Samsung Galaxy S i9000 Review

The Samsung Galaxy S is among the most anticipated Android phones to date. So after using the handset for over a week, I’m handing down my verdict. Check out the full review of the Samsung Galaxy S GT-i9000 after the jump.

At first sight, the Samsung Galaxy S would not really catch a lot of attention except for that large 4-inch display. The dark, glossy body makes it look plain and simple.

The handset actually reminds me of the iPod Touch due to those curved edges and the silver lining on the front panel. However, the back side offers a little more design touches with a polished honeycomb print on a flat surface with a bit of stubby bottom end. That little protrusion allows for better grip especially that the handset is very slim.

Aside from the Samsung logo, the back cover has a large “with Google” print. The 5-megapixel camera is situated on the top end with the speakers beside it.

The power button is on the upper right side, the volume rocker is on the left side while the 3.5mm audio jack is found on top along with the micro-USB port hidden by a sliding cover.

The large 4-inch screen looks great with that Super AMOLED display — it’s bright, crisp and offers better image clarity compared to other displays I’ve tried and used in the past (I did a quick comparison between Retina Display, AMOLED and Super AMOLED here).

At full brightness, the difference is huge compared to regular LED displays. Couple that with a smooth multi-touch feature and tasks like internet browsing, navigating in Google maps as well as viewing photos are all a nice experience.

The navigation controls are few and simple which are found at the bottom end of the front panel — a curved, rectangular Home button at the center and 2 touch panels on each side for Back and Menu (similar to the XPeria X10 in orientation only without the physical buttons ). The touch panels are very close to the edge of the handset so it tends to be accidentally activated once in a while.

The Samsung Galaxy S provides a different and customized TouchWiz 3.0 UI that’s layered on top of the Android 2.1 OS. Some of the more noticeable UI implementations include:

  • A total of 7 Home screen panels (5 from Android 2.1 + 2 more from TouchWiz UI).
  • The Home screen scrolls from the 1st panel to the 7th starting at the far left to right, unlike the default ‘centered’ position in other UIs.
  • There’s no sliding window for the app launcher. Instead, there’s a fixed/dedicated icon (represented by 4 concentric smaller squares) on the bottom right corner of the screen.
  • While most other app launcher scrolls from top to bottom, it’s left to right in the TouchWiz 3.0 UI.

Of course, you also get that obligatory Live Wallpaper for some added eyecandy. See the short video below showing how the TouchWiz 3.0 UI works.

The handset is powered by an ARM Cortex A8 1.0GHz processor and as such, the unit performs really well. Applications are very snappy and there are no significant lags or wait time even when running multiple functions or apps. I’ll be doing a separate post to compare benchmarks between this system and the SnapDragon of Qualcomm in other smartphones.

The one other feature that I think the Galaxy S excelled very well is in the camera feature. It’s only rated 5MP but capture quality is very impressive. The lens does auto-focus on its own but you can also manually focus it by touching the subject in the view screen.

Captured images are sharp, clean and well saturated. It can do ISO 50 and reach a shutter speed of up to 1/383 secs based on sample shots I took. Even night shots and in low-light environments, the photo quality is still very good. It’s also great that the minimum focusing distance is just 3 or 4 inches away so you can do macro shots. See more of my sample shots in the gallery here.

Likewise, the camera can take hi-def videos up to 720p at 30 frames per second and actively re-focuses as objects move along the view. See sample footages below and watch them in full screen to appreciate the HD quality.

Images and videos default in the 4:3 aspect ratio but you can switch to the wide screen 16:9 aspect ratio in the settings (so some of the photos here were cropped).

The solitary audio speakers are the back might seem small but it does a pretty good job with good volume range and decent mix of treble and bass. As expected, the sound is reduced by around 50% when you put it down in a flat surface on its back while playing music or video.

The review unit I used also has a 16GB internal storage so I didn’t need an extra microSD card to save all the photos and videos (you can bump the storage to 48GB if you add an external 32GB microSD though).

As an added bonus, Samsung included their own App Store on top of the Android Market. While there are very few apps in there, it’s nice to know we can expect Samsung handset-specific apps in the future (for example, the Road SMS app was a huge hit that it got hundreds of links from big sites including The Daily and Engadget).

Battery life varies and really depends on usage patterns. It’s able to last more than a day (or closer to 2 days) on a full single charge but easily drains when you use 3G/WiFi and the camera a lot. It’s not an uncommon battery performance among Android smartphones these days.

It’s pretty hard to ignore all the features the Samsung Galaxy S and not admit that it will undoubtedly be a huge favorite among Android fans. It may lack the necessary eye-candy in the design department with a plain and simple built but what it lacks in form, it makes it up in function.

The large Super AMOLED display, the lean and mean form factor, the raw processing power and superb camera are top of mind when considering this unit. And with a price point that rivals all other Android smartphones in its category, the Samsung Galaxy S i9000 hits that nice sweet spot. It certainly is the among the Android phones to beat this year.

Disclosure: The Samsung Galaxy S was provided to me for free by Globe Telecom. They are also a year-long sponsor of our YugaTech Giveaways so allow me to plug them a little bit — you can get the Samsung Galaxy S with Globe for free under Plan 2499 until July 31. After that, it’s free on Plan 3799.

