Samsung I9000 Galaxy S preview: First Look

GSMArena team, 13 April 2010.
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Camera

Android is keeping out of the megapixel race and the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is no exception – it packs a 5MP camera, which seems to be the norm for higher end Androids. This one’s pretty bare though – no flash, not even a shutter key.

The user interface is standard Samsung for the most part – and that’s not a bad thing. It’s easily thumbable and offers readily accessible scenes and shooting modes. It features geo-tagging, face and smile detection too.

At first it appears that the lack of a dedicated shutter key and the virtual shutter key that’s not even half-pressable are to the detriment of the camera but once you get used to it, Samsung’s solution is very good.

You use the touch focus feature to focus on your subject and tap the shutter key – the camera auto-focus is among the fastest we’ve seen. This makes focusing on the subject (and possibly reframing the shot to observe the rule of thirds) by half-pressing the shutter obsolete. You frame the shot how you want it, focus on what you want and snap the photo – it takes some getting used to, but in the end it’s a great solution.

The image quality is not the best in the 5MP range. There’s a fair amount of noise in the photos and even though the image processing algorithms suppress it, they also smear out the fine detail.

Images are also slightly underexposed but at least there is no clipping in the shadows and highlights. Anyway, we’ll delay final judgment until we see the finalized version of the Samsung Galaxy S software – a few tweaks here and there could improve the quality.

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Samsung I9000 Galaxy S camera samples

Video recording

The Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is in the elite club of mobile phones that captures 720p video.

Videos are captured in 1280 x 720 pixels resolution at 30 fps – unlike the Samsung i8910 OmniaHD and the Sony Ericsson Vivaz, which capture videos at 24fps. The amount of captured detail is good, noise levels are low – the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is a worthy replacement of those pocket HD cameras.

But there are still things in the software that need to be worked out – videos can run up as much as several megabytes per second of video. The data rate will probably be reduced to something more reasonable in the final version of the software.

We would like to apologize for the poor video sample that we are giving you below. Unfortunately due to some bug of our early pre-release unit most of the videos we took got accidentally deleted and this is the only one we have left. We will try to fix this as soon as possible and provide you with new video samples.

Final words

The Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is certainly a remarkable handset. Its software might need a bit more tuning before it hits the shelves but its hardware is already impressive enough.

Certainly having the best display in the business will attract quite a lot of customers by itself. Now add the HD video recording that the Galaxy S holds against its competitors and you get yourselves a pretty decent deal.

We wouldn’t go as far as saying that Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is the best Android handset just yet, but it’s certainly in contention for the throne. And if Samsung manages to polish up the already really nice TouchWiz UI before the Galaxy S gets released officially it will certainly become the handset to beat.

Even more, it’s expected that it will hit the market in about a month, which is even sooner than the Samsung Wave planned release. It will easily be your first opportunity to get yourself a SuperAMOLED HD-flaunting smartphone.

It’s pretty clear that Samsung’s first attempts of an Android-running flagship is a success but the jury is still out on whether or not it’s the uberphone that can make up for the delay as its competitors are already on the market.

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