Galaxy is surreally desirable


Having tasted my first real Android experience in the mold of HTC Desire, I had another opportunity to lay my hands on Samsung’s new Android flagship product, Galaxy S. I am not sure what does the “S” means, but one cannot be faulted for assuming it is  Galaxy “Supreme”, based on its technical specification, and my initial impression of the phone.

In my short 20 minutes hands on, I was deeply impressed by its form factor and its captivating Super Active-Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode (Super AMOLED) screen. First of all, it’s thin with a 4″ wide screen, a size that I feel more comfortable after having used to HTC HD and HTC HD2, which have screen size of 3.8″ and 4.3″ respectively. I just find the 3.7″ screen in the HTC Desire, a tad too small for me.  The Galaxy S has  just the right size, and to top it all, it is only 9.9mm slim and weighs only 118g. My only gripe is its piano-finishing battery cover, which is going to be a fingerprint magnet. The fact that the battery cover is made of polyurethanes material, doesn’t make it any more “cheap plasticky”, as I thought the overall build quality is solid.

Now the screen; it looks  stunning to the naked eyes, but once I put it side by side against HTC Desire, with the brightness level maximised for both devices, I find the difference is marginal, if any. I suspect the main reason behind this nano difference, is Samsung’s decision to maintain similiar brightness level, so as to maximize the power consumption efficiency. Afterall, a Super AMOLED screen is statistically capable of achieving 20% better brightness at 20% lesser power consumption level, in comparison to a AMOLED screen.  So if Galaxy S is designed and manufactured at the same brightness specification  as the AMOLED screen, then mathematically one can achieve 33% reduction in the power consumption. Not bad!  (Note: I did observed that the power consumption in Galaxy S much better than that in Desire. It’s not scientifically proven though that it is due to the above mentioned theory, but if anybody can confirm that, please let me know)

In the end, the brief experience was enough to lure me into the Samsung Galaxy S camp. So I got a set a few days later, and begin my Android journey, ehm,  officially. Afterall, the HTC Desire is technically a “T-loan” unit from yeez, and my other Android experience was really Android Cupcake half baked into my old HTC HD.

Having used the phone for the last few days, my conclusion of Galaxy S and Desire comparison is basically  hardware versus software. It is without a shadow of doubt that Galaxy S just shines in almost every aspect of hardware departments, except maybe the flash-less camera (and if I want to be nitpick, lack of LED notification light). I can however forgive the lack of flash, for its superb video taking capability. On paper, it can take 720p video at 30 frame per seconds,  but what counts at the end of the day is the actual quality of the video captured in reality. And I have to say it is almighty impressive, as it  could take a good video without any ghosting effect. Probably the best video capture capability I have come across for a smart phone.

Now, when it comes to software arena, HTC Desire is the clear winner by a mile. HTC sense  and its  home screen widgets,  spice up the otherwise default boring android home screen. One can draw the similarity from the  Windows Mobile devices; that without the Windows Mobile version of HTC sense, it is ladened by a functional but very dated Today screen. HTC has established itself as a smartphone leader, not because of its superior hardware specification, but its ability to mate the hardware and software (regardless of Android or Windows Mobile platform) to address the different needs of various mobile market segments. Samsung, on the other hand, has tried too hard to emulate iPhone, loosing it s own DNA. Its  TouchWiz user interface and the bubble style conversation for text messagin, are just some examples of that. Thankfully, there are applications like  LauncherPro, which can reinstate the iPhone wannabe back to the real android Galaxy S where it should be.

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49 thoughts on “Galaxy is surreally desirable

  1. PeterMc says:

    How did you get your Samsung Galaxy looking like the HTC Desire homepage with the great clock, weather and calander with reminder notes. Cannot seem to find it anywhere on mine.

    • zen says:

      @PeterMc, install LauncherPro to replace TouchWiz Shell, and then install “Fancy Widget” and “Smooth Calendar” to get the clock/weather/calendar display.

  2. DaveL says:

    Dear Zen,
    I’m in the market to for a smart phone. I’m sort of down to Android HTC Desire and Samsung Galaxy S.
    Ur reviews are great! I’m still undecided. As u aptly put it, the Galaxy S seems to our pace Desire hardware wise. However I’ve read 2 “problems” with the Galaxy: 1. The TouchWiz UI is not as good as the native Android. 2. Galaxy S battery doesn’t last as long.

    After a month of using, how would you fair between the 2? What does the LaunchPro app do?
    and finally, how does the Galaxy battery fair?

    Thanks in advance.

    • zen says:

      @DaveL,

      sorry for the late reply. I would say forget about TouchWiz UI. Go straight to LauncherPro (available from Market), upgrade it to LP +, and you get the exact UI and widgets as HTC sense. The plus version of LauncherPro comes with 4 LP widgets now (People, Calendar, Bookmark, Messaging) and the developer is working on the Friendstream equivalent widget in his next release.

      For battery it’s bad but it has to do with the data services that we all use. I say its part and parcel of a smartphone these days, unless you are conscious of turning off data/wireless services, otherwise, just prepare to have mobile charger (those portable and those in-car chargers are great) to keep your phone powered (and you happy) for the whole day

  3. DaveL says:

    Dear Zen,

    Thanks for your reply. I’ve finally got the Samsung Galaxy S as the Desire was out stock where I was. Anyhow, I find the phone a little sluggish at times, even with app killers installed and trying to keep the multi-tasking apps at a minimum. One of my biggest complaint is that the phone doesn’t really work very well as a phone. 1st of all, whenever the phone screen is off (saver) and I get a call, there is often a 2 second delay before I can answer because nothing comes up the screen until later. Same problem when I’m on the line with someone, and wants to access the screen, it’s often prove too difficult and the phone lags in on top of coming out of the dark screen. Any way around this?

    • zen says:

      @DavidL,

      unfortunately, there’s some lag in some Samsung fw, and yours is probably one of them. Head over to xda-developers to get the lag fix. It even speeds up your Galaxy S performance, on top of eliminating the lag.

      one of the lag fix solution is here http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=751513

      but I think you need to root your Galaxy S before able to apply the lag fix.

  4. spriggers says:

    Can you give any feedback regarding GPS issues and the Galaxy? I’ve heard that it’s pretty horrible. Have Sumsung provided a good fix for it yet?

  5. rex says:

    hey zen nice job u have done there…but i want to ask how the gaming go on on these two monster…i am a hardcore gamer..so wish u can answer ny question….=)

    • zen says:

      @Rex, havn’t try gaming on HTC Desire with froyo yet. But Galaxy S remains to be good in terms video capturing and gaming. But in terms of multi-tasking, I think it’s not as good as I thought it would be. A Lagfix with some tweaks does help to bridge the gap though.

    • opher says:

      Dear Rex ..

      I would like to tell you 1 thing about gaming .. The Htc Desire and its “tween” The nexus 1 doesnt have Multi-touch .. they have Dual-Touch .. now how does it affect? type in youtube and ul see … htc desire is not built for gaming like u know COunter-Strike when u need to aim and move ur self at the same time .. when samsung does it perfectly..

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