The Samsung Galaxy S could seem like an iPhone 3GS wannabe, but its huge, vibrant screen and plenty of sensible-phone options produce it a lot of than just another touchscreen additionally-ran. Samsung has played to its strengths by delivering nice hardware and largely leaving the software aspect of things to Google’s Android operating system.

Better of all, the Galaxy S isn’t insanely expensive. You’ll choose it up free on a £30-a-month contract. It is conjointly offered for around £four hundred on a pay-as-you-go deal, and £450 SIM-free.

Lightweight as a feather, stiff as a corpse
The Galaxy S appearance terribly kind of just like the iPhone 3GS, with a black plastic case and a gunmetal-grey trim. On the front there are two touch-sensitive, flat buttons and one mechanical home-screen button, lending the total phone a sleek and pared-down look that sets it other than alternative button-laden phones that run Android, like the HTC Desire.

The Galaxy S’ screen could be a 102mm (four-in.) behemoth, and but the handset manages to feel shockingly lightweight-weight, at solely 119g. Some people will miss the heft of a big, significant sensible phone, however we tend to tend to like the Galaxy S’s lightness. We tend to tend to expect that the shiny black case will gather scratches once you’ve got used the phone for a while, though.

The massive screen is that the supernova of this specific galaxy — it is the Super AMOLED kind, that you will be able to solely get on Samsung phones. The name’s hyperbolic, but Super AMOLED screens are a huge improvement on the traditional AMOLED screens that we have a tendency to tend to loved on phones like the HTC Legend.

In the past, we tend to admire the insanely bright colours and high saturation of Super AMOLED screens, however lamented the fact that they are thus reflective that they’re going to be invisible in bright sunlight. The Galaxy S has overcome this draw back though. We tend to were prepared to use the phone even in the brightest daylight that Wimbledon week may bestow upon us. The show even look sensible compared to an LCD screen just like the iPhone’s. The 480×800-pixel resolution is not quite as spectacular as a result of the razor-sharp, 640×960-pixel show on the iPhone 4, but it more than bears comparison with the remainder of the touchscreen posse.

Galactic speeds
The rest of the Galaxy S’ hardware lives up to the promise of the screen. HSUPA connectivity ensures fast Internet surfing over 3G, whereas Wi-Fi works when you’ve got giant files to swap. You’ll even wirelessly share your phone’s 3G association along with your alternative Wi-Fi devices, like your laptop, thanks to the tethering feature.

The Galaxy S offers 8GB or 16GB of internal memory, and the flexibility to add up to 32GB further with a micro SD card. That makes the Galaxy S a massive memory monster, that is handy, since you will want to slap masses of video and pictures on this phone to need advantage of its massive screen.

You’ll conjointly would like masses of room to store the photos from the Galaxy S’ five-megapixel camera. It took decent photos in good light-weight in our tests. They were slightly noisy, but the camera was very quick to retort, that makes it excellent for taking spontaneous snapshots. Whereas not a flash or LED photo lightweight, but, you will not capture abundant detail in low light.

With speedy surfing capability and a 1GHz processor, the Galaxy S is mostly fast. Menu transitions are swish and responsive, and using a fast pinch of the fingers to zoom into the Web browser, maps and gallery applications is pain-free. The Android Market, but, didn’t even work once we initial started the Galaxy S up, and it continuously gave the impression to run at [*fr1] the speed of the opposite apps on the phone.

There’s conjointly an FM radio on-board, and, if you’ve got a Samsung TV, you will be in a position to use the phone as a foreign control.

Awesome app action
Samsung has principally let Android handle the software options, which we tend to suppose is very wise — we tend to sometimes do not notice Samsung’s own makes an attempt as user-friendly. Android is Google’s software for powering good phones, and it includes innumerable treats, particularly if you use Google merchandise like Gmail. For example, Google Maps is out there on lots of phones, but, on Android phones, together with the Galaxy S, it comes with a free turn-by-flip navigation feature.

You will additionally get access to the Android Market, which is crammed with apps that you will be able to simply download and add to your phone, increasing its capabilities and options to an nearly infinite extent.

Even if you never download an app, Samsung has created certain there are masses of fine ones pre-put in on the Galaxy S. Our favourite is Swype. It’s another keyboard that makes writing on the screen faster, as a results of you simply have to run your finger over the letters that you wish, rather than choosing out each one. To activate Swype, you only have to hold your finger on any text field. If you do not like it, you will be in a position to modify it off just as easily.

Many of the choices that we have a tendency to tend to used to wish apps for on Android, like support for Outlook email, have currently been designed into the operating system. The Samsung Galaxy S has the foremost recent version of Android place in, 2.1. Samsung features a sensible chronicle of updating the operating system of its previous Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Portal, that bodes well for the Galaxy S, since version 2.a try of of Android is on the way.

Unfortunately, we tend to be praying for a firmware update even before Samsung finishes baking Android 2.a pair of, as a result of the software on the Galaxy S will be very flaky at times. For instance, we tend to generally tend to never got our calendar to sync any of the events from our Outlook calendar except the all-day ones, and our Google Apps calendar was ignored altogether. Our sample, which wasn’t a pre-production version, conjointly froze usually enough to depart us feeling like we have a tendency to were living among the North Pole.

Widget weakest link
Together with apps, you’ll be ready to load up the seven home screens with widgets. Some include live updates, providing you with, for instance, up-to-the-minute data from social-networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter. The phone conjointly merges your Facebook and Twitter chums with the contacts in your address book, to help you retain in touch.

Like apps, you will download widgets from the Android Market, and Samsung has conjointly chucked a number of its own onto the phone. They provide the impression of being sensible, if you prefer Samsung’s playful vogue, but we tend to do not rate any of them as ought to-haves. As an example, the daily briefing widget sounds nice — it shows the weather, news and calendar for your day ahead. But the widget will not fill the screen, therefore it only has room for one headline or appointment, and also the headlines all come back back from AP Mobile, that is solely helpful if you are favourite topic is American congressional hearings.

You will never would like to use Samsung’s own widgets if you are doing not would like to though, and you will be ready to manoeuvre them and take away them at will. They will not be mind-blowing smart, but don’t let that place you off looking for this phone.

Samsung has tweaked the menu slightly, chucking the quality Android apps onto rounded-sq. backgrounds that are highly paying homage to the iPhone’s icons. We tend to tend to try and do not understand why Samsung thinks this will facilitate folks settle for this smart phone, however we have a tendency to suppose it is a waste of developer time. The extra a manufacturer messes with the default Android user interface, the less seemingly it is that users will receive timely updates to the operating system — and Android tends to be refreshed a lot of sometimes than most individuals’ underpants.

However, for every dodgy widget or annoying, copycat menu, the Samsung galaxy mini overflows with dozens extra nice choices — from the Aldiko ebook reader, that appearance simply like Apple’s iBook’s app, to the augmented-reality app, Layar. Taken together with the large screen, the Galaxy S lives up to the mobile-computer hype, and we have a tendency to tend to may happily stare at it till our eyes go square.

As a result of of Android’s software brains and Samsung’s hardware aptitude, the Galaxy S may be a really spectacular good-phone package — albeit an unusually light-weight-weight one. The large Super AMOLED screen is good, and you’ll freely ignore the often clumsy Samsung widgets and apps in favour of your choice from the thousands within the Android Market. The downside of all this power is that the Galaxy S’ weedy battery life and often buggy software. But, for the pay-monthly price, we have a tendency to tend to can forgive the plastic case and incontinent battery — and, once a software fix comes over the air, the Galaxy S may be a true good-phone titan.