Samsung I9103 Galaxy R preview: First look
New Galaxy, old camera
The Samsung I9103 Galaxy R comes with a 5MP auto-focus camera for photos of up to 2560 x 1920 pixel resolution. It comes with an LED flash but nothing in the way of lens protection or physical shutter key.
The camera module here is like the one in the original Galaxy S and not the 8MP unit in the other S II. The software has been updated though and the user interface is identical to the S II one.
The interface has two shortcut bars on each side of the viewfinder. On the right you get the still camera / camcorder switch, virtual shutter key and the gallery shortcut (which is a thumbnail of the last photo taken).
On the left you get several controls by default but the good news is that you can pick four shortcuts to put there – commonly used features need to be one tap away.
In terms of features, the Samsung I9103 Galaxy R offers plenty of features –scene modes, face/smile detection, effects, geo-tagging and manual controls for ISO, metering mode and so on. Some features were missing – like touch focus and blink detection – but they might make it into the release version of the software.
Our Galaxy R unit is very far from being production-ready, especially when it comes to the camera. The right sides of photos we took show some lens issue and a lot of the photos ended up underexposed.
Still, noise levels seem under control and there’s a good amount of captured detail for 5MP shots. We’ll take a harder look at the I9103 Galaxy R camera when we get a final unit.
The video camera interface is identical to the still camera one. You get the same customizable panel on the left for four shortcuts.
It records 720p videos, which have decent looking quality but unfortunately our pre-production unit still has some kinks that need to be worked out. We’ll hold off from posting sample videos for now and give Samsung’s engineers to finish their work.
A great web browser
The Galaxy line has seriously impressed us so far in terms of web browsing. A large part of that was due to the screen, but the tweaked software that produced smooth zooming and scrolling had a large role in that too.
The interface of the browser should be very familiar by now. It adheres to Google’s policy of minimalism – there’s the address bar at the top with a bookmarks shortcut next to it and that’s it. The rest of the controls are accessible with the Menu key.
The browser supports both double tap and pinch zooming along with the new two-finger tilt zoom. There are niceties such as multiple tabs, text reflow, find on page and so on. A neat trick is to pinch zoom out beyond the minimum – that opens up the tabs view.
Flash in the browser doesn’t get along with Tegra 2 in the Galaxy R as well as it did with the Exynos in the Galaxy S. The Z can handle 480p YouTube videos but 720p is beyond reach (even though the original Galaxy S can do it after the Gingerbread update). Flash games on the other hand played smoothly.