No, you’re not looking at the latest next-gen iPhone leak – this is the first UK appearance of Samsung’s latest Android phone, the Galaxy S. And a lovely slab of Apple-inspired tech it is too.
For Android zealots, the Galaxy S has what can only be described as a dream spec sheet – 4in ‘Super AMOLED’ screen, 5MP camera capable of shooting 720p video, 1Ghz processor, a choice of 8GB or 16GB storage with microSD expansion and important bonuses like a 3.5mm headphone jack. For the HTC Desire and Google Nexus One, that’s a fearsome CV.
Running the show is Android 2.1 (an update to ‘Froyo’ 2.2 promised later in the year), so you get multitouch web browsing, support for Microsoft Exchange and Google Maps Navigation among other treats. And with a 1Ghz processor oiling the cogs, the Galaxy S is extremely fast at moving around these applications and menus.
Slightly less impressive is the phone’s build, which is a little more plasticky than we’d have liked. Still, this is quickly forgiven when you watch an HD video on the 4in screen – its crisp, vibrant display means it’s right up there with the HTC HD2 for watching movies.
Beyond the usual Android widgets, Samsung has added some of very promising extra software from both its in-house team and third parties. The most impressive is Swype (below), which lets you write words and messages by sliding your finger between letters in one movement rather than the usual prodding technique. And it really works – this could be the future of text input for touchscreen-only phones (we’ll show you how it works in a video soon).
There’s also a Samsung app store alongside the usual Android Market, where you can download free apps like the ‘Qwerty Remocon’ universal remote and ‘AllShare’, which will connect with other AllShare products (such as Samsung’s Series 9 TVs due in June) and give you one-button file and media sharing. Expect a deluge of ‘AllShare’ gadgetry (printers, netbooks and TVs) from Samsung later this year.
Our Galaxy S is a pre-production sample, but so far we’ve found little evidence of lagging or bugs – it’s extremely fast and responsive, and we’re impressed the extra software treats beyond the now familiar Android 2.1.
Official pricing has yet to be announced, but Expansys are listing the 8GB model for £500 and it’ll be available to buy in the first week of June. Look out for a hands-on video and our verdict on how it fares next to the HTC Desire and iPhone very soon.