The phone that put Samsung on the map — making it possible for the Korean firm to compete with Apple’s iPhone along with Android behemoths like HTC and Motorolla — has begun to make waves at the high-end of the mobile market after its recent launch.
The Galaxy 4.0 inch Super Amoled display is gorgeous. It is pioneered by Samsung itself and bypasses every other mobile phone display out there.
The graphics processing unit in the phone is the most powerful that has ever been seen in a phone so far. The sad thing is that there are hardly any games available which make full use of it. However, it still has enough power to run every video format you could imagine.
The processor is a standard 1Ghz processor which meets all benchmarks pretty decently, and even in its Android 2.1 iteration is the most powerful phone behind the Droid X and the Nexus One, both of which are running 2.2.
Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S now retails with version 2.2 of Android, which provides performance enhancements that allow Android to compete and possibly bypass its competitors in terms of snappiness and smooth navigation. It also brings in native Flash support, allowing you to watch YouTube videos in your browser, as you would on the PC. Flash is something that Apple does not support on any of its smartphones or tablets and has no plans to do so either. Analysts predict that this may be one of the selling points of the Android platform over Apple, however, local buyers would be well advised to ask their sellers which version of Android locally available Galaxy S’ run.
Being officially launched also means there will be local tech support available at Samsung centres. Because the iPhone and HTC’s android phones are only available unofficially, if you break them or find something wrong with them you had better be prepared to send the phone abroad and pay for its shipping, or have a local tech wizard look at it.
Points to ponder
I do not know what Samsung was thinking when they decided to forego a flash on the phone. Everyone knows that mobile phone cameras do not do so well without flash. It seems the Korean company was confident that the phone’s camera would generally be used in well-lit places.
Moreover, some people say that the phone aesthetically feels a bit on the plastic side. That is a matter of debate though, as the lightweight plastic makes the Galaxy S much lighter than its competitors. Most importantly, plastic makes your phone more resistant to falling. Try throwing a full aluminum body phone down and see how its internals fare.
Samsung also made a major software error with the Galaxy S. The file system that they use on the phone is RFS/FAT32 which causes the phone to lag a bit. The lag is not noticeable to anyone who has not used a high end HTC android phone though. iPhone users can barely detect it. Other problems with the file system can be fixed with a simple lag fix. The touch screen is just as good as the iPhone. I gave it to an Apple fan who uses nothing but Apple devices and they agreed that it seemed equally responsive with the lag fix applied. Overall the new phone will cause Android fans to salivate and spark heated debate among users of iPhones, Blackberrys and other smartphones.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2010.