Interface:

Samsung's TouchWiz overlay of Android 2.1 on the GALAXY S is there mostly for the better. Android's notification bar at the top lets you toggle Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ringer and vibration on/off, and we caught ourselves constantly using it for that, instead of the usual options. The omnipresent dock at the screen bottom is populated with four icons. They are labeled Phone, Contacts, Messaging and Applications, and are docked wherever you navigate in the home or menu screens – done before, but helpful nonetheless. The Applications icon becomes Home when you enter the apps menu, and vice versa – it is the only icon on the dock you can't replace with shortcuts of your choosing in edit mode.

The Samsung GALAXY S I9000 offers up to seven home screens, which can be populated with widgets, launch icons and folders by tap and hold on an empty space. Unfortunately they don't act as a carousel, so you have to swipe six times to get from the first to the last home screen, or use the small dots up the screen for that. If you dive into the menus, or enter an application, and keep hitting the back key, you will be returned to the home screen you were at before entering. Pressing the physical home button, on the other hand, always takes you to the default first homescreen. 

You don't even have to type to perform a search from the home screen - Google Voice Search has come a long way. Just tap the mike icon and thanks to the powerful CPU, we were entering our home page a few seconds after we mumbled “PhoneArena” to the phone. Out of the other Android widgets, we can see some added value in the Power control (lets you switch on/off radios and adjust brightness) and Picture frame (populates home screens with pics of your choosing) widgets.

The selection of widgets that can be added to the home screens is similar to the one in the Samsung Wave. Samsung's widgets are for the most part helpful, though repetitive. The company decided to show us there are many ways to skin a cat - if you want to be always in touch with the weather (AccuWeather clock), the stock market (Y! Finance clock), another timezone (Dual clock), or your busy schedule (the Calendar clock). The more, the merrier, we would say, and leave it at that. 

Those can actually be combined into one widget called the Daily Briefing, which populates the current weather, stock quotes, AP breaking news, and your calendar events, on one home screen. Another fairly useful widget is Feeds and Updates - it satiates your thirst for social interaction on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace right from a home screen. We let the phone take us to the Samsung Apps store to download more widgets, but the choice was appalling for the total of two more. Nevertheless we obtained Robert Parker's wine guide for the sense of superiority it will bring come our usual gourmet dinners in assorted French restaurants.

The Samsung Galaxy S offers up to seven home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The Samsung Galaxy S offers up to seven home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The Samsung Galaxy S offers up to seven home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The Samsung Galaxy S offers up to seven home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The Samsung Galaxy S offers up to seven home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

The Samsung Galaxy S offers up to seven home screens


The selection of widgets can be added to the home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The selection of widgets can be added to the home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The selection of widgets can be added to the home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The selection of widgets can be added to the home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
The selection of widgets can be added to the home screens - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

The selection of widgets can be added to the home screens


We mentioned the Applications icon in the dock that turns to Home when in the applications menu panes - it actually brings up the main menu. It is designed again in pages, like the home screens. Someone obviously got the memo that people were bored with the stock infinite grid layout, and decided that swiping from one screen full of icons to another will bring more joy to the Android experience. We are seeing such arrangements more and more, the last time was in the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 mini. 

Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

In edit mode the application shortcuts can be rearranged in the current page, sent to different ones, or to the dock. The actual applications can also be completely disposed of by tapping on the minus sign in the upper right of their icons, instead of uninstalling from settings, neat. All said, navigating TouchWiz 3.0, as we find it in the Samsung GALAXY S I9000, is an incremental improvement over the stock Android experience, tailored well to the huge screen of the device.


Phonebook and Organizer:

Of the other customizations Samsung has made to the default Android interface, the most notable are in the Phonebook and Calendar. Entering the Phone screen defaults to your call log tab. There are also keypad, favorites, and contacts tabs to choose from at the top. Tap Contacts, and you are taken to the respective screen, where history of your communication activities can be accessed with tabs at the top as well - including all calls and messages exchange, as well as social network updates.

The Android 2.1 (Éclair) phonebook groups your phone, SIM and Google contacts in one searchable list. Samsung's own Social Hub idea adds the contacts from your social networks, and the corporate buddies to the mix for one very long phonebook. A variety of contacts' details is visible and editable on the huge screen at once. 

There are more niceties brought by Éclair – for example tapping on a contact's picture (or lack thereof) evokes a small strip called Quick Contacts. Lined on it are all the usual actions done to a contact – call, videocall, text, lookup details, email, even locate on Google Maps, and that works in every screen where contacts are used, as in the email client, for example.

Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

Phonebook - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Phonebook - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Phonebook - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Phonebook - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Phonebook - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

Phonebook


We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Samsung’s touted Social Hub, which basically pulls in all your SNS (Social Network Services), email and IM accounts, so you can create a message and shoot it out with whatever you choose. It is actually much more than that, it spreads throughout the interface. Contacts, for example, also show their Google Talk IM status with a colored dot against their names, similar to the UX user interface of the Sony Ericsson Xperia line. The Activities tab in the contacts screen shows an aggregate view of all your communications history, regardless of the source and means of that communication. These communication stories are visible also in the history tab of each contact, but are restricted to your interactions with this contact only. You can even enter the media tab from a single contact view, and it will show you the latest albums they have uploaded on Facebook, for example. That's how deep the Social Hub goes. There are good videos on Samsung's website explaining what it does in detail, so we won't dwell upon it here, it is Samsung's response to the likes of Timescape and Sense UI.

Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Social Hub - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

Social Hub


We did appreciate the simplicity of the Calendar, which is touted by Samsung as “integrated” (what else should a calendar be anyway), since it also aggregates events from your Facebook or corporate Outlook/Exchange schedules. Views are separated by day, week, or month (the default tab), or you can view a list of your recent and future appointments spanning a few of each on one screen. Reminders are set easy, and you can choose if the phone is to mark the event only on the handset, or sync it to the cloud with Google Calendar as well. Pushing events works quick, so adding that party to Google Calendar or Facebook saves it to the phone instantaneously as well.

Calendar - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Calendar - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Calendar - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Calendar - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

Calendar


The alarm function can be found under the Clock icon in the apps menu, and also includes World clock, stopwatch and timer for all those hard boiled eggs in the morning. It's neat you can control every aspect of its sounding, and even snooze duration and repetition. One of the phone's accessories is a dock, and it can be used as a regular alarm clock tucked in neatly on your nightstand. There is the so-called Smart Alarm, which rings up with soothing nature sounds before the main one. Night owls like us are certainly appreciative of any options to wake up in a prolonged and gentle manner.

Alarms on the Samsung Galaxy S I9000 - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review
Alarms on the Samsung Galaxy S I9000 - Samsung GALAXY S I9000 Review

Alarms on the Samsung Galaxy S I9000



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56 Comments

1. ace1122

Posts: 237; Member since: Mar 23, 2009

Looks like the iphone 3gs. Not cool samsung. You can come up with better designs than that. Like the wave. Now that phone is awesome looking. Simple yet sexy.

2. vensudy

Posts: 3; Member since: Jun 24, 2010

Dude, Iphone 3gs is not available to some people Samsung is available to all people, Samsung is cool :) we need to see what is the price of this phone since its coming in 110 countries, it should be affordable.

3. ace1122

Posts: 237; Member since: Mar 23, 2009

I have a hard time believing you can get this phone in places where you cannot get the iphone...

21. veesion

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 26, 2010

well actually...many Samsung's mobile are look like these..but all that models are not smartphone...hehehe...like back in the old days Samsung SGH-F700 well...iphone4 model looks like n96 and samsung's model

4. rtimi26

Posts: 42; Member since: Mar 16, 2009

I believe this is a biased review when compared to the iphone4. besides what happened to the breakdown of points I miss that.

5. four_zero40

Posts: 4; Member since: Jun 25, 2010

"Plastic look and feel" I'd rather have that than glass that can easily shatter (Iphone 4)

15. skybucks21

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 01, 2009

You're right. Apple boast the strength of the glass used in iphone but according to the testing made by customers, 2 drops is enough to shatter that pristine display. Again, not an iphone hater. Just a phonearena hater. By the way, I like the iphone4 'cause it has cool looks! Very cool!

6. chaosnightmare

Posts: 182; Member since: May 20, 2010

cheap review, this is te only site reporting lag problems for this phone, they don't even wrote properly about the superamoled screen (just like they did with iphone's retina one) and they are more worried about materials than ergonomics and weight, it's a phone not jewelery

16. skybucks21

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 01, 2009

You're absolutely right dude! They didn't even mention the superb performance of SUPER Amoled display outdoors. While most of us know that Apple exaggerated their claim that the pixel density of the screen is beyond what the human eye can see. This s proven by an expert. Again, not an iphone hater nor apple hater. JUST A BIASED REVIEW!

39. Jasiejase unregistered

Actually, I do experience some lag that was mentioned in the review. Seems to happen more when I use live wallpaper.. But still a great phone to have!

7. arash84v

Posts: 28; Member since: Nov 18, 2009

Does the Galaxy S use the 8GB Memory to install apps???? or does it have a 2GB ROM to install applications???

17. skybucks21

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 01, 2009

shut up!

