HTC Desire phone that I'd rested to use, and immediately upon finishing the review, I'd switched over to the Samsung Galaxy S. I figured I'd use the phone for a few days, write a review, and move on to writing about the Nokia N8 which was coming to me for demo in a day or two. I usually rip open boxes immediately upon getting a new device, and immediately change my SIM card before even fully charging the device. However, the N8 came, sat glaring at me on my table, and it's taken this long to even want to write a review on the Galaxy S so I can test another phone out. Even the fantastic reviews of the N8 on my favourite gadget blogs didn't tempt me enough to make me change over! Today, I'm finally writing the review as Gitex is on, and I want to be able to have reviews ready of the most lust-worthy products to buy at the Gitex Shopper. And the Samsung Galaxy S is on the top of my list!
The Samsung Galaxy S, is according to me, the best large-screened Android phone in the Market today. If it is a smaller, sleeker device you are going for, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 can't be beat, but Sony Ericsson is yet to release an Android smartphone with a large screen like the HTC's or the Galaxy S. The screen on the device is very, very sharp and is HUGE at 4 inches, and the form factor is so similar to the 3rd generation iPhone, I repeatedly had my friends question, "oh you've gone back to your iPhone 3Gs?" It is incredibly lightweight, and although the phone's body is mainly made up of plastic, it somehow feels durable to me than an iPhone 4- some people may like the plastic body, while others might think it look and feel cheap. I actually quite like the low weight and build of it.
On switching on the phone, I had the exact same problem with the Galaxy S as I did with the Desire- the entire phone boots up in Arabic. In the Desire, at least you have an option coming up in the first 2 screens asking what language you'd like to use. This is a complete pain in butt, as it gives you no options upon start-up and you are flying blind with your new phone in a language you can't even begin to understand. Thank God for YouTube, which is where I googled and found a video with instructions on how to change a language. The language on the video is English, but try following the images and the placement of the icons to get to the Language portion on it-
After I changed the language and could actually see what I was reading, I synced my phone with my Google contacts list and had emails, etc, working in a jiffy. I then tried going to the Android Market on the phone to download other softwares to use, which is when I noticed huge hiccup number 2- Android Market was not pre-installed in the unit. What?! Why?? Apparently it was "to be launched" although I still am yet to understand what exactly that meant, though I believe the ones now have it already installed. If they aren't, leave me a message in the comments below and I'll find the same workaround that was used to install it on mine and post it. Once I had it up and running and downloaded all my Apps onto it, the phone worked flawlessly from then on.
The Samsung is different from the HTC in quite a few different ways, the most obvious being the customized UI on the device known as Touchwiz 3.0. This made all the apps stored on the device as "pages" like on the iPhone devices, rather than as a list you could scroll through on other Android devices. I much preferred the regular version than this one, as I've always found it annoying to flip through screens to find a particular app or folder. The regular Android screen looks nicer than this and while other companies have tried to add their own UI's onto the phone, it has generally to make it better looking, and not worse. Where the device does shine is the "Swype" text input that comes pre-installed with the phone. While on screen keyboards can be painful for people used to (and in love with) physical keyboards, Swype is actually great way to type quickly and accurately and really works well with the android device. Here is a demo to show you how it works-
Video recording on the phone is a pleasure to do, with it recording 720p HD videos at 30 fps. Even quick movements while filming don't show any lag or jerking, and is probably just as good quality as that on a Flip recorder. The phone also plays different video formats like DIVX and XVID so you can take advantage of the gorgeous AMOLED screen on the device. The camera is also a 5 megapixel shooter, which comes with autofocus built in, but unfortunately has no flash. Again, Samsung phones always do have decent cameras, but it cannot compare with the 12 megapixel shooter that comes in the Sony Ericsson Xperia phone.
On the whole, like I said, the Samsung is one of the best Android phones I've used, and probably THE best large screen one. Sure, it has its problems, but two of the largest ones happen to be the fault of the Samsung local office not thinking the device through for a particular market. Once you work around those problems and use the phone daily, it really does grow on you and works well. Emails are a pleasure to read and reply to, you can type SMS's quickly and easily using Swype, the camera works great, etc. If you're looking for an Android device and want to look for something more stylish than an HTC Desire, look no further than the Galaxy S. You really won't be disappointed.