Screen dream

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As Apple announces an impromptu news conference to discuss those embarrassing iPhone 4 signal-loss problems, we've been busy getting to grips with Samsung's new alternative, the Galaxy S - and we're seriously impressed.

At first glance, the styling similarities to past iPhones is clear - but by no means unwelcome. This device is all about the screen, however. At a sizable 4in (larger than the iPhone) with excellent contrast and colour, the Galaxy's AMOLED display is superb. The touch-screen marks a welcome improvement on older models, too - it's quick and responsive.

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Fortunately, Samsung hasn't scrimped elsewhere on the handset either, beneath the screen there is a powerful 1GHz processor powering all manner of whathaveyou, HD recording (720p), a five-megapixel camera (though, sadly, no flash) and the now obligatory media-hub settings allowing users to link to Facebook, Twitter, Google contacts etc.

The new built-in "Swype" texting function is canny indeed - merely trace your finger from one letter to the next, pause ever so slightly on the symbols desired and the Galaxy S nails your word with amazing accuracy. With practise, this could be a very slick alternative to traditional texting. Naturally, customisation is encouraged - widgets and icons can be added to any one of the seven home pages, alongside download content from Google's Android store (though a wider choice of apps would be welcome).

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Web-browsing, thanks to the aforementioned processor, is speedy too, with fast loading on image-heavy pages and an efficient pinch-and-zoom system. The Galaxy S Android software doesn't currently come with Flash - though an update is promised later this year.

Thanks in part to the screen, the phone's media functions set the Galaxy S apart from other smartphones. The rich sound quality, including simulated 5.1 surround, is miles ahead of rival devices. Our only gripe is the difficulty in ordering playlists other than alphabetically - it can be done, but you have to make "Quick List" first (similar to On The Go), selecting each track individually, then save this as a playlist. This is a bore. Video playback however is a joy, with near every format supported.

While it doesn't trounce Apple's omnipresent offering in every department, this smartphone wins in enough key areas to get Steve Jobs and his tech bods breaking a sweat.

For more information on Samsung's Galaxy S visit www.samsungmobile.com