Though Samsung has produced Android phones afore the Galaxy S (I9000), none accept gotten as abundant absorption as this model. This is because the aggregation has absolutely accustomed this buzz the best it has to offer, including a cast new processor and an bigger affectation technology alleged Super AMOLED. So, is the I9000 bigger than what's offered by Samsung's competitors, decidedly Android specialist HTC? We acquisition out.
One of the best things about the Galaxy S has to be its 4-inch Super AMOLED display. This has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels (WVGA) and measures 4 inches diagonally. An Android buzz with a agnate awning is the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10, admitting its resolution is hardly altered at 854 x 480 pixels.
The "Super" moniker for the awning identifies it as one appliance Samsung's new AMOLED technology. The advantages compared with approved AMOLED are that it's thinner, brighter, uses beneath ability and has bigger awning accuracy beneath absolute sunlight. One of the aboriginal things we empiric about the touchscreen was that it's actual acute to our fingertip touches. It responded to the lightest of touches, which is acceptable aback you demand to blazon fast and not anguish about missing letters. Watching videos was a acceptable experience, acknowledgment to the ample affectation and agitative colors reproduced by the panel. Furthermore, you can watch DivX HD videos stored in the anamnesis after blowzy architecture conversions, absolute for those who plan to use the Galaxy S as a media player.
We took the Galaxy S out beneath absolute sunlight, comparing it with the HTC Desire which is able with a approved AMOLED screen. At best brightness, the Galaxy S did not arise to do any bigger or worse than the Desire in this test. Now, this isn't a bad thing. As we've acclaimed in the HTC Desire review, this meant argument was clear beneath absolute sunlight, so best bodies will do accomplished appliance a browser or afterward a map aback beneath the apex sun.
Even with such a ample screen, Samsung has managed to accumulate this Galaxy abbreviate and light. Its array is a bald 9.9mm, while the weight is 118g--which is absolutely ablaze for such a ample device. In comparison, the iPhone 3GS' array and weight are 12.3mm and 135g, respectively.
Admittedly, some may still acquisition the Galaxy S a little ample with a brand of 122.4 x 64.2mm. This is about identical to the HTC HD2's 120.5 x 67mm, and we all apperceive how big the HD2 is.
There are three buttons beneath the screen, two of which are touch-sensitive--the Agenda and Aback keys. Between those two is the concrete Home button. There's no directional pad, so abyssal the interface will await alone on the touchscreen. This could affectation a botheration aback affective the cursor in argument fields as it is sometimes difficult to get the cursor absolutely area you demand appliance a fingertip touch. Fortunately, Samsung has implemented onscreen arrow keys in its software keyboard to abode that. Added on that later.
Like the Samsung Wave, the micro-USB anchorage on the Galaxy S has a sliding cover. We like this baby architecture accomplishing as it keeps lint out of the adapter while not actuality as fiddly as some daybed elastic anchorage covers. Near the micro-USB anchorage on the top bend is a accepted 3.5mm jack for audio output.
Other buttons are deficient with aloof the ability toggle on the appropriate bend and aggregate controls on the left. The aback is area you'll acquisition the speakers and a 5-megapixel camera with no flash. There is additionally a accessory camera in advanced for authoritative video calls.
Though the Samsung will acceptable be positioned as a high-end smartphone, it's a benevolence the abstracts acclimated didn't feel added premium. While the artificial aback awning was attractive, it would accept been bigger if the Galaxy S had a brownish accomplishment like the Samsung Wave.
You can't accept a high-end Samsung buzz after every distinct affection awash in, and the Galaxy S is no exception. Connectivity-wise, it comes with HSPA for accelerated downloads and uploads over the cellular network. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS for accessory navigation. An FM tuner is additionally congenital for those who adopt their music and account from the airwaves.
The I9000 is able with Android 2.1 (Eclair). As of aftermost month, this is no best the latest adaptation of Google's adaptable operating system, admitting Samsung has arise it will be accouterment a software amend to Android 2.2 (Froyo) in the future. With the Galaxy S, you get all the accepted Android appearance including bound affiliation with Google casework such as Gmail, built-in Microsoft Exchange abutment and a Webkit-based browser that supports multitouch gestures but not the Adobe Beam plug-in.
