A sub-par screen and an unadorned Android installation make the Galaxy seem like less than the sum of its parts.
Android 1.5, 3.2in 320×480 display
Samsung’s Galaxy is a smart-looking Android phone with a vivid OLED screen that makes viewing photos and videos a pleasure.
Its 5-megapixel camera has a flash, and there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack. It has 8GB of internal memory and memory card slot, so there’s plenty of storage for music, videos and photos.
Samsung has installed only the basic Android operating system, but you have access to a wealth of apps in the Android Market. If you only use Google services, such as Gmail and Google Calendar, this will suffice, but there’s no attempt to merge data between services, as with HTC’s Sense or Palm’s webOS.
Samsung hasn’t installed any apps for viewing or editing Office documents, and while you get some free apps for viewing files, you’ll have to pay extra for an app that can edit them. We feel that Samsung has missed a trick here compared with the interface and apps that HTC provides with the Hero, for example.
Despite having a marginally larger screen than the company’s Jét, the Galaxy’s has a lower resolution, so images aren’t as sharp. It’s better than most other smartphone screens, though. The camera appears to be the same as the Jét’s and photos suffered from the same washed-out colours and poor contrast in low light.
The phone feels well built, and the buttons are large, except for the odd Home button. This has no icon, so its function isn’t obvious at first glance. The central navigation rocker is a nice touch, as Android benefits from having finer control of the cursor than a touchscreen alone offers. The screen feels smooth, but while the Galaxy has the same processor as the HTC Hero, Android doesn’t feel as well optimised. You have to hold a button on the side of the phone to unlock the screen, which is annoying.
While Samsung’s OLED screen is better than those on other phones, it’s not as good as the Jét’s, and its basic version of Android is disappointing for the price. It ticks all the right boxes for hardware and features, but the Galaxy doesn’t feel as if much effort has been put into it. HTC’s Hero is much better value.
|Main display size
|CCD effective megapixels
|Video recording format
|Bluetooth, WiFi, USB
|Memory card support
|Memory card included
|GSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/1700/2100
|EDGE, HSDPA, HSCSD, HSUPA
|Microsoft Office compatibility
|Audio format support
|MP3, e-AAC+, WMA, RA
|Video playback formats
|MPEG4, H.264, H.263
|headset, data cable, charger
|Tested battery life (MP3 playback)
|Price on contract
|£147 on £29-per-month, 18-month contract