We weren't as impressed with the video taken by the Galaxy. It looks jerky because of its low frame rate and bright light isn't handled well. But most mobile phones suffer from these problems, so they certainly wouldn't put us off choosing the Galaxy.
There's plenty of room for photos and video on the Galaxy's 8GB of on-board memory, with support for 32GB more via a microSD card bay. You can also stuff music on there, and the Galaxy has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, so you can listen to your tunes on your own cans -- something we always love.
We're not fans of Samsung's keyboard design in general, and the Galaxy's is a disappointment. We'd rather use the keyboard on the inexpensive, pay-as-you-go T-Mobile Pulse Android phone than the one on the Galaxy. As usual, Samsung has stuck in too many rarely used keys, like one for switching languages, and the keyboard covers much of the screen. But Samsung hasn't included easy shortcuts for entering numbers, such as the Hero and Pulse benefit from.
Nevertheless, compared to its Android competitors, the Galaxy's soft keyboard isn't difficult to type on, although it's not as responsive as that of the current king of on-screen typing, the iPhone 3GS. When we typed very fast on the Galaxy, it did a good job of reading all our keystrokes, and the predictive text is accurate and helpful. It's too bad that the keyboard's so ugly.
The responsiveness of the keyboard is echoed throughout the phone's user interface, which is snappy and a pleasure to use. The bright AMOLED capacitive touchscreen is a delight to tap, and menus and applications all pop up promptly.
With the keyboard leaving us cold, we're happy to see that Samsung hasn't tweaked the Android operating system in any other noticeable way. The Galaxy may not have the social-networking bells and whistles of the Hero or Motorola Dext, but the user interface of vanilla-flavoured Android is good enough to get us through the night.
If you crave more than the features that come in the box, you have access to the Android Market, which is packed with great apps that can give the phone new powers, from harnessing the infinite jukebox of Spotify to becoming a Skype phone. Many of the apps are free, and, although they don't tend to be quite as slick as the apps available for the iPhone, the Android Market wins points for giving developers more leeway for creativity.
Unfortunately, Android doesn't support multi-touch without some tweaking, and Samsung's done no tweaking in this regard. That means Galaxy dwellers won't have the pleasure of pinching their fingers to zoom into a Web page or photo, as you can on the Hero. Instead, they'll have to tap at zoom-in and zoom-out buttons on the screen, which isn't as instinctive or as accurate a method.
The Samsung Galaxy i7500 can march down the main street of Android Ville with its head held high, thanks to its stunning AMOLED screen, 5-megapixel camera with LED light, 8GB of on-board memory, and snappy, responsive user interface. But, with the bog-standard version of Android on-board, we missed the HTC Hero's bells and whistles, such as multi-touch capability. Based on the poor keyboard design, though, we're probably fortunate that Samsung has pretty much left Android alone. The Galaxy feels like a tricked-out HTC Magic with less attractive looks, but it's a solid smart phone that we'd be happy to show off.
Edited by Charles Kloet