That said, it remains head and shoulders above its OLED contemporaries, and when taken to more hospitable environments, the Galaxy S' screen really shows off some terrific color and vibrancy. Our opinion hasn't changed at all here: this is one of the finest displays you can hope to lay eyes on. And it's set to remain an exclusive feather in Samsung's cap for the next eighteen
months, we're told. We knew the company would be holding on to its latest and greatest for its own handsets but this is a mighty protracted exclusivity term, which we're guessing is motivated either by Samsung looking to push its own brand more or by severely limited production quantities -- probably the latter.
The positive impression made by the screen is hardly done any harm by Samsung's inclusion of the new Hummingbird application processor inside, which pushes Android's home screens around with frightening ease. Pinch-to-zoom is also ridiculously smooth -- as fluid in its motion as a well warmed-up Bruce Lee, the Hummingbird just owns this gesture-based input that tends to trip up a lot of mobile devices. Whether you're zooming in and out of pictures or a web page, this is the one area where we truly felt like we were tapping into the full potency of the processor inside. Hell, you might even turn this around on Samsung and contend that the company has failed to fully harness such a workhorse.
But then you'd be wrong. 720p video recording at a cool 30fps is on offer, along with a 5 megapixel imager on the back and a 1.3 megapixel one on the front. Both picture and video processing were done rapidly -- we almost got the feeling the UI was slowing us down more than the hardware, which is impressive however you wanna slice it.
On the software front, you've got TouchWiz 3.0 overlaid atop Android, though if you're keen on sticking to the stock Google-flavored Eclair, the good news is that Samsung's modifications don't really get in your way. Aside from the Social Hub -- which aggregates Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other social networks into one stream, in a similar vein to what almost everyone else is doing lately -- they're mostly in-app changes and skinning tweaks that shouldn't have a negative impact on the user experience. In fact, we were quite taken with the Galaxy S' handling of contacts. Swiping right on a contact's name automatically dials his phone number, whereas swiping left initiates a text message with him as the addressee. It's smooth, it's clever, and it's quite fun to use.
Qik video chat and Swype come as preloaded apps on this handset, with one offering a way to utilize all that multimedia prowess and the other letting people try out an alternative input method. Just neat little extras that we appreciate seeing for a device that aims to be widely accessible. On the topic of input, we'd also say Samsung's layout of the soft keyboard is a sensible one -- this particular writer found it more intuitive than the default Android implementation.