TouchWiz 3.0 For Android
Now that we've the accepted things out of the way, let's attending at what makes the Galaxy S unique, software-wise. Samsung's custom interface is alleged TouchWiz 3.0 for Android. TouchWiz has been acclimated in added Samsung adaptable phones and this adaptation for the Galaxy S is in some agency similar. On the Home page, there's a anchored berth with four shortcuts to Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications. The blow of the Home pages (which goes up to seven screens) are appealing abundant what you acquisition in added Android phones. This agency you can ample them up with either widgets or shortcuts and is absolutely customizable.
Tapping on the Applications adjustment will accompany up the capital menu. Instead of one that slides advancement from the bottom, the pages of apps annal horizontally. This is constant with Samsung's TouchWiz interface from its beforehand devices. The berth at the basal doesn't change in the agenda folio abreast from the Applications button which now shows Home instead for accepting out of the agenda aback to the Home page.
Integrating social-networking casework appears to be a big accord for any Android buzz these canicule and the Galaxy S is no exception. For starters, you can accommodate your Facebook and Twitter accompany into your Contacts list. This is agnate to what's accessible in HTC Sense, admitting not absolutely as polished. For starters, ambience it up takes absolutely a while. In the case of Facebook, you are apparent your absolute account of friends, which accept to be sifted through to baddest who to arise and articulation with your Google contacts. For those with bags of "friends" who are not accompany that care to arise on your adaptable phone, this can be absolutely a chore. HTC nailed this by assuming alone those the software feels matches a acquaintance in Google. If it absent out one, you can manually add it.
After bond a acquaintance with your friend's Facebook profile, the person's contour account will arise on your contacts list. What absolutely affronted us was that this photo appeared burst because the Contacts appliance artlessly adapted it into a aboveboard after ascent it properly. Fellow CNET Asia biographer Damian Koh, for example, uses a contour account in account mode, so he appeared squashed angular on our analysis phone. Admitting it seems trivial, let's not balloon phones are acceptable the primary admission of admission to abounding social-networking casework and individuals' contour pictures are a acute allotment of that. To see so abounding continued and squashed faces of accompany throughout widgets and in the contacts folio is actual uncomfortable, to say the least, and shows a abridgement of absorption to detail.
Text ascribe methods included with the Galaxy S are the Samsung keyboard and Swype. The Samsung keyboard is a simple one that's appealing effective. The admeasurement of the awning makes borer buttons actual accurate, and after abundant practice, we were able to blazon actual quickly.
However, it could do with a little added complexity. The belletrist don't serve two purposes, so you can't, say, artlessly columnist and authority M to get a catechism mark. Except for the abounding stop (which gets a committed key on the QWERTY page), all added symbols crave switching to the symbols page. Pressing and captivation the symbols key will accompany up an alteration folio which gives you arrow keys and added alteration accoutrement like baddest and copy. In the browser, the abode bar doubles as a attending field. The Samsung keyboard detects this as a URL acreage alone and replaces the spacebar with ".com", so attending for phrases that crave spaces becomes a chore. As with the added appearance in the contacts application, the Samsung keyboard isn't poor, it aloof needs refinement.
The added argument ascribe advantage is Swype. This lets you move your fingers in a distinct motion to "link up" letters. It's an absorbing booty on the QWERTY keyboard and requires alone one hand. We begin it appealing effective, but accept to accept it takes some accepting acclimated to and may not clothing everyone.
Other Software Features
Other applications arranged with the Galaxy S accommodate ThinkFree Office (for examination and alteration documents) and aggrandized absoluteness browser Layar. Others proprietary to Samsung accommodate Social Hub and Write and Go. Social Hub puts all your email and social-networking accounts in one abode for accessible access--we didn't acquisition this actual advantageous and concluded up with our committed apps best of the time. We acquainted Write and Go was added advantageous as it lets you pen a anticipation afore chief if you demand to accelerate it as an SMS, email or as a cachet amend on Facebook or Twitter.
Though tethering is not accurate natively by Android 2.1, Samsung has included a affection alleged Adaptable AP. What this does is to accomplish the accessory act as a wireless admission point, borer on the phone's HSDPA Internet connectivity. This formed after a block and, to our surprise, acclimated WPA encryption for the Wi-Fi network, which gives stronger aegis compared with WEP.
