Screen shot 2010-07-05 at 10.44.35 AM.pngLast week I was invited into New York to attend the unveiling of the new Galaxy S line of smartphones from Samsung. These Android 2.1 phones will be released by T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint and AT&T, as well as by some regional carriers. Each carrier will have a slightly different version, including one with a keyboard. I found the keyboard very difficult to type on, by the way.

The phones have a 4 inch “Super AMOLED” screen developed by Samsung that is simply stunning. Bright, clear and crisp and they are even usable outside in the sunlight.

The reason I went in was to see if these new large-screen phones would work as ereaders. Well, all different versions were on display and I think they would make excellent ereaders. The screens have an extremely high contrast ratio and a resolution of 800 x 480. When I compared the screens to a another reporter’s iPhone 4, the Samsung seemed to have better contrast. However, it is very hard to judge these things in the crowded mob of a press event.

I checked out all the different carrier versions and noticed that the T-Mobile version had the Amazon Kindle software pre-loaded. Nobody could tell me if this would be the case in the actual release version. None of the other carrier versions had any ereading software.

Overall, I was very impressed with the Galaxy S series. Their presentation said that Android 2.2 would be coming to all the phones later in the year. There were two negatives that I could see. First, this is a pretty big phone and might not be so easy to carry around – but it is very thin and light. And this is the second negative, at least for me. All the variants are made of a light plastic and the phone, despite it’s high end features, feels “cheap” in the hand. I think Samsung might have made a mistake by not giving the phone a heavier “quality” feel.

However, if you are in the market for a new phone and want to use it as an ereader you really should check out the Galaxy S series before making a decision. Samsung wouldn’t give any release dates, but they should be released by all the carriers in the next month or so.

By the way, The Phones Show has just posted a video review of the Galaxy S that is well worth watching. I agree with Steve Litchfield’s conclusions 100%


  1. The Galaxy S has already been out for a few weeks here in Europe. I went to buy one last week but after playing around with it for a while decided not to do so… because it is such a horrible ereader.

    The super Amoled screen has nice somewhat oversaturated colors and good contrast. According to all reviews it isn’t too bad in direct sunlight. Its pentile matrix structure however also makes characters look slightly ragged. I like reading in bed but because I am near sighted I hold my Palm pretty close. When I did that with the Galaxy S, I could distinguish ugly red pixels in the characters – a consequence of the odd pixel structure.

    There are numerous articles on the web on the advantages and disadvantages of pentile matrix screens. In general they are viewed as excellent for video and pictures but less ideal for text or greyscales. Guess what e-books are all about?

    Obviously not everyone may notice the ragged text or use the ereader in such a way that the color artefacts in pixels are noticable. I only tried Aldiko – maybe another ereader app with slightly bolder fonts looks better.

    I have to say that it is a pretty nice phone: very fast, light, with a nice screen size and plenty of multimedia extra’s. The price is also pretty competitive. I might give it a second try if those 4.3 inch phones don’t show up in Belgium soon.

  2. Was glad to see this. T-Mobile is bad in San Francisco area and I’m on Verizon by choice but am thinking of switching to Sprint as they have this Galaxy-S unit WITH a sliding keyboard, which I suppose would make it seem less flimsy.

    I did want that super Amoled screen but have been reading a lot about what an enormous battery drain it is. Also, the mentions, as here in the comment by Laurens, of the lesser quality for reading text.

    So, now I’m looking also at the Motorola Droid X, 4.3 screen again. Supposedly very good voice quality, very fast, with a camera that may crowd too many megapixels into a sensor the same size, I read, as the sensor for the really excellent 5 megapixel camera in the M Droid. I’m not welcoming the noise.

    That would be with Verizon but the Droid X has no sliding keyboard. Wish they’d change that. I don’t like the virtual ones and with the sliding board you’d still see the full screen.

    They certainly did a long video on this Samsung. (My current one is a 3.5 yr old Samsung and I do like their basic video capabilities – this old thing has iso800 for a cellphone and spot metering and manual controls if you want to use them.)

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