Samsung I9000 Galaxy S review: From outer space
Samsung I9000 Galaxy S 360-degree spin
With a surface measuring 122.4 x 64.2mm the Galaxy S is no small piece, but the 4” screen says it all. What’s more, the Super AMOLED technology has let Samsung bring the waistline down to the svelte 9.9mm.
That means the Galaxy S isn’t much trouble to fit in most pockets and it weighs the perfectly acceptable 118 g. Long story short, with this kind of specs you cannot expect anything smaller.
Design and construction
The Samsung I9000 Galaxy S will be pitched against the likes of the HTC Desire and the Nexus One. Simplicity was obviously the Google and HTC game. Samsung could’ve easily said “It’s the screen, stupid!” and stopped bothering. But they didn’t – and in the end – the styling is perhaps one of the few questionable decisions in the Galaxy S.
The Galaxy S is all made of plastic and there’s nothing wrong with that. It wasn’t a problem for the Omnia, the Omnia II or the Omnia HD. The thing is the blue-dotted back of the phone, while definitely an attention-grabber, is just not everyone’s cup of tea.
But however eccentric, the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S back is nowhere near where most people will look. The magnificent 4” Super AMOLED display of WVGA resolution is as close to perfection as we have seen on a mobile phone and you just can’t help but admire it.
In case you have missed the 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 gets the covering glass out of the way to vastly improve viewing angles and sunlight legibility.
Here's a look a the display test for the I9000 Galaxy S:
|Display test||50% brightness||100% brightness|
|Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2||Black, cd/m2||White, cd/m2|
|LG Optimus Black P970||0.27||332||1228||0.65||749||1161|
|LG Optimus 2X||0.23||228||982||0.35||347||1001|
|Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc||0.03||34||1078||0.33||394||1207|
|Samsung I9000 Galaxy S||0||263||∞||0||395||∞|
|Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II||0||231||∞||0||362||∞|
|HTC Incredible S||0.18||162||908||0.31||275||880|
|Apple iPhone 4||0.14||189||1341||0.39||483||1242|
|Motorola Atrix 4G||0.48||314||652||0.60||598||991|
Indeed, the most beautiful display to look at indoors doesn’t lose its charm in the open and the bright of day. The Galaxy S display viewing angles are bordering on perfection, onscreen content looking as if printed on paper.
The sensitivity is as good as is to be expected in a capacitive touchscreen unit. The gentlest of touches will do, but gloves and styluses are a no-go.
In a nutshell, the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S display is the key feature that will probably sell this phone to loads of users. So far, the choice of the best display was a matter of compromise for either resolution contrast or sunlight legibility. Super AMOLED units are in no mood to choose. They just let you have it all in one unit.
Below the display there are three keys only – it’s the typically minimalist new Android wave. The touch-sensitive menu and back buttons are on either side of a hardware home key.
A long press on the menu key launches the search field, so in effect users have 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 seamless. The home key on the other hand, is well sized and solid to press, so no worries here either.
The power and screen lock key on the Samsung I9000 Galaxy S is placed high up on the right side of the handset. It is a bit hard to reach but Samsung have used this spot on many of their handsets, so it shouldn’t be much trouble for those who come from another Samsung smartphone.
Unfortunately, there's no dedicated camera key on the Galaxy S, which is a pity given the camera specs. 5 megapixel might not sound like much but HD video is a crowd pleaser. However, some customers may be disappointed with the lack of a shutter key.
On the left, we find the volume rocker, which provides enough pressing area and good enough feedback to make usage trouble-free.
The bottom of the I9000 Galaxy S has nothing but the mouthpiece.
On the top of the phone is the tiny plastic lid that covers the microUSB port and the unprotected 3.5mm standard 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.
The microSD card slot is under the battery cover but luckily is hot-swappable. It handled a 16GB card trouble-free and support for 32GB is promised too.
The other element of interest under the Galaxy S back panel is the 1500 mAh Li-Ion battery. It has enough power to get the smartphone through more than three days of some rather heavy usage. You can find more info about its performance in the dedicated battery test that we conducted in our blog.
The Samsung I9000 Galaxy S looks and feels quite sturdy. The general ergonomics are perfectly fine. Some users might find it awkward to handle a screen this size, but you know what you are signing up for right from the start. And the screen quality is worth all the fuss, take our word.
We aren’t particularly impressed by the fingerprint-prone plastics used on the I9000 Galaxy S. This top-notch device certainly deserves better. Some metal would’ve made the phone too heavy to handle comfortably. But we’ve certainly seen better choice of finish from Samsung: the Galaxy Spica is a good example. Let’s say it again though, the Galaxy S has a screen to make all the rest irrelevant.