Samsung I9000 Galaxy S preview: First Look

GSMArena team, 13 April 2010.
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Samsung I9000 Galaxy S 360-degree spin

The slim waistline of the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is certainly one of its best features. It might not be the most compact handset in terms of surface but given the display size one can hardly expect much better.

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The Galaxy S sized up against the iPhone 3G and the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10

The fact that the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is 2mm longer than the HTC HD2 will probably be held against it but if it had to be done to maintain the 9.9mm of thickness we find it a fair trade-off.

Design and construction

Simplicity is usually the key when designing a high-end multimedia powerhouse, but the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is a bit of an exception. The dotted back of the phone is definitely an attention-grabber but we’re not exactly sure if it will be everyone’s cup of tea.

We will let you decide whether you like it or not by looking at the studio shots of the phone.

What we aren’t particularly happy about the all-plastic body of the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S. It is so prone to fingerprints and smudges that only a few short minutes spent with it are enough to turn it into a greasy mess. A flagship smartphone deserves better and if Samsung though metal was too much at least the plastic used for building the Spica would have been a nicer choice.

Moving along, the oh-so-marvelous 4” Super AMOLED display of WVGA resolution dominates the front of the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S. Just as we hoped the unit has performance identical to the smaller, 3.5” unit mounted on the S8500 Wave and since bigger is always better when talking about displays, we now pronounce it the new king of mobile screens.

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The Galaxy S 4”Super AMOLED display will rock your world

In case you have missed the Samsung S8500 Wave preview, let us remind you what the Super AMOLED technology is all about. It retains the amazingly deep blacks that characterize the other AMOLED displays but does away with the top glass panel to vastly improve viewing angles and sunlight legibility.

Indeed, the most beautiful display to look at indoors doesn’t lose its charm when taken outside and into the sun. The viewing angles are also bordering on perfection with the Galaxy S display performing as if it was printed on paper.

The sensitivity is as good as is to be expected from a capacitive touchscreen unit. The gentlest of touches is enough for a click to be registered, but gloves and styluses are a no-go.

Below the display sit only three keys – it’s a relatively low count for the Android family. The touch-sensitive settings and back buttons are on either side of the tactile feedback home key.

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The three keys below the display

A long press on the settings key activates the search field, just as if you had a dedicated search key. As usual pressing and holding the home key activates the task switcher.

The transition between the touch-sensitive screen and the touch-sensitive keys is nice and seamless but the tactile feedback button might be a little confusing at first.

The power and screen lock/unlock key on the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is placed high up on the right side of the handset. It’s certainly not the most comfortable place for that button as it is a bit hard to reach and also not the first place where we would look for it (still Samsung are consistent with its placement on many phones). Then again, this might just be another thing that just needs getting used to.

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The power key is high up on the right side

Unfortunately there's no dedicated camera key on the Galaxy S, which is a pity given the pretty decent camera.

On the left we find the volume rocker, which provides enough pressing area and good enough tactile feedback to make usage trouble-free.

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The volume rocker on the left

The bottom of the I9000 Galaxy S packs nothing but the mouthpiece.

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There’s only the microphone pinhole at the bottom

On the top of the phone is the tiny plastic lid that covers the microUSB slot and the unprotected 3.5mm standard audio jack.

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The microUSB jack is covered with a plastic lid, unlike the 3.5mm audio jack

We complete our trip at the blue-dotted back of the phone. This is where the 5 megapixel camera lens and the loudspeaker grill are located. There is no flash of any kind so low-light photography or video capturing is basically out of the question with the Galaxy S.

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The 5 megapixel camera lens and the loudspeaker grill are at the back

The microSD card slot is under the battery cover but luckily is hot-swappable. The battery cover is pretty hard to remove and you need to apply some extra pressure but it’s no biggie.

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The microSD card slot is under the battery cover, but is still hot-swappable

The Samsung I9000 Galaxy S looks and feels quite sturdy. The general ergonomics are also decent as long as you are able to live with the size, but that’s something you know you are signing up for right from the start. The weight of the Galaxy S is impressively low for the size and it’s noticeably lighter than any other touch phone with a screen above 3.5 inches that we’ve laid our hands on.

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The Galaxy S held in hand

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