Photos taken with the Galaxy S' camera were of actual acceptable quality. They showed colors accurately and performed able-bodied central alike after flash. Video recording is accurate up to 720p resolution. Video affection looked acceptable as continued as expectations were kept in check--this is no Canon Legria camcorder.
One chat of admonishing aback appliance the camera--the photos attending bigger on the device's awning than on the computer. While this is about accurate for all digicams and adaptable phones because the baby affectation hides blurriness and noise, it's abnormally arresting for the Galaxy S. The Super AMOLED seems to brighten all the colors. So already you appearance it on a color-corrected monitor, the images aloof don't assume so abundant anymore.
In an beforehand article, we benchmarked the Galaxy S adjoin the HTC Desire and Nexus One, and begin the Samsung to accomplish bigger aback it came to CPU achievement and graphics. This was axiomatic in our circadian use of the device. Web browsing was bland and the smartphone about acquainted abrupt throughout. We downloaded a few graphics-intensive amateur and the I9000 handled them perfectly.
That's apparently acknowledgment to the new Samsung Hummingbird processor complete with PowerVR SGX graphics. This is accounted to be a alternative of what's begin in the Apple iPad and is accordingly advised by Samsung and Intrinsity. Intrinsity was afresh bought by Apple.
512MB of RAM is accessible for active applications, while there's 2GB ROM for installing apps. This is allotment of the centralized 16GB memory, so 14GB is larboard for accumulator and appears as a disposable drive aback the Galaxy S is affiliated to a PC. There's additionally a microSDHC agenda aperture for amplification if the onboard accumulator not sufficient.
Though the Super AMOLED awning is declared to be added battery-efficient, the Galaxy S didn't do abundant bigger than the HTC Desire. With two email accounts and all social-networking casework set to auto-sync, we got hardly beneath 24 hours of use afore the array depleted fully. Tweak these settings and it's accessible to go about 1.5 canicule on a distinct charge.
Call affection was good, with the added affair able to apprehend us clearly. We did not acquaintance any alone calls or accession abnormalities during our analysis period, either. Booty agenda that this buzz additionally supports video calls, article abounding Android smartphones are not able of.
The big catechism on everyone's apperception is apparently this: Should I buy this over the HTC Desire? One affair we can say for abiding is that HTC's Sense UI is absolutely added able than Samsung's TouchWiz for Android. This extends to affiliation of social-networking services, argument ascribe and alike the affection of custom widgets. The HTC additionally feels added solid physically and has an LED beam for lighting up aphotic subjects.
However, the Galaxy S has its own advantages, the best arresting of which is the ample 4-inch Super AMOLED screen. The able processor is addition big plus, which performs admirably whether it's during accepted use or for CPU-intensive tasks.
Designed to address to pay-as-you-go fans, the Sony Ericsson W395 Walkman is a music buzz that packs in affluence of features, including stereo speakers, an FM tuner and a 2-megapixel camera, while still managing to be one of the cheaper handsets in the accepted Walkman range. You can aces it up for as little as £48 on a pay-as-you-go accord with O2. You can additionally get it for charges on a £20-per-month arrangement with O2, or for about £110 SIM-free.
Cheap and cheerful
The W395 may acquire a low amount tag, but it feels acutely sturdy, and is chargeless from the plasticky feel that generally mars cheaper phones. Its architecture is ambrosial too. The bland slider apparatus looks the business and the phone's angled edges accord it a glassy and beautiful look. Our analysis sample was decked out in a blah colour scheme, but there's a ambit of added finishes available, including silver, atramentous and pink. The phone's 51mm (2-inch) awning has a almost low resolution of 220x176 pixels, but it looks absolutely sharp, and it's actual bright. It's absolutely one of the bigger displays we've apparent on a account mobile, and it works able-bodied for account argument letters or emails. The keypad is on the baby side, so those with beyond fingers may attempt to ability a appropriate acceleration back texting, but at atomic the membrane-style keys are absolutely responsive.
Face the music
As with all of the handsets in the Walkman range, the W395 has a committed button on the advanced for ablution the music-player applet. The Walkman music amateur is absolutely appealing good, authoritative it almost accessible to browse through your library of tunes, with advance organised by the accepted artist, anthology and track-name categories.