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

from what i understand its 2gb for the install. of course, when apps2sd is involved, that doesnt matter :) and whats the 8.5 for anyways? the only really negative thing the review said was the lack of a flash on the camera. granted i think thats BS that it doesnt have it like 90% of higher end samsung phones, its still not the "norm". So you take 1.5 points from the review? Or is it you just didnt want the score too close to the iphone4??? and i agree, ill take plastic over "glass front and back" any day of the week. in the real world, the plastic will take more than 3 or 4 drops and not shatter :)

9. eokorie

Posts: 7; Member since: Sep 17, 2008

I have always been a follower of PhoneArena but this time i will be taking your reviews with a pinch of salt. With all the superior advantages that the i9000 has over the iPhone4, you still managed to give the i9000 an 8.5 and the iphone4 a 9.5. Well that truly is a biased opinion.

10. skybucks21

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 01, 2009

Bad Review! They didn't even mention that this monster phone is capable of SWYPE, a very useful function for texters. SUPER Amoled screen is way better than OVERRATED Retina Display of iphone4. This review is a total piece of crap and very biased. FUCK YOU PHONE ARENA! FUCK YOU!!!

11. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

LOL I agree but wow lol. Funny how its not snappy to them yet other reviews show if flying.. wonder how many apps they had open the thing uses a cortex processor with powervr and beats snappdragon in benchmarks yeah iphone arena dropped the ball again. I see their looking for a new editor hope they higher a more biased personn.

13. skybucks21

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 01, 2009

Lol! I like the "iphone arena" part. I agree to what you are trying to say. I really don't know if the one who reviewed this phone is blind or what. He can't even notice how fast this phone is. I am not an android fan or a n iphone hater. My point is just that they are not giving proper reviews. Personal Reference? CRAP! Look at gsmarena. They balance their review to pros and cons and they don't even rate a phone because one is always different from the other unlike this crap site which criticize other phones and put all the praise in the iconic iPHONE. Again, FUCK YOU PHONEARENA! FUCK YOU!

12. veesion

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 26, 2010

hauahuha... this is so biased......even..desire and legend score higher than galaxy s [9]...... these are all the things that missing pros: Good battery life... which samsung always known with super amoled uses 20% less power... the awesome graphic processor.... the swype technology... the awesome 1ghz processor.... Wireless tethering... only 9.9mm thin... front facing camera... VGA... which can be used for video calling.. over 3G which work in many country.. australia and in asia such indonesia... Text to speech.. super fast browser....Even faster than iPhone... the great camera quality... for picture and videos the great audio quality Bluetooth 3.0 its 6GB/16GB +microSD ....SO TONS of Storage.... and did they mention that iphone still cant share files through bluetooth...and cant use the 32/16GB as storage drive.... and cant turn off mobile network... Geez....... BAD REVIEW BAD REVIEW BAD REVIEW!!!!

18. gridlock

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

veesion, all the stuff you list is mentioned in the reviews as pros, what are you talking about?! super amoled is great, but there will be other phones coming with it, and no flash but the phone still costs over 600 bucks, wtf?!? if it was more like $450, like the wave, yeah, but probably samsung didn't want to steal the thunder from the wave, which makes one of the best indoor shots i've seen, (judging from the samples here)...because wave has their own bada os they prob decided to cripple the galaxy s? if this baby doesn't get a flash it will stay just one gorgeous big screen, and i will not be getting it...flash IS the norm in expensive smartphones today...you'll figure it out next time at a party when the guys take out their waves, iphones and sonys and you are stuck with this! but yeah, i agree 9.5 is too much for the iphone, although it's in a leagure of its own with the app store and all, and can only be compared to the previous iphone version for now\ :-)

20. veesion

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 26, 2010

well i dont know about pricing in US... but in rest of the world...nexus one, desire, galaxy s, xperia x10 are almost the same price....and if we're talking about iphone price...outside US...super expensive...galaxy s is US$570 ... apple iphone4 is US$1060...outside US (such Asia,Oceania,Europe) what do you think of that??? beside... dont compare Wave with Galaxy S......Wave is Bada...Galaxy S is Android... of course Android is better....and 3.2inch compare with 4inch display...thats a huge diff....Super Amoled with 4 inch until today announcement only on Galaxy s... the next one is on Beam 3.7...but beam is fat and i dont need the projector well for me...the review is bad...missing alot of things...its underated to give only 8.5 even HTC Legend scored 9.

24. gridlock

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

you forget that for the non-geeks bada or android is a non-issue, they want design and good picture taking - once you tasted a flash on your phone, you can't go back to something without just because it is android...design also matters for the masses, and the Legend is still one of the greatest designs out there - only iPhone beats it there now - so deserved the 9 for the time it was reviewed imho...

