Samsung Galaxy S: sexier than the Droid?

If not for the Sprint HTC Evo, the Samsung Galaxy S would have been the most innovative and bleeding-edge phone introduced here in Vegas. First unveiled as a series of features in Barcelona earlier this year, Galaxy S includes many of the same power specs and features as Evo:

  • Android 2.1 (but only five home screens instead of seven)
  • a powerful 1 GHz processor
  • 16 GB of internal memory
  • 720p video recording
  • a social networking/communications and configurable PIM aggregation hub called Daily Briefing
  • YouTube HQ
  • Layar reality browsing
  • Google Goggle picture search

Instead of supplying mobile hotspot capabilities, the Galaxy will offer nearly as useful wireless tethering.

Galaxy S, also scheduled to be available this summer from a GSM carrier (two guesses which, first one doesn't count), is a suddenly (in light of the Sprint HTC Evo 4G) anachronistic 3G phone. Instead of an LCD screen, Galaxy S sports a pretty big 4-inch "super" AMOLED display, which has to be even prettier than Motorola Droid's, but we'll reserve final judgment when we can do a side-by-side comparison, but it looked really good. Samsung says the new display is 20% brighter than its previous AMOLED screens, saves 20% more battery life and is 80% more reflective, meaning it won't bleach out in the sun. It certainly performed admirably under the bright lights in the demo room.

Galaxy S also is a shockingly thin and light phone. It's only 9.9mm thin (0.39 inches) and just 118 grams (4.2 ounces), its slimness marred only by a slight rear-jutting chin at the base. Unfortunately, its slimness means you have to slip off the rear cover to get to the microSD card slot. And instead of scrolling up or down, apps are spread across several horizontal-swiping screens, just like the home screens.

Function-wise, none of the Galaxy S samples could connect to the Internet — they were preproduction models. But Galaxy S has a beautiful e-book reader thanks to the Skiff service, which will provide books and periodicals. Paramount is a video partner, as is DivX. In fact, Galaxy is the first DivX-certified cellphone, and you'll be able to stream HD DivX videos from the Web via an Android app that's coming. With DivX's AllShare feature, you can stream HD video to a DLNA-enabled HDTV. Galaxy S also can be used as a remote control for Samsung HDTVs.

Thanks to the 1GHz processor, apps burst into functionality, scrolling was super smooth, and the accelerometer flipped photos from landscape to portrait and back in less than the blink of an eye. While not as flashy as the Evo, Galaxy S may be a more functional phone thanks to the more widely available 3G network.