Hands On with Samsung's Galaxy S 4G Smartphone

After hearing lots of talk about the new 4G phone from Samsung, I finally got some hands on time with the Galaxy S 4G here in Barcelona, Spain, where the 2011 Mobile World Congress is in progress.

In Video: Hands On With the Samsung Galaxy S 4G

The Android 2.2-powered Galaxy S 4G will be sold by T-Mobile starting February 23, and will be priced at about $150 with a two year contract. T-Mobile's network, while not technically a 4G network, has been showing some impressive speeds after upgrading to reach up to 21 megabits per second (theoretical) download speeds.

The Galaxy S will be the first T-Mobile smartphone to support up to 21 mbps if the network delivers it. T-Mobile's other HSPA+ smartphones-the HTC myTouch 4G and the HTC G2-max out at 14.4 mbps.

This speed could make streaming video work very well on the phone. I found the HD video displayed on the phone's 4-inch screen to be colorful, bright and sharp. The games I played on the phone looked similarly good. The Galaxy S 4G has a 1 GHz Hummingbird processor inside, which seemed like more than enough to run smooth video and to launch apps quickly.

One disappointment here is the Android 2.2 OS. It's unclear why Samsung is not shipping this phone with the latest version of the OS, which has been out long enough to have proven stability to manufacturers. The phone may be upgraded to the newer OS in later versions.

One could also complain about the absence of a dual-core processor and an 8-megapixel camera. But the real story here is the HSPA+ radio and chipset technology in the phone. The Galaxy S 4G is like last year's model with this year's wireless tech under the hood. It's not a bleeding edge phone, it's just fast--potentially.

The phone has a 5-megapixel camera on the back (with which I took some sharp looking photos), and another 1.3 megapixel camera on the front to support videoconferencing (Skype comes preloaded on the phone). A Samsung rep took the phone into Skype videoconferencing quickly and showed me a live video conferencing session. The live images were a bit fuzzy, but good enough.

The phone itself felt solid in my hand (if a bit lightweight) and I liked the rounded corner design.

In a nutshell, I'm impressed with the Galaxy S 4G. It doesn't have the features or horsepower of its brother the Galaxy S II (launched here yesterday), but to get to a $150 price point you can't have the best of everything.

This story, "Hands On with Samsung's Galaxy S 4G Smartphone" was originally published by PCWorld.


Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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