest. Functionality, I found the connectivity through WiFi b/g/n fluid and crisp, I like the synchronicity of the system with Google, e-mail, and the Samsung preloaded Social Hub app offering an amalgamated stream of Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter with ability to update one or all simultaneously. I was also pleasantly surprised by the quality of the supplied head phones, which I found myself using more that I thought I would with the installed FM tuner, delivered a definitive superior sound to that supplied with iPhones.
Oh, and the phone works right-handed or left-handed!
While Apple may have the solid foundation established of workable apps we’re confident we’ll see improvements accelerated with continuing demand sure to grow for the Android OS.
It’s also worth noting the fact Samsung have confirmed they should have an Android 2.2 Froyo update sometime towards the end of the year, which we reckon will be a true scale tipper.