Initial Samsung Galaxy S 4G Review

I finally decided that my 2+ year old G1 phone needed to be replaced. I loved that phone. It was simple usability wise and after the kinks were worked out of Android, it was very reliable. But as newer and more powerful apps came along, I spent too much time deciding which apps I want vs. ones I REALLY want as the internal app space wasn’t big enough.

I went to the T-Mobile store with 2 phones in mind; the G2 or the Motorola Cliq. I thought I needed a physical keyboard since my accuracy using the G1’s virtual keyboard was abysmal. I really didn’t like either the G2 or the Cliq’s physical keyboards.

So I played around with the Samsung Galaxy S 4G for a little bit. I had no trouble at all with the virtual keyboard. I guess the processing speed and the screen’s sensitivity made a real difference.

I dismissed the Cliq pretty quickly given that I didn’t like the keyboard at all and I didn’t like the way it flipped open either.

It came down to the Galaxy S vs. the G2. The G2 was $50 more and had a slightly smaller screen. So I decided on the Galaxy S.

I think I’m still in the happy stage of the purchase and buyer’s remorse hasn’t had a chance to creep in yet… So here is my initial review.

Pros:

  • It’s incredibly fast. Not just the 4G speed, but fast in loading webpages, apps, etc. The sales guy said that 4G vs. 3G isn’t very noticeable, but I’d notice the processing speed. That much is very true.
  • It’s crisp and clear.
  • It has Android 2.2–which I think all other “pros” can be attributed to.
  • The keyboard is responsive and accurate.

Cons:

  • No LED indicator light!! Had I known this before, this little detail might have been a deal-breaker. So I have to actively check the phone to see if I have new texts, e-mails, etc. whereas almost all other phones have a blinking LED light as an indicator.
  • To wake the phone up, you need to do 2 separate actions. First, hit the power button, then swipe the screen. I much preferred the G1 where you simply hit the menu button twice. I like to judge the usability on how easy it is to use and navigate the phone one handed. This complicates that a little. It can be done one handed, but awkwardly. Also the power button is on the side, so if you have the phone on a desk, it’s a little awkward to hit the button on the side, then swipe the screen (whereas the G1’s menu button was on the face of the phone for an easy 2x tap if it was on a desk). I remember I bought Keyguard Disabler a while back, so I had to go and install it on this phone.
  • You have to swipe the screen to answer a call. I much prefer a physical button.
  • It’s loaded with a ton of bloatware that can’t be uninstalled. I HATE this. Let me get rid of stuff I don’t want!!! To make it worse, these apps can’t be moved to the SD card (feature of Android 2.2).  And to make it even worse, they run in the background and pop back up even after killing them. Needless to say I’m looking in forums to see if anyone had any luck removing them (without any crazy hacking).
  • I don’t know if this is a feature of the phone or Android, but the auto-brightness feature was utterly useless and highly annoying. I had to shut that off. I don’t know what triggers it uses to brighten or dim, and I don’t think the programming did either. It was all very random.

By the looks of it, there seem to be a lot more cons than pros. But the speed, amount of space (internal and SD card), and Android 2.2 are keeping me happy at the moment. I haven’t been able to test other things out fully. I know the camera doesn’t have a flash, but I knew that I don’t really care. If I want to take better pics, I use a real camera.

More to come…

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