The i8910 – the day after

Now that the orgasmic explosion of excitement is over (ok, this is a lie; I’m still pretty excited), what do all the various features and functions of the i8910 mean?

First, the battery.  If the rumors prove true—and at this point I’m going to assume that they will—Samsung has done a commendable job with battery life.  Of course there’s a reason for this, and I’ll get to that later.  But there are several things Samsung has done to optimize the battery.  First is the use of S60 5.0. Based on Symbian 9.4, this OS is much more power-efficient than previous versions of both Symbian and S60.  This is typical of all OS updates; S60 3.2 is more efficient than S60 3.1 and S60 5.0 is more efficient than S60 3.2.  Symbian 9.4 is more efficient than 9.3, etc.

Another battery-saving technique is the use of AMOLED for the screen.  First, the practical benefit of this is that colors are much sharper and better-looking both on their own and in direct sunlight.  The Nokia N85 and Samsung i7110 use this type of screen.  From a battery perspective, this kind of screen is great because unlike a regular LED screen, an AMOLED screen does not use a backlight to light the screen.  The backlight is the primay battery drain when the screen is on, and removing that not only allows for a thinner device, but drastically improves battery time.  That coupled with Symbain 9.4, and we could be looking at very good standby and talk times, depending on the size of the battery itself.

(While we’re talking about the screen, a capacitive screen is a brilliant move for the i8910.  Samsung doesn’t seems as afraid of capacitive as Nokia is, which is odd because Nokia uses resistive due to it’s Chinese market needing a stylus for character input.  Samsung, an Asian company, doesn’t seem concerned with this.  So, a bit of irony.  Still, capacitive is much better than resistive due to several factors.  One, resistive screens require a physical push in order to register the touch—there must be physical contact between two layers to complete a circuit and initiate a response.  The screen must be “squishy” to allow for this and it can wear out over time and is prone to scratches.  A capacitive screen uses the electrical conductivity in your skin to register a touch.  Because of this, capacitive screens use a glass surface.  Glass, as we all know, is highly scratch resistant.  Glass means more durable.  Glass is good.  Capacitive is good.  We are all happy.)

The downside?  The downside to the battery life is actually one of the headlining features of the device itself: High Definition video recording at 720p. Not to detract too much from the revolutionary development of this feature for a mobile phone, but recording in such a resolution will put a serious drain on the battery.  In fact, it apparently puts such a strain on a battery, it lasts only 40 minutes while shooting in this mode. Of course, realistically, no one is going to be shooting 720p video with a phone for 40 minutes nonstop.  The usual recording time on a phone, regardless of resolution, is probably no longer than 2-5 minutes.  But it does pose a potential issue for people who do like to shoot video all the time—and with HD, who isn’t going to want to shoot video?  Plus, another way to looks at this is: Shooting 720p video for 40 continuous minutes until the battery completely runs out may actually be a feat.  I don’t own a camcorder with HD, but I’d guess just about any device that can shoot in such a high resolution will bottom out in about that time.  Even the N82, which shoots VGA video, would probably deplete after about 40 continuous minutes.  So, it may not be as bad as it sounds.

Then another question: Will the i8910 be “the best?”  Of course there is no such thing as a perfect phone, but at this point in time, it seems the i8910 comes pretty damn close to that label.  But will it be for the foreseeable future?  Mobile companies have a funny way of presenting an awesome device, only for it to be technically outdated within 3-4 months when another company presents something new.

Well, some good news on that front.

This is the best S60 touch phone in 2009 H/W wise, just like i8510 was in 2008. Nokia will have simplier [sic] thing, which will do a lot better on the market thought thank to the size/price and brand certainly.

OK, so murkily clear, right?  The i8910 will be the best S60 touch device in 2009. But what does that mean?  Well, it means just that—the best S60 5th Edition touch device this year.  Could a better phone come out using Windows Mobile or Android?  Well, yes, theoretically.  It’s possible.  But in my opinion, not probable.  Windows Mobile is NOT suited for multimedia of any sort despite recent attempts to hide the standard WM GUI and beef up the hardware with Snapdragon platforms, etc.  Android, the only serious competitor to S60 at this point, could have a comparable device, but it’s unlikely manufacturers will gamble high amounts of money on a top-notch device on a platform that currently only has one device on the market.  That said, the user linked said S60 touch—there’s also S60 non-touch.  Is it conceivable Samsung or Nokia could come up with something comparable in the non-touch department?   Sure.  After all, it’s rumored Samsung will have an 8MP device with optical zoom that will likely be the i8510 direct successor, therefore suggesting S60 non-touch.  And Nokia’s 8MP device is rumored to be non-touch as well.

Another point of contention: the flash.  It’s only single LED by the looks of it.  If you’ll recall, I did an LED vs. Xenon flash test and there was no comparison.  LED, when it comes to dark/night photography, sucks.  However, there’s give and take.  If it’s dark and you’re right up close to an object, LED will to just great.  Xenon, if you’re in close proximity, will almost always completely wash out the object.  And video—one of the flagship features of the i8910 with its 720p recording—is not benefited at all by Xenon.  A Xenon flash can only be used in a single burst and must be recharged, rendering it unusable as a “flashlight” while shooting video.  LED, on the other hand, is perfectly capable of performing this function, and given the i8910’s video roots, LED may suit it just fine.  Naturally, I’d prefer a Xenon+LED combo, but perhaps that’s for 2010.

Also, the size.  Yesterday, there were shots of the i8910 next to a BlackBerry Storm.  The Storm is 112mm long.  The Nokia N97, for reference, is 117mm long.  The i8910 looks like it may be longer than that.  So what does that mean?  It means it may not fit in every pocket.   However, the i8910 looks pretty thin—definitely thinner than the N97 as it lacks a keyboard—so that may be the saving grace.

Despite the potential battery issues with the video recording and the LED flash, the i8910 is still a very formidable device and, for now, is the phone I’m saving my money for.


One Response

  1. mobile is getting beter and better..anyways thanks for the info

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