If the title of iPhone-killer was ever well deserved by any contender, this would be it. The Samsung Galaxy S even looks a lot like the current generation iPhone 3G/3GS. But as you might already know, that's where the similarities end. The increasingly popular Google Android smartphone OS is winning over hundreds of thousands of users on a daily basis (worldwide). And the Galaxy S is a breakthrough device, whichever way you choose to look at it.
The 480 x 800 pixel Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen may sound like a lot of marketing hype, but it is nothing short of stunning. It's usable even in bright sunlight and the touchscreen is ultra responsive. You get colors like you've never seen and the darkest blacks on any smartphone this side of year 2010 (and probably 2015).
The design is very minimalistic, with the screen taking up most of the front. Under the screen, there is a home button and two touch sensitive buttons for 'menu' and 'back'. On the left side is a volume rocker, a power button on the right side, and a micro USB slot and 3.5mm A/V out on the top edge. The phone itself is surprisingly light for the size; the 119 gram weight can be both a boon and a curse depending on how you look at it. Boon because it's easy to carry, but then it also feels plasticky (a feature not helped by the glossy back).
The Galaxy has Android 2.1, with a promised upgrade to version 2.2 soon. Everything works as expected, and Samsung has thrown in some killer features to further enhance the Android experience. To start with, the unbelievably accurate Swype text input keyboard. With Swype, you have a standard looking on-screen QWERTY keypad. To input a word, you simply start at the first letter, and trace a line through all the letters without lifting your finger off the screen. It sounds fiddly, but you'll be amazed at how intuitive and accurate it can be. You have the standard on-screen keyboards of course, but if you start using it, Swype will very quickly become the fastest was you've entered text on any mobile device.
There were no issues with call quality and network coverage. Even battery life is a good 1 to 2 days depending on usage. Multimedia performance is faultless. Apart from DivX, Samsung's built in multimedia player also supports MPEG4, WMV, MKV, H.264 & FLV videos. Apart from the usual MP3 audio format, it also supports FLAC,WAV and AC3. With 16GB internal and a 32GB microSD card slotted in, there is more than enough space for quite a few full length movies, thousands of songs and videos. The camera is where the Galaxy S offers space for improvement. Low light performance suffers, and the lack of a flash doesn't help. In fact, the flash and an FM transmitter are probably the only two things missing. A pre-loaded navigation package would have been nice. Although the official MRP is Rs 31,500, the market price is now hovering around the Rs 27k mark. With 16GB of flash memory built in, this makes it good value too. Once things for certain, with the official launch of the Galaxy S, Samsung has taken a big lead over the iPhone 4. In terms of screen quality, performance and overall appeal, the iPhone 4 seems to be the real competitor to the Galaxy S. Anyone who is waiting for the iPhone 4 should seriously stop and give this one a look.
Samsung R480 Notebook
Samsung's "Liquid Crystal" design mixes the glossy black finish with a touch of wine red and an amazing pattern setting which is brighter in some places and darker in others- giving it a natural feel. Now this finish has arrived on Samsung's latest notebook- the R480. The lid is bordered with black while the center has a wine red finish. The two colors merge very well here, as well as throughout the notebook. In terms of performance, the benchmarks indicate that we have a performance monster on our hands. The PC Mark score of 5641 is incredible, despite the fact that the 32-bit OS limits memory availability to 3GB, instead of the on board 4GB installed. Open as many browser tabs as you want, play music in the background, let the antivirus do its own thing in the background and still have a lot of power left to use up if needed.
If you want to play an occasional game on this notebook, you won't be disappointed. the 3D Mark score of 3828 promises an extremely powerful gaming experience. Since the laptop will be used on the move quite a bit, its backup of 3 hours is extremely good, considering the fact that the machine is so powerful.
At a price of Rs 40k, the R480 does make a lot of sense for someone who needs a stylish yet powerful laptop without having to pay an arm and a leg for it.
Sony Ericsson Aspen
A sneak preview on the upcoming Sony Ericsson phone
The QWERTY phone segment has seen a major rise in the entry level category, however in the high-end segment there are very few options available. With the Aspen, Sony Ericsson has tried to aim at the high end segment with a Smartphone that offers connectivity, features and multiple ways of input. We got a prototype unit of the device to play around with and even though we were impressed by performance, the phone left a lot to be desired in terms of usability.
The phone's distinctive broad shape with black matte finish and large QWERTY keypad gives it a pure business look. Being a greenheart phone, the aspen is made up of recyclable materials. Unfortunately the phone is slightly thicker than its competition available which makes it loose a point. The 2.4" landscape touchscreen display is nicely responsive, but the small size of display makes it a pain to use with fingers, though it works fine with the supplied stylus. The display screen has a resolution of just 240 x 320 only which is disappointing. The back of the phone houses a 3.2MP camera and the speaker grill whereas the 3.5mm audio jack and power button are placed neatly on the top. The phone charges via a micro USB port and its a welcome change from the standard POP port thats usually present on Sony Ericsson phones.
The Aspen runs on Windows Mobile 6.5.3 customized with Xperia Panels. The prototype unit we had came with only one panel loaded, but we liked the overall look and usability factor it added. Even though the phone has a 600MHz processor at its core with 256MB of RAM, the zippy UI makes it stand among the fastest and smoothest Windows phones. Although the phone started showing signs of slowdown when we had around 7 open applications in the background. The phone comes loaded with various social networking applications such as Facebook, twitter etc. The phone has GPS, but our unit did not have any navigation application pre-installed on it.
The camera on the phone is nothing great, and takes average pics in daylight. In false light and darker environment the quality goes for a further toss. Thought the camera is impressive in terms of speed, it starts up in just 2 seconds and takes another 2 seconds to save the captured image and be ready for the next shot. Sadly video recording is limited to 15FPS even though its in VGA resolution. The sound output through the speaker is loud, and the in-ear speaker output super clear output in voice calls.
The phone has a 1500mAh battery which lasted well over a day and half. The phone has all the standard connectivity options - WIFi, 3G, GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth. Even though the Aspen is a full fledged Smartphone in the making, Nokia already has E-series devices which have made a name for them in the smartphone QWERTY segment and to compete with them , the price of Aspen would play a significant role in its success.