Layman’s take on Samsung Galaxy S (Part 1) – The Hardware – First impressions

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I know I know.. I been terribly late on this post and that’s been haunting me in all those moments whenever I was reading my daily mails. I myself was feeling the curiosity of you all, but its the office work and family life that kept me busy enough and also I wished to start the post after I get adjusted to new things comprehensively. It wasn’t easy at all.

To know the things on the other side of table that been luring you all, but still switching the boat makes you feel like leaving a job, you been working on since years. You sometimes hate it, but still not sure if how the things will workout when you go out. Something similar was the decision of purchasing an Android as the next device.

Android is pulling all the momentum behind it and everyone keeps on hearing the words around it, but how much worth it is to take the risk??

Many reviews on the web to know a thing or two about it, but still how to trust, when each second one happens to be a fanboy or those paid PRs? For sake of all such people and most importantly for myself, there was only one way out.. to take the bet myself, a bet of 25000 INR to know and tell the things on the other side. (Review unit?? Don’t even ask me about these Indian "Social Experts")

The teaser about the package stayed long on my blog and many of you friends kept on waiting that when I will officially open the box even if you knew that I started using it before posting thoughts about it (That’s why no official unboxing). But it was necessary for me to settle down my thoughts before I start writing about it. Pros and Cons… as entering into a new world was meant to be much for each one of us.

So here goes the first impression post about SGS as I felt about it…

The package: Covered with the black recyclable material, it reminded me of Nokia N900 box in first sight and when I was opening that then I was certainly expecting something really big inside. A big 4"


Always thought that 4" would be too big to be pocketable, but surprisingly this was really really not the case. Thinner border, taller screen and very less space wasted in front design ensures that one doesn’t feel it anyway bigger than Nokia N8.


So, the first worry was gone that if 4" is such a huge size that one can’t carry and on top of that the insanely lighter and thinner build makes you feel you holding something really special (Will come over the plastic part in the later part though …)


As expected from manufacturers other than Nokia, the package was not like those containing some large number of goodies but just a minimal one including essentials like Data Cable (no shitty 6" like Nokia shipping with some of the models, but a reasonable length), headphone, MicroUSB charger, battery, CDs, Manual and the special part for me was the leather pouch (was hidden inside the product manual box along with the 2 small CDs).


It was pleasant to see that Samsung following the same micro USB standard as Nokia rather than pushing any of their propriety port design like Apple or RIM would have loved to do. The pros were felt soon enough, when I was able to charging or data transfer via the same USB of my Nokia. Didn’t checked myself but seems that would be true for the microUSB charger as well.

Wish whole of the mobile phone world was following the same standard about chargers and cables.


Same thing continues with the 3.5mm audio port. Thanks to Nokia for making it a standard and thanks to Samsung and others for bringing it in for Galaxy S. Like MicroUSB cable, any headphone of Nokia phones is also compatible and so are the normal headsets out in the market (like in my case N8’s).


Though audio wise, the included headsets are fine and in fact excellent, still people coming from Nokia side will feel disappointed for the non-premium feel, when you don’t find forward/ reverse, play/pause like richer controls on the headset itself.


While it was a usual course about the MicroUSB charger, the big 1500 mAh is one of the reasons to make the bet on Samsung Galaxy S only than going for the competitors from HTC etc. Pleasant to see that even after just 9.9mm thickness of device, they managed to put a 1500 mAh battery inside, while Nokia settled on 1200 mAh in Nokia N8/ E7 with don’t know what excuses. (Still battery life on Android and bigger screens is some other topic that I will cover later on).


Lovely was to see the inclusion of the leather pouch, though I knew the reasons behind (plastic back sure not going to sustain much rear and tear due to scratches even if Glass side sustains very well), but still the last time I saw a pouch in Nokia’s package, was only Nokia E72.

Is including a Rs. 100 pouch with a >Rs 25000 device that hard enough Nokia?

Honestly, at the moment, I am cribbing about the pouch on Nokia devices that are already much robust (see Nokia N8) for any kind of real pouch need, same time I should also crib for the exclusion of TV Out cables from Samsung side as well.

But these are the business decisions and while users will always ask for more, manufacturers will try to pack most reasonable things. But the way, TV Out works on SGS and the way, we have more codec support here, a TV Out cable is a must have, I would say. Thank God that I have the one from Nokia package.

Thanks to @nilayshah80 for the above point.


Kies!! Here comes the first thing from where you start feeling the changes from the Nokia ecosystem. Kies is the alternative to PC/ Ovi Suit of Nokia here and while looks good and well animated, I yet to take a complete drill on it, but UI wise that was something top notch for sure (Thank God, it was unlike my Sony/ Blackberry experience)


Interesting to see that without installing driver etc, Windows 7 etc doesn’t detect the functions of Samsung Galaxy S in the way, it does for Nokia N8 likes. Even for using it as USB Mass Storage, first the settings on phone itself go in different ways and then you need to install drivers as well. It seems that market might be boosted with Android numbers, the support from Microsoft yet to come.

So this was the package, let’s see how the phone is …


At the first glance, one has to be impressed by the slimness of the device. 9.9mm sure looks special in comparison to 12.9 mm of Nokia N8. What I love about SGS design, is the fact that very less screen space wasted from front (something like I felt about Nokia N900 once on Nokia side), otherwise a larger width would have made the device a less favorable.