25. veesion

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 26, 2010

i've used phone with flash...such touch pro and n95...well dunno.. for me its no biggy...i would prefer with flash dont get me wrong... but i wont buy phone because it has flash...i look for features... well for non-geeks some people looking for games aswell... Android has more games compare to bada... and also non-geeks get into the hype..as Android more known and growing... in term of design...wave is great..but galaxy s is a beauty... i had Hero so i know Legend is awesome, but about iphone i dont agree..the form factor looks like n96... shinny front and back.. silver at sides...and sharp edges but what i meant when comparing it with Legend is.. the specs on legend.. and desire for me..galaxy s is better... hummingbird is more optimized compare to snapdragon, thou it lack of flash ..it has front facing camera for video call which in Australia and Asia we can use it over 3G....the super amoled + its 4inch.... its 9.9mm thin... and internal on-board memory is 8GB/16GB..which can be expand with microSD.... i mean these are some of the specs which better...but why the score is not even equal with the other high end Android devices

26. gridlock

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

dunno, iphone is truly expensive unlocked (more like $800 in a month), but it holds resell value really well, in an year you will still sell it for $500-$600, but used galaxy s will be more like $200 then, did you see the Epic 4G Sprint announced today? i guess they rate for the time the handset was introduced, now the competition is more heated than when the legend was introduced...the wave was actually the one deserving bigger score - aluminum body, flirst super amoled, great flash for parties, first hummingbird...too bad it has the young bada OS...but it's cheap to me, 9 should be given to truly extraordinary phones, like the first iphone, or the HD2 with the first huge screen, like those - 9.5 and 10 no phone deserves, and anything 7.5 and above you shouldn't worry about making a mistake when bying just my 2c

27. veesion

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 26, 2010

yea.. well the competition more Android vs Android...nowadays...Motorola,HTC have their lineups...and aswell as samsung..since they announced different shape of Galaxy S for verizon,at&t, and t-mobile, the S pro for sprint,....its hard to pick Android phones that suits u best..because each phone different with different features... i Agree with the HTC HD and iPhone2G... well still they cant compare Galaxy S with other phone since this is a stand-alone review only for Galaxy S....well they need to be more professional...thats all..

30. eewhiz

Posts: 7; Member since: Jun 01, 2010

The iPhone 3 did not have an LED flash while most older Nokia's did...Phone Arena did not penalize the iphone3 1.5 points for no flash?? Just because the iphone added a flash, now all phones are required or they get deducted?? what kind of reasoning is that?? Bottom line...you can't use the camera for low-level light situations. ANyways, most reviewers do not like the way the LED's cause blooming in the photos anyways. What about NO Adobe Flash support ever in an iPhone, that should deduct at least 1 or 1.5 points right there? Apple is going out of it's way to NOT support Adobe flash....

14. fsjon

Posts: 120; Member since: Sep 03, 2009

Who have they hired to write this review?? It's so hard to understand the write up, I have to double think what he was trying to say. Don't get me started with the video. During the hardware tour, I see more of the guy's face than the phone itself. Is this the first cell phone review he has ever done and trying to come up with new terms (SNS, social networking service?)? Take an english class before even think of publishing a review on what I thought is a respectable site. He really should have review a feature phone before diving into a smart phone review. I gave up reading the article after the 2nd page. PLEASE redo this review. This a very major phone from Samsung and deserved a senior editor/reviewer.

19. simpleleong

Posts: 14; Member since: Jun 08, 2010

100% agree with u fsjon! This phone needs to have a better review!

22. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Basically now that the iphone 4 is out, every touch screen phone that gets reviewed will have a much lower score. I love the fact that even tho the iphone 4 has horrible service problems with the left side of the phone, they can still give it a 9.5.

23. gridlock

Posts: 31; Member since: Jun 10, 2010

Whoa, Samsung just announced the Epic 4G - a Galaxy S with a keyboard AND an LED flash! now, if the basic 8GB EU version with NO flash they were reviewing was given 9.5, what should they give the Epic 4G then - 11?! I mean, just look at this beast for Sprint - Samsung Galaxy S with 4G, LED video light and flash, six axis sensor, keyboard and more - now this is more like 9.5 or 10 then any other phone out there. I'm getting it, even if I can't get advantage of sprint's network, it will still be worth every penny they ask for it. Thank u, Jeezuz! :))

28. rorokevin

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 01, 2010

What's the best choose. I'm keep thinking which cell is best for me. Iphone or Galaxy S. Hey guys, if you were I which cell, would you buy? (I was going to buy Iphone, but I'm chaging my mind)
Galaxy S
  • Display 4.0" 480 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 0.3 MP VGA front
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDHC
  • Battery 1500 mAh(6.55h 3G talk time)

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