Reviewed: Samsung Galaxy S

12 Aug 2010

The Galaxy S is a testament to how much time and innovation Samsung has pumped into its smartphones in the past year

This smartphone looks good, feels good and what’s more, it’s one of the most user-friendly models on the market.

For starters, the screen is huge and high definition and at four inches wide it should suffice to say it is eye catching. With Samsung’s ultra-bright Super AMOLED display it is one of the best screens you’ll see on a smartphone this year.

The crisp visuals work well with the 720p HD video recording and a 5.0-megapixel camera with autofocus and blink, face and smile detection.

Watching videos or flipping through photos and the Android operating system is taken advantage of because the latest version has a feature called ‘live wallpapers’ so fields of waving daisies or swirling galaxies keep you entertained in HD.

User interface

Although this touch-enabled phone defaults to a virtual QWERTY keyboard you can switch to alphanumeric if it is what you are used to and text can be inputted via handwriting recognition using your finger to trace the letters. This was fun for a while but I preferred the virtual keyboard.

Aside from the physical power button and volume button on either side of the phone, there is only a central button at the base bringing you back to the home screen and a dedicated menu and back button.

This gives the impression that you are simply holding a large touchscreen, and the chassis itself is lightweight and slim. Perhaps the shiny black plastic and lightweight combination does not give it as much gravitas as one would like but it is well designed.

User experience

With Android, customising this phone is pretty straightforward and you have both the Android Marketplace and Samsung Apps store so there are plenty of apps and seven screens to put them on.

Touch response is excellent. The processor is also zippy. I didn’t feel any discernible lag when multitasking.

Android’s settings can be tweaked to change how much you have running in the background and what apps sync regularly so you can easily control power and data consumption.

As mentioned, the Wi-Fi connection can be used to stream multimedia to another device but it also makes for cost-effective VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls through applications like Skype or Fring. The limitations are constrained to the kind of apps on Android Market so with a strong developer community these limits are few.

Aside from accessing the web via 3G or Wi-Fi there is also the option to use the Galaxy S as a tethering device so it shares internet access.

The best bit is that you can share your internet connection with more than one device by creating your own password-protected WAN network using the handset as a wireless hub. Simply activate mobile AP and connect it using your PC’s Wi-Fi settings.

Should your friends need internet access you can always whip out your Samsung S, turn on the mobile AP and they can get online from their netbook, iPod touch or what have you.

The Samsung Galaxy S is quite powerful due to its 1GHz processor and multitasking doesn’t pose a problem due to the 512MB of RAM. To complement this it comes loaded with 8GB or 16GB of storage and should you require more, the MicroSD slot will take cards from 1GB to 32GB in size.


A powerful multimedia phone in its own right, the Galaxy S also uses the Android operating system to full effect. If you haven’t upgraded your phone in a while you’ll be most impressed with how big and high definition the screen is.