Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL review: Through different eyes

GSMArena team, 2 February 2011.
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Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL 360-degree spin

The Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL is a fairly large phone Ė with a 4Ē screen it canít help it. Yet the device remains pretty slim at 10.66mm so finding a place for it in your pocket isnít all that difficult. The extra 1mm of thickness and height compared to the original Galaxy S is not a thing to notice or feel unless you hold the two devices side by side.

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Original Galaxy S (bottom) vs. Galaxy SL (top): you would hardly feel the difference

Most users are sure to find the weight of the I9003 passable at 131 g. It's not the lightest handset around but it gives a nice solid feeling, that the original Galaxy S somehow lacked.

The I9003 Galaxy SL vs. the I9000 Galaxy S

The first thing to notice is that thereís nothing much new to notice about the Galaxy SL. All resemblance to the original Galaxy S is entirely on purpose. Not that you can hide the absence of a Super AMOLED screen for ever.

Anyway, the dotted rear cover is probably the biggest difference Ė itís still there but a lot less prominent, which in fact is a point in favor of the new I9003 Galaxy SL.

And if the original Galaxy S could get away with almost anything thanks to the best screen in business, the sequel has a lot more on its hands. The Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL has a 4Ē Super Clear LCD screen of WVGA resolution. Just in case you have missed our display shootout, weíll give you a short overview of the main pros and cons of Super Clear LCD over SuperAMOLED.

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But for the back itís hard to tell the I9003 (right) apart from the original Galaxy S (left)

On the plus side, you get a brighter screen of somewhat better sharpness. What you are sacrificing however is the contrast, which is out of this world on the original Galaxy S and only average on the I9003. SuperAMOLED has the upper hand in sunlight legibility too (though the difference here is less prominent).

SuperAMOLED screens are known to have a greenish tint but they make up for it with punchy and saturated colors. And the Super Clear LCD on the I9003 has a touch of blue to its screen so its accuracy isnít any better either. We got admit some of us preferred its less saturated output, so it might be a personal thing.

We wouldnít say brightness itself matters all that much, unless you use your phone screen as a flashlight. Itís more a part of the sunlight legibility thing and as we said the Super AMOLED has a slight edge despite itís a bit less bright.

All in all, the improved sharpness is too little to show for all those sacrifices so we canít rate a Super Clear LCD screen as high as AMOLED. And thatís not even counting the lesser power-efficiency, which is why the Samsung I9003 has a larger battery in the first place.

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The Super Clear LCD screen (right) is some way off the SuperAMOLED standard (left)

But are we not going to deem the I9003 a failure. The thing is not everyone comes from a SuperAMOLED screen (indeed the S8500 owners might be the only ones who could consider this switch) and in the land of LCD, the I9003 isnít doing bad at all.

Itís still a better screen than, say the Desire HD (we donít count size here), and it probably only loses to the Retina display of the iPhone 4. Check out this next series of photos that compares the I9003 Galaxy SL display to the LG Optimus 2X screen.

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The Super Clear LCD compared to the Optimus 2X IPS LCD screen

We've also prepared a comparison video for you to see how contrast and color rendition change with angle.

It's pretty hard to pick between those two as the Super Clear LCD of the Galaxy SL has an advantage in terms of viewing angles, while the Optimus 2X LCD has a slight edge in terms of color rendering.

Still the LG Optimus 2X pricing suggests that it should be well above the I9003 Galaxy SL league and the very fact that we are find the screens comparable flatters the Samsung smartphone. Having the second or third best LCD in business isn't bad for a handset that's about to go mid-range.

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