There’s no two ways about it – Sammy’s new mobile looks like a hacked iPhone running Android. Throw in a 4in Super AMOLED sceen and for many, this will sound like a dream device – but the question is whether Samsung can pull it off.

At 118g, it’s no lightweight, but the back panel is flimsier than we’d like and in comparison to Apple’s legendary build quality it ends up feeling poorer by comparison. Luckily, the rest of the chassis is made of sterner stuff.

Super screen

Turn it on, and any reservations about build are blown away. It’s not the first phone we’ve seen with Samsung’s Super AMOLED tech, but the Galaxy S’s responsive 4in touchscreen really shows off just how bright and sharp it is.

It’s primed for HD video and picture browsing, and even in bright sunlight it’s relatively easy to view pics and read text. Side-by-side, an iPhone looks washed out.

Annoyingly, though, there’s no pinch-to-zoom action yet for flicking through pictures and the browser mechanic is uninspiring. Samsung’s music player offsets this with a Cover Flow-style album carousel. There’s a flush 3.5mm headphone jack, too.

Tasty Eclair

The Galaxy S ships with Android 2.1 (Eclair), but it will be getting the 2.2 (Froyo) update later in the year. Thanks to its speedy 1GHz Hummingbird chip, it shouldn’t have any trouble keeping up with all the new tricks to come from Google’s mobile OS; it certainly doesn’t struggle with the current version.

This is the first phone to run Samsung’s latest Touchwiz interface and haptic feedback from the Android touchkeys is a nice, ahem, touch. Again, there’s more than a nod to the iPhone UI, particularly in the app browser, phone and music player – no bad thing. 

Our test model was a pre-production device; dare we hope for a slicker final version?


Review continues after the break…

Decent 5MP snapper

The Galaxy S’s 5MP snapper does a fine job, with crisp daytime shots and decent handling in low-light situations, although there is some colour saturation and noise (there’s no flash, either). A second, front-facing camera will get props from the video-calling fraternity (whoever they are).

Video is sharp and vivid at 720p, but there is visible judder with fast movement. As you’d expect, playback is fantastic on the big screen, and the viewing angle is huge.

We got well over a day’s use from the handset from a single charge with fairly heavy usage. Expect it to go for the best part of two days in moderate use.

The Galaxy is an excellent addition to Android’s fast-growing, high-end smartphone crew. It lacks the build quality and slick HTC Sense interface of the HTC Desire, but in terms of performance and features it’s up there with the best, including its Apple doppelganger.

Stuff says... 

Samsung Galaxy S review

It’s not the most original design, but all sins are forgiven the moment you fire up that glorious screen