Samsung’s latest high-power smartphone has attracted a great deal of attention online. The Android-powered Galaxy S is packed with technology and loaded with cool features, giving the Korean tech giant a serious chance at toppling this month’s iPhone frenzy. Backed up by some neat software and one of the largest companies in technology, the Galaxy S could be the biggest disrupter of 2010.
Apple’s most recent handset has catapulted the Cupertino-based technology company back into the limelight, pushing a series of recent PR mistakes and iPad jokes into the past. But while the iPhone continues to break sales records, Google’s Android operating system has been sneaking up behind it, capturing market share and converting a great deal of cellphone users to a more open platform.
With devices like the Galaxy S on its side, it’s not hard to see why. Samsung’s latest mobile phone certainly takes a few design cues from the iPhone, although with its own distinct feature set and a distinctly powerful engine inside its enclosure it doesn’t feel like a cheap copy. The phone’s design is familiar and quite usable, drawing inspiration from both HTC and Apple devices.
A four-inch touchscreen is the obvious centrepiece, giving users a simple platform for browsing the internet or searching for applications. Movement isn’t detected quite as smoothly or intuitively as on Apple’s most recent iPhone, although usability on the Galaxy S is far above standard. Shifting from one screen to another is simple, however we noticed some slightly slowdown when changing apps quickly.
Android’s strength is its customizability, and the Galaxy S certainly doesn’t disappoint. Samsung has left few restrictions on the phone’s interface, allowing users to change virtually anything about the layout or display. Widgets can be placed on the home screen, while background images and display settings can be changed using the ‘advanced’ menu settings.
A few nagging interface issues bring the Galaxy S down a notch, such as the lack of swipe-based controls for bringing up the system menu or switching applications. Usability is good in most cases, proving that Android can be a user-friendly mobile platform when paired with the right hardware.
Multimedia users are unlikely to be disappointed with the Galaxy S. The phone includes one of the best media players out there, beating out the iPhone and Samsung’s own Wave smartphone. Footage is smooth and stutter-free thanks to the mobile phone’s powerful 1GHz processor, integrated GPU, and crisp four-inch display. Ebooks are readable, although scrolling can become quite tiresome.
With a large display and one of the most impressive versions of Android we’ve seen, the Samsung Galaxy S could be the ultimate non-Apple smartphone. We’re not quite sold on the ‘Swype’ message input system, though with a few software revisions it’s sure to become a standard mobile feature.
Samsung have yet to release pricing information for the Galaxy S, though we suspect that it will be similar to the iPhone 4 given its high-end feature set and timely release date. Apple fans may enjoy their top-of-the-table status now, but with models like the Galaxy S appearing left and right, it could soon be Android that’s in control of the mobile phone operating system world.