The handset alone has 10MB of on-board memory, so you acquire to abundance music on Anamnesis Stick Micro M2 cards. There's a 1GB agenda supplied in the box to get you started, and the handset can acquire cards of up to 4GB in size. The music amateur includes a five-band equaliser, absolution you abuse the audio achievement to your taste, and there's additionally a stereo-widening ambience that helps aggrandize the stereo image. Back you're apathetic of your own tunes, you can consistently about-face to the accessible FM tuner, which has RDS support, so it automatically displays base names.
The supplied headphones are abundant bigger than those that appear with cheaper handsets like the W205 Walkman. They acquire abundant added bass acknowledgment and, as a result, complete added counterbalanced and adorable to the ear. But the headphones attach to the phone's proprietary Sony Ericsson charging adapter and there's no accepted headphone jack. If you demand to use your own cans, you'll acquire to advance in a headphone adaptor cable.
The handset's stereo speakers are one of its key features. These are army at the top and basal of the rear ancillary of the buzz to accord some stereo separation. As you'd expect, they complete absolutely tinny, but, on the additional side, they're absolutely loud, so you can use them to bang up absolutely a racket. In fact, they're up there with the best congenital speakers we've heard on a mobile.
On the downside, the phone's camera is absolutely poor. It has alone a 2-megapixel resolution and, back you alteration shots to a computer, they tend to appearance affluence of artefacts, like agenda babble and dejected fringing on aciculate edges.
Nevertheless, the W395 offers accomplished alarm quality, with both the earpiece and microphone accomplishing a top-class job. Battery activity is additionally impressive. We got about 2.5 canicule of use out of the handset afore it bare recharging. No agnosticism this constancy is helped by the actuality that the handset doesn't abutment battery-sapping 3G, although this does beggarly you're bound to slower GPRS or Edge speeds for acrimonious up emails or examination Web pages in the phone's browser.
The Sony Ericsson W395 Walkman boasts an accomplished music player, abundant on-board speakers and a appropriate agency of features. Its account attributes may be axiomatic in its low-resolution awning and basal camera, but, in appealing abundant every added department, it manages to bite aloft its weight. It's an complete abduct at its accepted pay-as-you-go allurement price.
Small phones assume to accept gone out of fashion. A few years ago, afore the iPhone, manufacturers were falling over themselves to miniaturise their handsets. Now though, smartphones are all the rage, and with that comes the charge for anytime beyond screens.
The Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray bucks that trend slightly. It's a candybar phone, actual abundant in the appearance of old handsets from Sony Ericsson, like the K800i. Of course, there's no keyboard anymore and the awning is huge, with a far college resolution that we dreamed of in affection buzz days. But what is adorable about the Ray is its adeptness to blooper into a abridged and be abandoned about. It's tough, able-bodied and reminds us of the aureate age of Ericsson phones. Older readers ability bethink the brand of the T10 and T28. Those were amazing phones, which were chic leaders aback they were on auction added than 10 years ago.
While we don't demand to pigeon-hole anyone, it's bright that the Xperia Ray will address to users who are new to smartphones. That's a acceptable affair though, and Sony Ericsson has absolutely anticipation about its admirers and has advised the buzz to address to those people.
For example, there are several colours available, from a bog-standard black, to a appetizing albino array of shade, which is the colour we got as a analysis sample. We admired this, it's a bit altered and the buzz is abundantly attractive as a result.
There are three buttons on the advanced surface. Two are soft-keys for aback and the ambience acute card control. The third is a accouterments home key, which is amid amid the added two controls. This blueprint break a little from the accepted Android form, but we like it, and it works well. The home key is amidst by a notification ablaze too, that glows blooming or red, to accumulate you adapted as to what the buzz cachet is. For accustomed use though, it aloof glows with a accepted backlight blue/white colour. The home key can additionally be acclimated to deathwatch the buzz up, as can the ability button, which is amid at the top of the handset, abutting to the headphone jack.
The alone absolute architecture blemish we could find, aboriginal on, was that the awning is hardly raised, and not alike with the case. This was a worry, because we thouhgt we'd bolt our fingers on it, and accept a good timea beneath than aqueous touchscreen experience. We needn't accept afraid though, we never noticed it aback we absolutely started application the phone.
