Contacts and calling on the Samsung Galaxy S is pretty standard Android fare.
We quite like the phonebook and the way it's laid out with contacts' profile photos in list mode. Again, small touches make all the difference. We're pleased to see even BlackBerry does this now, and just wait for the day the iPhone follows suit (and then announces it in a way that makes it sound like an amazing new feature Apple has invented!).
It's helpful that you can join contacts – to prevent duplicates, something we have lots of – and can now create groups directly on the handset – some previous Android iterations forced you to do that on the web.
Accessing your contacts list can be done in one of two ways – tapping the contacts icon in the dock or going in through a tab on the phone – and adding a contact is as simple as tapping in the number in the phone app and hitting 'Add to contacts.'
Dialling is standard Android fare – there isn't even a skin here to change the dialler – but if it isn't broken, why fix it?
You can tap out a contact's name using the number pad, and the smart dialling kicks in immediately.
It's a fact that millions of smartphone owners use their phone less for calling and more for texting, surfing the web and social networking – more on the first two in the Messaging and Internet sections of this review. But we can't help feeling that Samsung's support for the latter is a poor show on the Samsung Galaxy S.
There's a bright Feeds and Updates widget that we're not overly keen on, because it only seems to show a maximum of two entries at a time – which means a lot of scrolling if you're popular.
And the Social Hub app that's supposed to aggregate your messages, Twitter, Facebook and so on just feels a bit... unimaginative, and isn't actually that functional (we'll explain more on that in the Messaging section.)
We're sorry to say it, Samsung, but you don't even come close here to HTC, who we would pit as the main Android competitor. Its integration of social feeds into contacts and so on is a market leader, and an example to be followed.
Even Windows Phone 7 Mango has amazing Facebook integration, and Twitter is in its pipeline. So there really is no excuse, and we hope you sort it out before an Ice Cream Sandwich update – if one arrives for the Samsung Galaxy S.
On the other hand, making and receiving calls on the Samsung Galaxy S was a pleasure.
We managed to hold a connection while travelling (in the passenger seat, of course) at high speed on the M6 between Sandbach and Stafford – a good distance where you'd expect at least one dropout. Signal did go up and down a bit, but the Samsung Galaxy S held on to that call for dear life and we couldn't fault it at all.
Volume isn't massively loud and clear, but it's bearable, and callers reported back that they could hear us perfectly.
One other thing we did like is that when you're in a call, if you hit the Options key, it brings up the option to write a memo. That's a really good idea, and actually came in handy while we tested the phone, taking notes on the performance when we were engaged in conversation.