One consequence of the aforementioned speed of this phone and its large screen is mediocre battery life, with a day and a bit being about as much as you’re likely to get in normal use. We did note that after being left on far-from-full battery on Friday it still had a quarter battery left on Monday, but given another hour’s play the battery warnings had started to kick in. All told, this is about average for a phone of this calibre.
Call quality is also more than adequate with clear and fulsome voice at both ends. Likewise, reception seemed to be fine, though if signal strength indicators are anything to go by it was certainly struggling in our office – 1 bar out of five compared to the iPhone 4’s three (hand grip variance notwithstanding). Fans of Bluetooth headsets will also be happy to know that this phone also support Bluetooth 3.0. In actual fact this new standard is all about higher data transfer speeds, so isn’t much use for making calls. It will however be useful for quickly transferring files back and forth with your computer, if and when compatible hardware becomes available.
Bringing things down to brass tacks, then, the Galaxy S is available for £439.99 when bought outright SIM free. This makes it slightly more expensive than many of its rivals, including the HTC Desire, though it’s still some way off the ridiculous prices Apple is asking for its iPhone 4. On contract you’re looking at around £35 a month to get the phone free and even then it’s a 24 month contract. For lower price contracts or shorter terms ones, you’re looking at around £200 for the phone up front.
When you’re spending this sort of money, you expect your phone to have a wow factor – after all, there are plenty of perfectly capable android handsets available – and we feel the Galaxy S doesn’t quite deliver. While it certainly has some headline grabbing features, few of them seem to add much in general use and it lacks a few basics.
The Galaxy S should have been a cracking handset and in many ways it is. Its screen is very good, it’s fast, it’s packed with features, and looks pretty decent as well. Certainly if you’re looking for a large and powerful Android smartphone, it’s up there with the best. However, there’s no escaping the fact that it feels like a blatant copy of a certain other phone and, moreover, it doesn’t have the fit and finish to really make you want it.