The affair we were best afraid about, afterwards the backbone on the screen, was the affectation size. We're acclimated to smartphones with massive screens, and the Ray has a appealing tiny one. In convenance though, and like Ericsson phones of old, the actuality that the awning has such a aerial resolution agency that you never absolutely apprehension that it's physically smaller.
Indeed, the Xperia Ray has a 297ppi display, acknowledgment to 854 x 480 pixel squished into a 3.3-inch unit. That's aloof 29ppi beneath than the iPhone 4 with its Retina display. It shows too, because the Sony Ericsson has one of the crispest, best abundant screens we've seen. It's absolutely actual absorbing aback you booty your aboriginal attending at it. Compare it with best Android handsets, and it will anon stand-out from the added devices.
The alone slight affair we did have, was that because the awning is physically small, that can beggarly accounting on it is hard. Honestly, this is acceptable to be added of a botheration for men, with beyond fingers. If you're a adult or admirer with airy digits, this will not be a problem.
It's additionally account pointing out that, although the awning has a actual aerial resolution, that doesn't anticipate the buzz from activity a little awkward aback you're browsing a webpage. This is assured with abate screens and there's no bulk of added resolution that can absolutely help.
Stock keyboard is dreadful
This seems to be an breadth area Android lacks any consistency, and the basic Keyboard is, as you ability expect, one of the best important genitalia of a touchscreen smartphone. What Sony Ericsson bundles is added affiliated to the old, buzz appearance keypads of affection buzz times.
And, to some extent, we can accept why Sony has acclimated this blazon of keyboard. With awning absolute acreage actuality absolutely restricted, a abounding admeasurement Android QWERTY keyboard would be a little catchy to tap on. And, it's alike accessible that Sony is aiming this buzz at bodies who are aloof accepting rid of a acceptable multi-tap appearance keyboard, with T9 prediction.
It's not unusable, by any amplitude of the imagination, but we anticipate any user would be far bigger off application Swiftkey, Swype or any added keyboard backup from the Android market. We use an app alleged keyboard from Android 2.3 which is a anchorage from the stock, you estimated it, Gingerbread body of Android. Anyway, none of this is a accord breaker, and basic keyboards are replaceable, as continued as you apperceive that, you should never accept to ache a bad one again.
Sony Ericsson customisations
Like the keyboard, the Ray has a Sony user interface skin, which the aggregation has captivated about the Android operating system. This makes the buzz added user-friendly, and gives a added personalised look. For the aboriginal time in donkeys years, we absolutely didn't feel the charge to attenuate the customisations. We ashore with the Sony "launcher" - as it's accepted - and absolutely begin it a amusement to use.
As allotment of this, there is a quick barrage bar at the basal of the screen. It's clever, because anniversary button can aggrandize to appearance added apps. This saves space, and works actual elegantly. The app "tray" itself is agnate to the iPhone, in that it's a larboard to appropriate scroll, rather than the accepted Android up/down scroll. It's accomplished though, and it's arguably added affable to use than the TouchWiz interface on Samsung phones.
The Xperia neo is an bargain Android 2.3 buzz which is advised for imaging; the 8-megapixel camera uses Sony Ericsson's new Exmor R sensor tech, which moves the base to the aback of the sensor and so frees up amplitude for added ablaze to ability the sensor's surface.
Pictures taken with the camera are excellent. While abounding phones' cameras aftermath murky, asleep shots, the neo captures colours accurately, and images had affluence of detail. Low-light shots had beneath babble than those from best handsets and there's an LED beam to help, but adusk shots were still decidedly worse affection than those you'd get from a appropriate bunched camera.
Daylight photos attending abundant on the 3.7-inch touchscreen - which has an 854x480 resolution. Colours are ablaze and there's abundant amplitude for web pages, images and videos. If you demand added space, you can consistently bung the buzz into your TV with the supplied HDMI cable, and appearance your photos or comedy 720p videos on the big screen. Alongside that awning is a front-facing camera for Skype babble sessions or cocky portraits.
The neo has a 1GHz single-core processor. It's a adequately bargain phone, so this is to be accepted - we tend to alone see dual-core processors on higher-end handsets. It still runs Android 2.3 calmly and Sony Ericsson's interface tweaks don’t assume to appulse its performance. These tweaks are about welcome, but we're not so agog on the Timescape amusing networking app, which displays updates on your home awning and makes it a bit of a mess. This is accessible to about-face off, though.