Thanks to Samsung, it still maintains a width ~64mm otherwise handling any larger device was a mess for sure. With only 119g weight, it would have been too light to handle. But as of now, it feels perfect in hands (at least in my personal views). The lighter weight, silky smoothness and responsiveness of capacitive screen adds to the premium experience.


The front sports only one hardware key that is Home key, but that too also feel so integrated in screen that you feel like the whole front is made of capacitive screen only. Along with Home key, you find Settings Keys on the left and Back key on the right, though those are exactly not hardware keys, but capacitive ones only. As expected, Home key brings you back to home screen from whatever app you might be running, though toggle between Home screen and Menu is not here like Symbian had.

Moreover, as many of the apps on Android still don’t support saving of state and Android does not multitasking the way Symbian does, so a long term Symbian user will always be cautious about use of Home and Back Keys in the start. Its not exactly like you left an app running to do some task and switched to other one for doing something else.

Still lack of Multi-tasking doesn’t bother much as there was some workarounds due to awesome notification bar and OS implementation… which I will talk about later on…


The top of the device sports usual speaker, front VGA camera and Ambient sensor etc. It was pleasant to see the inbuilt video calling support because lack of video calling was one of the setback, when you were coming from Symbian side, who was the first to support video calling and still has the most robust integration about that.


When you check out the top of the device, then there is something, for which I really really wanna give full praises to Samsung, for giving a sliding cover for MicroUSB port.

The rubber/ plastic based pull out caps as seen in Nokia and others been such a let down that in my all last posts, I always preferred a device even without a cover at all. Shows that sometimes getting used to of something, forces you to take compromises thinking that there would not be any better solution than this (I hope Nokia hardware design might be listening to this.)

The other interesting thing is TV-Out support via the 3.5mm jack. The second thing after the video call support that been rare to other manufacturers when you choose anyone else than Nokia. One should note that among all the Android devices out there, Galaxy S is one of the rare few sporting native UMTS video calling.

As there is no TV-Out cable included, so I tried to test the TV-Out feature with the cable, I had from my older Nokias like Nokia 5800/ Nokia N82 and it was again a go like the case of microUSB cable of Nokia been, works well (though you need to go in settings and enable TV-Out from there).


The left side of the device sports only button that works as power key, when held for long and screen off/ lock key, if pressed once.

A small and raised one than the ones we been adjusted with Nokia Phones till now and some of us will take some time to get adjusted with the position that is other than usual top.


The bottom side sports the usual microphone (no second microphone for noise cancellation) and the hinge for pulling of the battery cover (a let down for me as I would have preferred a sliding one here). The left side of the device shows off a different volume key design without any engraving or any kind of two keys or even plus minus icons but as long as it works perfectly, there should not be much of a complaint here.


On the back, you will find a 5MP AF camera WITHOUT any kind of Flash or any kind of cover and a cheap kind of speaker design.


I must admit that whatever premium feel the device would have had from front, one feels hugely let down from the back, which thought has a sturdy plastic cover, though as you can see in above picture, plastic is plastic only and can never replace the metal back.

But that was a side effect of too slim design here. Choosing metal was not only an adverse effect on signal and heat dissipation but also would have made it hard to keep the weight under control.


When you open the cover then you find the usual SIM slot and MicroSD slot inside. Though none of them are under the battery but still somewhere I think that the Samsung Hardware designing team didn’t wanted to include the hot swapping of SIMs. You can definitely insert a SIM while battery on but can’t pull out a SIM from there as you can see from the pics given below …


Though no such limitations when it comes to the MicroSD slot, but I doubt if that would officially be a hot swap one (though I think it supported the same in my test).

For quick summery the internal specs, check out the below,.

Dimensions: 122.4 x 64.2 x 9.9 mm, 118 g
Display: 4" 16M-color Super AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels
CPU: Samsung Cortex A8 Hummingbird 1 GHz processor
OS: Android 2.2 (Froyo)
Memory: 16GB storage, microSD card slot
Camera: 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with face detection and touch focus; 720p video recording at 30fps
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 with A2DP, standard microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio
Misc: TouchWiz 3.0 UI, built-in accelerometer, multi-touch input, proximity sensor, Swype text input

So, it ends the hardware overview here and once you switch on the device then the different startup animation customized for Samsung Galaxy S only reminds you that you are entering into a different era. It was specially thrilling to see a customized startup screen for Galaxy S only out of the box.


And I assure you that this other side has many exciting points and many reasons to hold the buzz as its holding around the world. So, be tuned in close… I am soon coming with an overview of Android very soon..

Till then, sure let me know if you liked the review and shared with others. I am always available on twitter as @nkumar_

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12 thoughts on “Layman’s take on Samsung Galaxy S (Part 1) – The Hardware – First impressions

      1. The thing is, SGS II still not in market and will come at least a month later to settle the things around dual core (not practically tested).

        Moreover, modding that integral part of Android experience, will take some more time to support the same on SGS II that doubles the delay.

        That’s why I took the decision for the purchase of SGS I, as my motive was to understand the experience.. not the hardware part

  1. great review. I like how you compared with nokia because that is what , indian smartphone users are used to.
    also you have inspired me to write my similar review on sgsl.

  2. my mobile is nokia E72 and i want to change my symbian os android os. so give me better the solution ….plssssssssss…………

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