I’ve just purchased my new Samsung Galaxy S (SGS) and I’ve been playing round with it for a few weeks and thought I’d share a few thoughts with you about it. This is my first ever Android phone, although I have drooled over several of the Android phones that my friends have had. Purchasing the SGS was an extremely close race between this, the HTC Legend and the HTC Desire. I would have actually bought the Desire if I actually trusted Telstra and they had a choice between $49 and $79 plans. When I saw the plan Optus was offering ($0 upfront, $59 a month for $450 of calls, unlimited SMS and 1GB of data) I just couldn’t resist. Add to that Optus’ awesome deal on insurance, $7.99/month for absolutely any accidental damage. I love my wife very much but that $7.99 is an excellent investment. I’ll caveat this review with the fact that my previous phone was an iPhone, but I have workmates with N9000s, HTC Desires and HD2s so I do have an objective view.
The screen is awesome. I don’t mean good, I don’t mean great. I mean awesome! This phone in all seriousness is comparable to my samsung tv when it comes to colour definition and brightness. Watching 720P video on it nearly brings a tear to your eye. Not to mention that it natively plays almost any media files and codecs (Mkv, Avi, Xvid, Divx, H263, H264.) Combine that with the 5 megapixel camera that can record 24 frame 720p video and you have a fantastic little phone camera recorder in your pocket.
Second key feature is the swype keyboard technology. It seems really strange to anyone who has typed on an iPhone but once you get used to it swype just works. The ability to correct a word using swype instead of editing the spelling mistakes you just made is delightful. Plus there are so many little extras that being a smile to your face like the ability to change the capitalisation of a word. I do miss the ability of the iPhone to select text using the magnifying window, so I guess the HTC Desire gets one over the SGS because of it’s little optical trackpad.
The touchscreen is easily on par if not better than the iPhone’s, I’ve never had an issue with it not working or selecting something I didn’t want. For those of us who have rooted their phone (*ahem) then you can dmesg to see how accurate the screen is. I was able to accurately identify 5 separate fingers on touch and release correctly in the kernel :).
The media player for music is excellent, but my only current gripe is the fact that the album art from windows doesn’t work. There are apps out there to do this, but this is definately something that needs to be fixed. The interface is more than usable, though I would really have liked for them to put the iPhone feature in the headset button for double click to get the next track. That said the media player shows up in the Android status menu so you can easily skip tracks without switching applications. As I mentioned before the video player will just about any format. Only thing I can really fault it on is that you have no choice but to view it in landscape and you can’t access the android status menu without stopping the video and quitting the application.
The GPS is unfortunately broken in the current release of firmware. It continually loses it’s fix on the satellites and jumps you back to the mobile phone tower location. I have rooted my phone to gain access to the gps.conf to switch the NTP server over to the AU pool, which actually doesn’t work to badly. Biggest change I had was when I enabled skyhook though (punch *#*#1472365#*#* into the dialer to access the secret menus). I can now get a 10m fix within 20seconds when I”m outside. Google maps had a bug but a recent update seems to have fixed this.
I’ve also had an issue with the GPS switching the WIFI on when I have it disabled, which seems to play havoc with the mobile data connection. I have definitely had the same bug as the iPhone, where I need to flick it into flight mode then back again before the data connection will startup again. Being an early adopter is great! From what I can see over at the XDA Developers forum the new firmwares have resolved many of these issues. Samsung just has to stop beta testing them and release them already!!!
I guess my overall feelings are that I love this platform, not having to transcode my videos just so I can watch them, having a phone I can plug into a USB port to act as an SD Card (outrageous I hear you say) is just such a nice feature after having a locked down iPhone for 2 years. Once Samsung releases a firmware upgrade I think this phone will be by far the best Android platform on the market. Sales worldwide have been phenomenal and the iPhone has a serious contender here 🙂