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 it’s the packaging of the packaging.
Inside, there’s another box shaped like a jewelry chest with an Armani-branded magnetic buckle. That’s 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.
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 wasn’t even a memory card. And yeah, we know the I9010 has 16GB of storage already, but it’s not like you can have too much storage. And mind you, this one here is not what they call an austerity package.
If we’re 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.
It’s mostly due to the high-quality surfaces – but it’s also the better weight balance – that makes the Armani droid a lot better to handle than its sibling. The I9010 allows a firm and secure grip – 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.
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 wouldn’t have been so appealing, had it not been for the high-quality soft-touch plastic and metal. Equally important – to us anyway – 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: it’s good looking, high-performing and ultimately tasteful.
But no matter how sleek the handset is, once you turn the 4” WVGA Super AMOLED on it’s 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 that’s 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 everyone’s cup of tea, you don’t have to agree with us on this one.
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 – 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. That’s one more than the original Galaxy S’s home, menu and back trio. The new addition is the dedicated search button so you don’t need to long-press the menu key to go to the Google search box.
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.
The top of the phone hosts the 3.5mm jack and the microUSB port. There’s a sliding lid over the data port while the audio jack is exposed.
The bottom is perfectly bare, but for the mouthpiece, which is placed right in the middle.
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. There’s no dedicated shutter key, which is a letdown for the HD video-capable 5 megapixel snapper.
Another thing that damages the camera usability is the lack of flash.
The battery cover is locked into place by the sliding piece of plastic at the phone’s bottom. Underneath you can see the hot-swappable microSD card slot, the SIM compartment and the 1650 mAh battery.
It’s interesting that even though the battery’s 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.
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 that’s 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.
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, there’s little else we would ask for. We wish the original Galaxy S looked like that – there can be no bigger compliment to the GA version.