Review: Samsung Galaxy S

The Samsung Galaxy S

The Samsung’s latest swing at an Android device is a huge leap forward on the Galaxy Spica but it’s far from flawless, writes Adam Maguire.

The Samsung Galaxy S is very much a deceptively designed phone. At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking it was an iPhone 3GS as physically it bears a striking resemblance, right down to the ‘home button’ in the bottom centre and the silver edging around the screen.

Once you switch on the phone you would be equally forgiven for thinking the device runs on Samsung’s own Bada OS – in fact it is identical in layout to the Samsung Wave and even features a link to the Samsung App Store.

These similarities to existing devices are actually a good thing – especially when compared to Samsung’s first attempt at an Android phone. That was the Galaxy Spica and was disappointing in regards to its hardware and software, particularly as the version of Android used on it was little more than the bare-bones Google OS.

The Galaxy S has plenty on the competition, however. It sports a 4″ Super AMOLED; which makes for a very sharp picture; a HD video recorder with HD playback and a fairly decent battery to keep the show running for as long as possible.

The use of a Bada-style interface means the menu system is easy to navigate and its access to not one but two app stores (though one – Samsung’s – is very limited) gives it plenty of potential to adapt to a user’s needs over time.

The phone also fits well in the hand and pocket and looks good too, no doubt due to the ‘less is more’ approach that Samsung have taken in regards to design.

There are minor flaws with the phone, however, though they could be enough to put certain types of user off.

The SMS interface in particular is frustrating, with the best example of that being the fact that opening a new message is not enough to have it marked as ‘read’ (you have to go back to the inbox folder for that to happen – if you go straight from the message back to the home screen the phone will still mark theĀ  message as new).

Trying to text is a bit of a chore too, particularly because the built-in predictions are often bizarrely wide of the mark. Samsung should look to take a leaf out of HTC and Apple’s book here if they want to save their users much annoyance in this area.

As seems to be a trend with Samsung phones in general the maximum volume of the phone’s ringer is also quite low, making it easy to miss incoming messages and even calls if the device is not right beside you.

As already stated these are minor complaints but they are central enough to become a big problem for an otherwise quality phone.

All that considered the Galaxy S is still a huge leap from the company’s previous Android attempts and is up there with what the likes of HTC are already doing. If they can keep this up you would have to wonder what the need for Bada is at all.

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