Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani review: Fashionware

GSMArena team, 14 January 2011.
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Unboxing might leave you slightly disappointed

This may be a self-evident statement but utmost attention to detail is what makes the difference between premium and standard grade items. The plain-looking paper box of the Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani does seem a bit too ordinary for a high-end handset. But soon you realize itís the packaging of the packaging.

Inside, thereís another box shaped like a jewelry chest with an Armani-branded magnetic buckle. Thatís where the actual phone is, along with the supplied accessories. Items are separately packaged in little boxes made of paper which almost feels like fabric to the touch.

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The box looks cool, but has very little inside

Anyway, the wrapping lives up to the name and this is exactly why you will probably feel a bit let down with the actual contents. We were hoping for a carrying case or at least a cloth to keep that Super AMOLED screen in prime shape. But we ended up with just a charger (Armani-branded), a USB cable and a headset.

There wasnít even a memory card. And yeah, we know the I9010 has 16GB of storage already, but itís not like you can have too much storage. And mind you, this one here is not what they call an austerity package.

Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani 360-degree spin

If weíre to trust the hard numbers, at 122.5 x 64.2 x 9.9mm and 123 g, the Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani is virtually identical in size to its less distinguished sibling. In reality though, it feels much more solid than the mere 4g difference suggest.

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The I9010 measured up against the original Galaxy S and the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc

Itís mostly due to the high-quality surfaces Ė but itís also the better weight balance Ė that makes the Armani droid a lot better to handle than its sibling. The I9010 allows a firm and secure grip Ė none of the slippery rear surface of the original Galaxy S. And despite the fairly large size, the phone is rather easy to pocket, because of its slim profile.

Design and construction

We like the I9010 Galaxy S design so much we secretly wish the global Galaxy S looked like that. And yes, we used to envy AT&T subscribers for being able to enjoy the best looking version of the Galaxy S.

Of course the sloped top and bottom or the ribbed back wouldnít have been so appealing, had it not been for the high-quality soft-touch plastic and metal. Equally important Ė to us anyway Ė the styling of the phone is subtle and mature. A fashion version of an Android smartphone is a proposition we would typically be skeptical about. Well, not the Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani. They obviously got it right: itís good looking, high-performing and ultimately tasteful.

But no matter how sleek the handset is, once you turn the 4Ē WVGA Super AMOLED on itís where all eyes will focus. We never missed an occasion to voice our admiration of the image quality of Super AMOLED with its incredible contrast, high resolution and spotless sunlight legibility.

The PenTile matrix might take away some of the sharpness, compared to regular screens but thatís hardly a problem in everyday use. After all you still have plenty of resolution to work with. The deep blacks however are obvious at the very first glance and chances are once you get used to them, you would never want to go back to regular LCD ever again.

We are also particularly fond of the deep and vibrant colors, but since saturated colors are not everyoneís cup of tea, you donít have to agree with us on this one.

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The Super AMOLED units are simply gorgeous

The sensitivity of the capacitive unit is top notch. As a matter of fact, the screen is a bit over-powered. It means that every now and again it will respond to your finger actually hovering a millimeter above the screen. Again Ė whether you like this or prefer a slightly less sensitive unit that might occasionally miss a click, is strictly a matter of personal preference.

Finally we have to mention that just like the regular Galaxy S, the I9010 Giorgio Armani has scratch resistant Gorilla glass.

Moving on, we find four touch-sensitive keys below the display. Thatís one more than the original Galaxy Sís home, menu and back trio. The new addition is the dedicated search button so you donít need to long-press the menu key to go to the Google search box.

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There are four capacitive touch keys underneath the display

Keys are large enough to allow comfortable use and their capacitive touch technology makes sure the transition between them and the screen is seamless.

Above the display you can see the earpiece and a couple of sensors. The proximity sensor takes care of automatically switching the display off during calls, while the ambient light sensor adjusts screen brightness.

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There are a couple of sensors next to the earpiece

The top of the phone hosts the 3.5mm jack and the microUSB port. Thereís a sliding lid over the data port while the audio jack is exposed.

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The microUSB port has a sliding cover over it, while the 3.5mm jack is unprotected

The bottom is perfectly bare, but for the mouthpiece, which is placed right in the middle.

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The microphone pinhole is at the bottom

On the left side of the Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani we find the volume rocker, while the power/lock key is symmetrically placed across on the right. Thereís no dedicated shutter key, which is a letdown for the HD video-capable 5 megapixel snapper.

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The power key and the volume rocker are the only controls on the sides of the Samsung I9010

Another thing that damages the camera usability is the lack of flash.

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There is no flash around the 5 megapixel camera lens

The battery cover is locked into place by the sliding piece of plastic at the phoneís bottom. Underneath you can see the hot-swappable microSD card slot, the SIM compartment and the 1650 mAh battery.

Itís interesting that even though the batteryís capacity is 10% higher than the original Galaxy S, it would still fit fine in it as well without requiring a new battery cover or anything like that.

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Opening the battery cover reveals the hot-swappable microSD slot and the 1650 mAh battery

Naturally, the larger battery (used on identical hardware) gives the I9010 Giorgio Armani a performance boost. We managed to squeeze a bit over three days of pretty heavy use out of the phone. Though we admit, we were careful not to use live wallpapers or too many background services.

The Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani is a phone of commendable ergonomics. But thatís not the first thing you get to appreciate. The styling is subtle but powerful and the handling is way superior to that of the original Galaxy S.

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The Samsung I9010 Galaxy S Giorgio Armani is nice to handle

All the keys are comfortable to use and the screen performs consistently with no drops of sensitivity around the periphery. In terms of usability, it would have been perfect to have a dedicated camera key. In terms of design and looks, thereís little else we would ask for. We wish the original Galaxy S looked like that Ė there can be no bigger compliment to the GA version.

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