Samsung Galaxy S 4G Review
Samsung has taken a lot of heat for their slow software upgrades (Sprint’s EVO 4G received a FroYo update about a month after launch, the Epic finally received it this week, nearly six months later) and there has been a lot of controversy about the Galaxy S FroYo update, but thankfully the Galaxy S 4G comes with Android 2.2 out of the box. This gives it some native features previously lacking in Galaxy S phones, such as Bluetooth dialing, Adobe Flash support and the ability to move apps to the microSD card.
Samsung still utilizes its TouchWiz UI on top of the Android software. By and large it is the same that we’ve seen in the past, but there are a few tweaks here and there. For starters, the lock screen has been redone and now you have to drag the entire screen to the side, something that is not accomplished in a flick. The old sliding lock wasn’t the greatest but the new one is downright annoying and requires attention to unlock the phone. We much prefer the ASOP sliders or Sense’s downward bar because they can be flicked easily and serve their purpose without getting in the way. Like Sense you can now pinch the home screen to view all seven panels at once and quickly jump between them. The phonebook has been improved both visually and functionally. The nicest feature is that you can swipe right on a contact to call or left to message them directly from the contact list. The Daily Briefing, Accuweather Clock and Calendar Clock widgets have all been done away with. We felt that there were some redundancies before, but Daily Briefing is arguably the most useful Samsung widget so it’s odd to see it gone.
All of the standard messaging options are available out of the box. Gmail is of course the most tightly integrated email service, but an email client allows the user to configure other POP and IMAP accounts and of course the Market has apps available as well. Swype is the default keyboard on the Galaxy S 4G, but Samsung’s keyboard is also preloaded on the device.
Responsiveness is still lightning quick, thanks to the 1GHz Hummingbird processor. We had no issues navigating through the entire interface, switching in and out of apps and watching multimedia. The Galaxy S 4G never stuttered or choked up. There isn’t a whole lot of memory available- out of the box you only have 218MB internally to work with- but thanks to Android 2.2 you can move most apps to your SD card and free up space. There are tons of preinstalled apps on the Galaxy S 4G (28, by our count.) The number of apps is staggering, but many of them are actually quite nice to have such as DoubleTwist Air Sync (normally $5,) ThinkFree Office full (normally $15,) Visual Voicemail and a month free to GoGo in-flight Wi-Fi service. Others, like Layer, Kindle and Slacker are nice to have, but they’re uninstallable and free in the Market. Allowing users to download them on their own, or even having a virtual preload like RIM does, would help to save internal memory.
The Facebook app comes preloaded on the Galaxy S 4G but not Twitter, which is an easy and free download from the Market. The Samsung Feeds and Update widget doesn’t tap into these apps, so you can sign into them (as well as MySpace) in the widget without actually using the apps to get one feed for all three services.
Camera and Multimedia:
Everything remains the same as in the Vibrant in these departments, with the exception of the front-facing camera. The rear shooter is 5MP and capable of shooting 720p video. As with all of the Galaxy S phones images were great and videos were very nice. It may not have the megapixels as other devices on the market, but the camera and lens used on the Galaxy S 4G is still first class. Unfortunately it still does not have a flash, though cell phone flashes are still of limited usability for the most part. The VGA front facing camera works on video chat applications, such as the preloaded Qik and our favorite, Tango. Cellular video chat is still in its infancy, but the Galaxy S 4G is on par with the rest of the industry right now.
Samsung Galaxy S 4G Sample Video:
Of course the main difference between the Samsung Vibrant and Galaxy S 4G is the addition of the 4G radio. Though this is the third 4G phone on T-Mobile, the Galaxy S 4G is the first to offer 21+ Mbps download speeds via T-Mobile’s HSDPA+ network. The phone is capable of HSUPA speeds of 5.76 Mbps but in our testing we only got around half a meg, which is the same as we found with our 4G comparison test. At right around 3Mbps download speeds were considerably slower than the 7+ we achieved with our USB stick in the comparison, but still faster than 3G. We wouldn’t exactly say it is 4G speeds, but given that we’re working with a handset here and not a laptop the speeds were plenty quick for loading web pages, downloading apps and streaming music. If you’re looking to tether you might be a bit disappointed though.
Outside of the 4G radio the Galaxy S 4G keeps the same connectivity features as the Vibrant. It is a quad-band GSM and dual-band UMTS (1700/2100 MHz) handset that can make calls around the world but only has 3G connectivity T-Mobile's network. In addition, it packs 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi for local internet connection and Bluetooth 3.0 to pair up with various devices for wireless transfers.
1. rrb710 (unregistered) posted on 21 May 2011, 12:49 0 0
Have it-pretty good phone. Wish it had MHL support, though.
2. 4G phone (unregistered) posted on 06 Jul 2011, 02:50 0 0
look very cool ,Multi-function Phones is just what I need .
3. kvndr (unregistered) posted on 05 Aug 2011, 02:16 0 0
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4. Ivica (unregistered) posted on 06 Sep 2011, 05:07 0 0
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5. Just want a good phone for th (unregistered) posted on 12 Sep 2011, 22:08 0 0
Ive got the phone but ive been having problems with it freezing, and the screen going blank ive got to take battery out, dont have much service with it either, I was told I would but dont.
6. gain1998 posted on 22 Sep 2011, 16:05 0 0
This phone seems to be a very good phone. I don't have it, but I have friends who own the phone and I have toyed around with it, and I must say it's a nice step up from the Vibrant. The only issues I can see with the phone are the bloatware and the fact that the phone has no flash, of course with the Galaxy S II coming out there are going to be some major step-ups from insignificant issues such as these. Samsung may not be HTC what with the user interface and the features and whatnot, but Samsung makes damned good phones and I'll be darned if anyone tries to bad talk their technology.