Samsung I9000 Galaxy S review: From outer space
Lots of good apps
Samsung filled the I9000 Galaxy S with tons of their home-brewed applications and we really appreciate their work. Most of them are quite useful and can be updated via Samsung Apps – the second app repository on your phone. Whenever Samsung updates some of the current apps or widgets, or releases new ones, you’ll find them here.
The Aldiko eBook is an e-reading app. It comes with three complimentary books, but they look kinda awkward. There are various font and color settings, but despite the big screen, it’s just not the best e-reading experience. Pages are side-scrollable only and for a mobile phone that doesn’t quite make sense. We know how paper books work, but why should we recreate their disadvantages in the digital world as well? Up-and-down scrolling of websites feels much more natural on a digital device.
The AllShare app allows you to stream content to and from different kind of devices (TV or computer). We didn’t give it a proper run for its money, but we guess it works over DLNA.
Daily Briefing is the same as the dedicated widget – it shows the weather, stocks and your current schedule. The app works only in portrait mode.
The Memo and Mini Diary are self-explanatory. The first app works with only text, while the Diary lets you also attach pictures.
Social Hub is the messaging and media sharing Holy Grail – this one app allows you to create a message (it may pack media content too) and then send it to various services – SMS/MMS, email, social networks.
Write and Go does almost the same job, but updates only your social network status.
The Voice Dialer was a huge disappointment. It failed to recognize any of our commands.
Luckily Google Voice Search is onboard and it works great. The speech recognition is close to perfect and you won’t be disappointed.
The Sketch Memo, the Image and Video editors also speak for themselves. The editor package offers various features and functionality and will get the job done if you need some basic editing.
Desk Home and Car Home are basic homescreens. They pack a bunch of shortcuts and show the time on a nice wallpaper. Obviously Desk Home offers optimization for when the handset is docked on your desk, while Car Home offers easily legible info and items for the times when you're on the go and you have the Galaxy S in a car stand.
Samsung also provided their own IM and Email clients.
A new addition to the application package of Samsung handsets is the popular Layar Reality browser. It’s a search app enhanced by augmented reality. Your search results for various POIs – gas stations, hotels, parking, restaurants, shops, etc – are returned and displayed in an augmented reality environment using the handset’s GPS and camera.
GPS with Google Navigation
The Samsung I9000 Galaxy S comes with a GPS receiver, which got a satellite lock in about three minutes with A-GPS turned off. A-GPS can speed this up quite a bit, but requires Internet access.
It comes as no surprise that Google Maps come preinstalled. Unfortunately, voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation by Google Maps still has limited availability.
Still, even without Navigation, there is some kind of guidance: your route and current location appear on the screen so you'll reach your destination eventually, but you’ll need a co-pilot to read you the instructions for that one.
Quite naturally, the app also supports the Street View mode. In fact, this mode is probably the best part of Google Maps. If the Street View is available in the area you're interested in, you can enjoy a 360-degree view of the surroundings. When the digital compass is turned on it feels like making a virtual tour of the location!
The Samsung I9000 Galaxy S doesn’t come with a third-party SatNav solution preinstalled but you can easily snatch one off the Android market. There are both paid and free options on offer.