Here is the next instalment of our new First Impressions series for you guys/gals, and this time it’s the Galaxy S. I had a chance to have a quick play around with this device yesterday, and from all accounts it’s extremely nice. The handset is fast, screen is very responsive and excellent in direct sunlight and the camera is great. However like all good things and knowing me, there are always things I get disappointed with. So as always, lets get into it.
Touch Wiz: As you would expect from Samsung, the Galaxy S ships with their own Touch Wiz UI over the top of Android 2.1. Now, me personally, i’m not a big fan of skinned UI’s, I don’t like Sense, SE’s Android skin doesn’t really float my boat, even though it is quite nice, however Samsung seem to pulled it off in a very non-intrusive kind of way. The menu operates like it should, keyboard doesn’t seem to have been skinned a great deal and is very easy to use. The one feature I really like is when your handset is locked and you get a message or a missed called, you can grab the little “jigsaw puzzle” notification and swipe it off the screen and you will be taken directly into that app to either reply or call back the caller. Excellent little touch I think.
Screen: What can be said about the Super AMOLED screen in the Galaxy S? Wow? Great? Brilliant? All the above! The screen is wonderfully bright, colours are crisp and vibrant and all the conjecture about AMOLED screens not being up to scratch in direct sunlight has been put to bed with the new “Super” versions. The screen was as easy to read and use in direct sunlight as my iPhone 3GS, however if the phone became angled in a way that you were kind of looking at the phone from the bottom end the screen became unviewable, but who’s going to view the screen like that anyway? Big win for Samsung in my opinion.
Camera: This was a small point of disappointment for me. First of all it was only 5mp. Now with handsets like the Ultra Touch sporting 8mp cameras, I would have assumed they would throw the 8mp in the Galaxy S but that didn’t happen, ahh well not to worry because the 5mp camera here performs extremely well. The camera app is quick to take photos and after taking a photo throws you back ready to take another, something the X10 mini did not. The video is exceptional when used for 720P, colours are brilliant and recording into direct sunlight does not over expose the whole image with light. Another win for Samsung. However with this came the biggest fail for me and I would assume a lot of other people – No camera flash! This is a big let down. Now I didn’t get to test the camera in low-light, so fingers crossed it performs well, but how could you not put a flash on a mobile phone in this day and age? Unless your Apple, and even they have now rectified that decision.
Browser: Not much to say, other then the issues I encountered with 1.6 no longer get encountered. YAY!
Built Quality: I have read reports that say, it feels a bit cheap being that it’s made of plastic and the sort, but I didn’t really feel that. The handset seemed to be well built, no flexing and it feels really good in your hand. It’s very thin and has that familiar bulge at the bottom for the antennas (I assume) similar to F480, Ultra Touch and a slew of other Samsung handsets. Overall design is nice and built quality is excellent.
Overall: Samsung have really thrown down the gauntlet to other players in the Android space. The handset is well spec’d, great software, great camera and video, 1Ghz Hummingbird – need i say more. However I still can’t get over the lack of flash and with that they should have thrown in a 8mp camera along with it, just to push that spec up. As someone looking for a new handset in the Android space after using an iPhone for many years, this could have been the one, but i’m picky and the lack of flash put the brakes on that decision very quick. But if your after a good Android handset with a absolutely gorgeous screen and great features, this could be the one, and as Ausdroid posted a week or so ago this handset will be available through Optus and Optus Dealers from July 1st.