- Thin and light
- Excellent screen
- Highly responsive
- Excellent battery life
- Slippery to hold
- Disappointing voice quality
The Samsung Galaxy S 4G is the latest Android smartphone from T-Mobile. It has a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, two cameras. personal hotspot software, Wi-Fi calling, and a 16GB memory card pre-loaded with the hit movie Inception.
The entire package is powered by Android OS 2.2, wrapped up with Samsung’s TouchWiz interface, and is available now for $200 with a new two-year service contract and a $50 mail-in rebate.
BUILD & DESIGN
This phone is extremely thin and light. It measures 4.8-inches long, 2.5-inches wide, and 0.4-inches thick, and weighs just over four ounces. Unlike some modern smartphones that will hardly fit in your largest pocket, the Galaxy S 4G won’t add any bulk to your mobile lifestyle.
The sides of the phone are shiny silver, and the back cover is a platinum gray color with a cool color shifting effect. There’s nothing flashy or garish about this phone, but it does stand out from the pack in a good way.
The Galaxy S 4G can be somewhat “slippery” and difficult to hold on to because it’s so smooth. It doesn’t have any prominent ridges, and is rather curved at the sides. The only slight bump is at the bottom edge on the back, but that may not be enough to help you figure out which end is which when you dig it out of your pocket or bag.
Since the power and volume buttons are almost flush mounted, they don’t stick out enough to give you much of a clue about which way you’re holding the phone — you’ll have to look.
Aside from my slight frustration with the slipperiness of the phone, I found the Galaxy S 4G to be of excellent build quality. The phone feels solid in the hand and is well made. You won’t find any bending, creaking, or flimsy parts here.
The 4-inch Super AMOLED display is simply gorgeous. While I might not often want to watch full length movies on the small screen, the clarity and detail are just outstanding. Colors are rich and sharp, and I can see everything clearly, be it text on a web page, photos, videos, or games. Even when I look very closely, I can see little to no evidence of jagginess or pixelization on the 800 x 480 pixel display.
I also found the screen to be entirely readable outside in direct sunlight, though of course the colors did wash out a bit. The screen can be a bit too bright indoors, at least for my taste. I found myself turning off the automatic brightness control in the settings area so that I could dial it down just a bit.
You’ll be relying on the on-screen virtual keyboard here, since the Galaxy S 4G doesn’t have a physical QWERTY keyboard. Thankfully the Swype technology is included, so you should be typing quickly and accurately with a minimum of practice. That’s especially important since this phone is relatively narrow in portrait mode, so the keyboard keys are rather long and narrow too.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Swype is a text entry method in which you slide you finger from letter to letter, rather than pecking at each one. It’s become quite popular in the last year or so, and Samsung put it on virtually all its phones.
Swype is smart enough that it does a very good job of reading your mind. If it ever isn’t sure about a particular word choice, a handy menu pops up with several likely choices, and a single tap is all that is needed to pick the right word and move on.
Other Buttons & Controls
The menu, home, back, and search “buttons” are touch-sensitive areas located directly under the screen on the front of the Galaxy S 4G.
The charge/sync port is at the top of the phone, and is covered by a sliding door. I really like that extra touch, because phone ports can get really dusty/linty if your bag is full of junk.
As mentioned above, the keys are very small and don’t stick out much at all — until you become more familiar with the device, you will likely have to look each time you want to find and activate a button.
The microSD card slot and the SIM card slot are located on the back side of the phone, underneath the back cover. I was glad to see that neither one of those slots was stuck under the battery. While you do have to take off the back cover to access them, the cover is easy to remove and replace.