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In November of last year, my current contract came to an end, and I hit the market to find a decent, modern phone to keep me going for the coming year or two ahead. Initially, I was driting towards the ever-so popular iPhone, but being a student, getting that would prove costly, and a little too costly for my liking. So, with this, I shopped about looking for the latest deals, and got some advice from those who worked for the major mobile networks, primarily o2, vodafone and T-Mobile.
In the end, I was convinced that an Android phone would be the way to go, and a result, I decided that I would go for the Samsung Galaxy S GT-I9000 , on Vodafone. Due to numerous problems with Vodafone, as described in my other review, I ended up getting the phone on o2. For £35, I get myself 600 minutes, unlimited texts and 500mb of data, and the 8gb version of the phone - I'm not too bothered in all honesty that it is only the 8gb, as apposed to the 16gb version :)
The phone and what comes in the box
The phone comes presented in a sleek, small black box, with the Galaxy S branding on the front ( obviously). The phone bas a 4" Super Amoled Screen( I'll talk a little about this further on in the review), and has plastic casing and plastic back cover
On the top of the phone, you have a port for the headphones, a port for the USB cable and charger. To the right hand side is the on/off and lock button, and on the left hand side is the volume controls. The back of the phone boasts a 5 mega pixel camera, which doesn't have any flash capabilities, it must be noted.
When you open the box, the phone is presented to you in all it's 4" glory! If you lift the phone out, underneath there is all the cabling you'd expect to come bundled with a phone, including ;
The phone runs on the Android system, and is currently on the Android 2.2 Froyo version
The Phone in action
The Super AMOLED ( Super Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode - just to sound clever :D ) gives a 20% brighter screen, and is more efficient when in direct sunlight, apparantly giving up to 80% less reflection - to sound less technical, the sun won't shine on the screen so much, meaning it is completely unviewable, I'm sure we've all been there at some point!
The phone itself is very easy to use though! There are several locking features you can have on the phone - you can either have a slide to unlock, a pattern unlock where you have to slide your finger in a pattern to unlock the phone, or a traditional password/code system. I changed my setting from the slide unlock to the pattern unlock, as I felt it was too easy to unlock the phone accdentally in your pocket with the slide function, but then again that is only my personal preference.
Upon locking your phone, there is a bar at the bottom which displays your Phone call menu, contacts, messaging and Applications. You can though, however add further buttons to your home screen menus, as well as adding apps to your home screen too, such as news, weather, sport widgets etc.
The phone button takes you into the Phone Call menu and has 4 subheadings :
The keypad is obviously self explanitory here - it simply lets you call people using the traditional inserting number method. The logs again are self explanitory
The favourites section gives you a list of people to which you interact with frequently, so this gives you a wee indication as to who you are dedicating alot of time towards, and those you have are maybe deserting a little :P
The contacts tab takes me into the next button on the home screen
The contacts button again is clearly self explanitory, as it takes you into the directory of the people who you have numbers for. You can also assign your contacts into groups ( Family, Friends, co-workers etc), which is a nice wee feature to have. Added to that you can also add pictures to your contacts so when they phone you, they're face is a constant reminder if you want to accept, or maybe even decline the call, totally up to you!
The messaging on the Samsung Galaxy S is rather different to any other phone I've had! In my previous phones, if I received, say a message from John, then a message from Mary, then another message from John, it would list these messages seperately, one on top of another ( so JOHN, MARY, JOHN in the message list ). With the Samsung Galaxy S, the messages are grouped into threads, so that is is easier to see the conversation between you and that person - the traditional Sent Box and inbox are gone, and this concept is thrown out the window. I much prefer the thread idea, and can clearly see what I've been saying to people!The phone includes a swift new feature which really helps speed up the texting process. SWYPE is , I'd say, an update to T9. Basically, to get a word, you swipe your finger over each of the letters, without taking your finger of the screen - the phone will then bring up a selection of recommended words ( can be a bit hit and miss at times, but then again, so was T9!)
The applications button takes you to the menu screen within the Samsung Galaxy. It gives you a list to the applications you've installed from the marketplaces, pre-installed apps, music player, gallery, camera, radio, and other features you'd expect to see. When I got the phone, the menu included the following : "Android Market
Obviously, there is a lot included, such as Layar, Lattitude, AllShare, which, in all honesty, cannot seem to work out what it exactly is, so I have no use for it whatsoever, but I included them anyway incase it is a major influence for anyone out there, yet again, you never know!You can download apps from the Android Market, with apps covering a wide range of things. This is basically the Android equivalent to the Apple AppStore. There is a wide range of free apps to, so there really is something there for everyone. (If you've heard of the Angry Birds game, then it is free on Android - wee plus ! )
When somebody calls you, you have to sweep your finger to the side to answer it. If you've confused, it uses the green for accept, red for decline formula :P
Camera, Music, Video and More
As I've already mentioned, the phone features a 5 mega pixel camera, which is really high quality for a mobile phone. The only downside is the phone doesn't have a flash, so you are limited in the conditions in which you can take photos in. The video is recorded in HD quality. I've used the built in music player a couple of times, but it completely confused me, as it seemed to bundle certain tracks, into albums, but leave the others seperated and not in seperate folders meaning it was difficult to play through all the songs in the one sitting, which I found a tad disappointing - I still haven't managed to work out what is causing this.
The phone also has a working internet browser too, which comes preinstalled. The quickness of the internet connection is completely dependant on your phone signal however. A wee bit of advice though - if you're planning on using the browser to access sites such as facebook, twitter, and news sites - DON'T! If you go to the Android Market, there is dedicated apps for these sites, which means that in a click of a button, you can be taken straight to the service you require. The notifications for such apps, facebook, in particular is a bit confusing as I've found that sometimes you get notifications and sometimes you don't - this could be down to facebook however and not the phone.The Galaxy S can also be used as a modem for laptops and computers, but I haven't used this feature so I can't comment on it. In addition to this, the phone has built in WiFi capabilities, which allows you to use hotspots , which means you don't run up your allowance in any way, which I find incredibly useful I must say.
You've praised the phone.... Why only 4 stars?
There is a few reasons as to this. Although I think the Galaxy S is a great phone, there is a few things I find quite disappointing about it. Firstly, I think the battery life could be a little better - in a few occassions, I've found my battery level to be at 3%, then when charged for about 30seconds, jumps to 40 odd %, which I find extremely weird. Also, when I upgraded the phone to Android 2.2, I found the phone began to crash and freeze alot more than it did previously, which is obviously a massive pain in the behind! I also find the built in music player a little disappointing too, since I haven't been able to get this working properly as of yet.Putting my little complaints to one side, when you add in all the other features the phone has, and that works properly, the Samsung Galaxy S is a neat little phone and I would definitely recommend it, as the problems I've found aren't major!
I would recommend getting the phone on contract though, as you'll 9 times out of 10 get it free, whereas it'll cost around £450ish on PAYG!
I hope you've found my review, both informative, and a helpful guide as to whether you think the phone is for you :)
Now that was a good review! Sorry to hear the upgrade to current revision of Android o/s has destabilised it somewhat, I have heard similar stories from others in regard to the Galaxy and 2.2, although some of these reports stem from "jailbroken" (or whatever the term is!) devices. Actually, has Apple not instigated proceedings against Samsung for allegedly using some of the iPhone and iPad ideas and incorporating them into the latest Samsung mobile devices without attribution?
morticiaaddams 21.03.2011 22:51
Fab review, E!
rosebud2001 21.03.2011 22:01
I love mine - it's the best phone I've ever had! The battery life is shocking if you leave the internet running - if you switch it off when not in use battery life improves dramatically :-)