Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL review: Through different eyes
A decent 5 megapixel snapper
The Galaxy SL lineup is staying out of the megapixel race and the I9003 is no exception – it packs a 5MP camera, which seems to be the norm for higher end Androids. This one’s also bare of accessories 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 scene and shooting modes. Geotagging, face and smile detection are enabled too.
Similar to its galactic siblings, the I9003 Samsung Galaxy SL lacks 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 quite 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 works fine.
The camera offers a wide range of photographic features, almost anything you can find in a cameraphone – blink detection, image stabilization, geotagging, smile detection, face detection and auto contrast.
The Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL image quality is about average for the 5 megapixel league. The resolved detail is hardly impressive but colors are nicely rendered and contrast is pretty good. The metering seems a bit too enthusiastic, which works out fine in most cases but results in highlight clipping slightly more often than usual.
Check out a few samples and judge for yourselves.
Video recording is pretty fine
The Samsung I9003 Galaxy SL is capable of shooting 720p videos at 30fps. The achievement is pretty great, considering that there’s only one handset that does better so far.
The camcorder interface has the same layout as the still camera one.
The HD footage recorded in mp4 format comes up perfectly smooth. Its image quality is decent and the amount of resolved detail is good (if unspectacular), but the colors are a bit oversaturated and the dynamic range could be a bit better. Still that might change when the handset officially hits the shelves.
You can also download this untouched 720p sample (15MB), taken straight from the device.
Strangely enough our I9003 lacked continuous autofocus when shooting video. Of course that could just be an issue with our pre-release unit as both the original Galaxy SL (after the update) and the Galaxy SL Giorgio Armani had this feature.
Connectivity well set
The I9003 Galaxy SL covers its connectivity bases alright – worldwide ready quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and tri-band HSPA with download rates of up to 7.2 Mbps and upload at 5.76 Mbps.
Similar to the first Galaxy S phone – the I9003 offers Wi-Fi (b/g/n), the new Bluetooth v3.0 with A2DP support and USB v2.0. The USB interface is standard microUSB, which makes finding a suitable cable a lot easier.
Besides its 16GB integrated storage, the Samsung I9000 Galaxy SL supports microSD cards of up to 32GB. The slot is under the battery cover. There is also 2GB of ROM, with 1.5 GB free space for app installation. As you know Android 2.2 Froyo enables installing apps on the memory card and the extra internal storage, so you shouldn’t be concerned about insufficient space.
The 3.5 mm standard audio port completes the connectivity tally. You can keep your favorite headphones and use them with the Galaxy SL hassle-free.