182 Comments on this Post

  1. Cliff Rosario

    I’ve been checking the world wide web for Benchmarks for Samsung Galaxy S and almost every site declared it as a crowd favorite..

    I like AT&T’s version of Galaxy S.. the Samsung Captivate, it’s a bit more eye candy than the original version..

    I was taken aback though when I came across a site about rumored HTC Sabor and Ace..whoa.. amazing specs.. Not so sure if I’d like to wait for them or jump on the Galaxy S bandwagon..

  2. Cliff Rosario

    @ Paul: Yeah.. Froyo could be a threat to iOS4..

  3. My smartphone has 8pm camera, 720p video recording, AMOLED screen which i’ve bought almost 2 years ago. Go figure. So, my next upgrade should be at least 12mp camera wl both xenon & power led flash possible wide angle lens and 4″ super amoled screen with video recording 720p @ 60fps.

  4. Junulrik

    I have this samsung galaxy s and iPhone 4. Pagdating sa functionality mas ok tong galaxy s, natalo lang ng iPhone 4 dahil sa built. Pero masasabi ko pantay sila ng iPhone 4. Kaya dala ko na unit parehas. The best ang samsung pagdating sa galaxy s. Natry ko din wave at galaxy beam. Thumbs up din sa dalawa. By the way, fan ako ng apple, but this time fan din ako ng samsung for their latest phone.

  5. Junulrik

    by the way, on a galaxy s and using the launcher pro from android market(free), the galaxy s speeds up more. maybe with launcher pro background processes are much reduced. the samsung touch wiz is deactivated with launcher pro. try it..

  6. n i ñ o

    Nice review. I might head to globe later and try and get one.

    Although I use smart, is globe still good? Any reviews on globes super surf?


  7. >is it an iphone killer?

    What’s up with that question. Why do people ALWAYS ask, “is it an iPhone killer?”

    Do we really need to “kill” the iPhone? So what if it’s better than the iPhone? Will people NOT buy an iPhone?

    It’s OK to compare between cellphones, but I just thought the question is so “old”… so “dated”.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am a very proud owner of a Galaxy S. I just think it’s lame to ask “is it an iPhone killer?” It’s like comparing an Audi versus a BMW (yeah, that’s also pretty lame. Ha-ha)

  8. OT: Kung pwede nga lang installan ng Android OS yung Samsung Wave, mas ok sana. P18k+ na lang daw sa ibang stores. But who knows, anytime meron na ring makapagport nun sa Wave.

    By the way, ok din ang Nexus One, developer phone talaga. Kaya lang di na pwedeng bumili directly online sa Google. I wish I had one. @Sir Abe, musta N1 mo?

  9. iphone pa din ako!! haha… sir abe san mo nakuha yung mga pokemon collectibles? thanks astig

  10. Cliff Rosario

    @Alvin: I;ve heard nga that it’ll be until end of July na lang ung stocks ng Nexus 1 and it’ll be only available through resellers only.

    @Kidd: so your up to buy Iphone 4 when it comes to Globe around Sept? then I hope all the problems will be fixed by then.. @Abe.. am I correct with the month?

  11. @Cliff: Jobs said that they are not going to fix anything, something like that. Should subscribers have a problem with their iP4, they will get a free case. That’s all.

  12. manong


    parehas pala tayo! ako rin lagi kong dala eh… kaso di ako makatawag, wala kasi akong load…

  13. limuelG


  14. Cliff Rosario

    @Fleeb: yeah.. just checked with Engadget.. hay.. quite a disappointment.. I still do use my Iphone 3GS for making calls.. I’m having second thoughts in gearing up for Iphone 4.. Or should I join the Galaxy Boat..

    Apple affirms: no software fix for iPhone 4 antenna issue

  15. @cliff – pretty close.

    @kidd – sa VirraMall, marami.

    @alvin – lost it last Feb.

    @jhoravi – ~32k

  16. @Fleeb and @Cliff Rosario:

    They’re not going to fix anything on the iPhone 4’s already out in the market, that’s who the free cases are for.

    For newer iPhone 4’s they’re working on that as we speak, some phones don’t have the problem at all or it’s greatly minimized to be pretty much negligible –

  17. Did you see the review on Yahoo today? Yugatech better than Yahoo!

  18. Is it locked to Globe like other phones?

  19. Bnew Samsung Galaxy S i9000 for sale.. with spare original battery and screen protector. 0918-9123980

  20. Junulrik

    to those of thinking of having the iphone 4, galaxy s is one of the best alternatives as of now. no need to to tell the details, but main consideration is availability and price. performance wise five stars!!!!!

  21. Willie

    Hi there. Was searching for info on that Samsung phone and I stumbled on this “review.” It lifted everything you have here on this page:

    I thought you’d like to know. Unless, of course, that is one of your sites too.

  22. jonnel13

    I didnt know the Galaxy S can refocus while shooting videos…Totoo?

  23. junulrik

    Hello jonnel13, yes it can refocus while shooting videos, i tried it myself to confirm … kaya nga super OK ang galaxy S…

  24. jonnel13

    Wow! Amazing! There’s only a handful of cellphones that can do that… Sana may Galaxy S iteration na may LED flash na pwedeng video light. =)

  25. When will be the release of the Samsung Galaxy S i9000 “open line” in the philippines?


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