I had been holding out on buying a more internet friendly phone for some time now, waiting for 3G service to start in India. After my iPad experience, it was clear to me that I couldn’t be happy with an iPhone but it was also obvious that none of the available Android phones were good enough.
Enter the new Samsung Galaxy S with Android 2.1, awesome 4” display, light weight and a good (enough) battery life. A little market research showed that Samsung’s Super AMOLED technology was best in class and a better phone, the Samsung Galaxy S2, will only be available next year. With 3G to be introduced (supposedly) around October, the stage was set. So, one fine July evening, I bought the Samsung Galaxy S.
First of all, a message to people who are surprised upon hearing the price - the Samsung Galaxy S is not a phone; it is a pocket sized computer that also happens to be a phone. And what have I been upto with this device? Here’s a list of ten things (in no particular order) that I have used it to:
- Get email alerts via K9 Mail, read blogs, check twitter, buzz and facebook feeds
- Take photographs and upload it to Facebook (darn you Airtel, I could never get MMS to work properly)
- Watch movies on my desktop monitor and phone through VLC Remote and Gmote.
- Stream music from GrooveShark - Yay! freedom from syncing my music
- Play Asphalt5 while sitting at the back of an autorickshaw - something ironic about it.
- Use AIM to answer questions from our QA team while having lunch. Note to myself, use a spoon next time if you want to use the phone.
- SMS while walking down the road without the fear of banging into an obstacle.
- Read a book on the Kindle app.
- Navigate to Kolar and back with Google Maps
- Impress people with the live wallpapers, gesture search and some not so useful tidbits such as a lie detector and a sky map.
Google integration means that all my contacts are backed up on their servers. I am still surprised that something as simple as backing up contacts has been so hard for phones till now. Another cool feature that I loved was that I could link phone numbers with Facebook contacts together. Now when a friend calls, I see his Facebook photo automatically. The device has a decent battery life; with on and off wifi use, it lasts for a little more than a day. The device has a 5 megapixel camera and can record a 720p video. And, by the way, flash sites works too.
Before I bought the phone, I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to use a touch keyboard. Well, it wasn’t too hard with the default keyboard but ever since I switched to the Swype keyboard, I’m insanely fast. I’d recommend Swype to everybody. Good thing that Samsung provides this keyboard application for free.
There are a few downsides though. The phone feels sluggish when more than a couple of applications are running. The “Advanced Task Killer” application is essential for a decent experience. There is no flash light so one must depend on external light source being available to avoid dark photos. Sometimes (and this happens rarely), after moving out of a wifi zone, it won’t automatically switch to a GPRS/EDGE connection unless I restart the phone.
All in all, I’m happy with the device and eagerly waiting for an Android 2.2 (froyo) upgrade and Airtel’s 3G service.