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Samsung I5700 Galaxy Portal review

Barry de la Rosa
1 Jul 2010
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Samsung I5700 Galaxy Portal
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
247
inc VAT

Despite a lower spec camera and less storage, the Galaxy Portal is a better smartphone than the original Galaxy, and is available free on a £20-per-month contract

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Specifications

Android 2.1, 3.2in 320x480 display

The Samsung Galaxy Portal (as sold by T-Mobile; also known as the Galaxy Lite) is a relatively cheap Android smartphone with an AMOLED screen. It's visually similar to the earlier GT-I7500 Galaxy, but incorporates many positive changes, not least of which is Android 2.1.

Along with the updated OS, Samsung has added its own interface tweaks, such as the ability to customise up to nine home screens. It's also added a small tray area that persists across all home screens and holds up to four frequently-used app shortcuts.

Samsung has added a file manager, which is useful, and a small app that lets you toggle Bluetooth, WiFi and GPS. There's also Facebook and MySpace apps for social media.

There isn't any office document viewing software, however, and although you can use Google Docs or download a free app, it's a shame Samsung hasn't made an effort to bundle something like QuickOffice. Android's built-in Exchange support and support for multiple Google accounts is a bonus, but Facebook account integration doesn't work, and you can't merge contacts between accounts such as with HTC's Sense software or Palm's webOS.

On the hardware front, the new Galaxy replaces the GT-I7500's tiny and awkward home key with a larger one, and adds a search key on the opposite side. The large navigation rocker is easy to use, and there's a lock button conveniently placed on the side of the phone.

The 3.2-megapixel camera is a step down from the previous model's 5-megapixel snapper, plus there's no flash. Shots and videos taken on the camera were acceptable for Facebook and YouTube, but not up to the standard of even a cheap compact digital camera. It's also a little disappointing that there's only 180MB of internal storage, with a paltry 1GB microSD card fitted in the slot.

The screen is a fantastic AMOLED display, with incredibly vibrant colour and sharp contrast, and touch sensitivity is good. With a fast 800MHz processor, control is smooth as well, and despite the inferior camera and storage, as a smartphone it performs better than its more expensive predecessor. Available free on a £20-per-month contract, it's much better value than the HTC Tattoo or Vodafone 845, and so it wins a Budget Buy award.

Details

Price£247
Rating****
AwardBudget Buy

Hardware

Main display size3.2in
Native resolution320x480
Second DisplayNo
CCD effective megapixels3-megapixel
Video recording format3GP (H.263, MPEG4)
ConnectivityBluetooth, USB, WiFi
GPSyes
Internal memory180MB
Memory card supportmicroSDHC
Memory card included1024MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataEDGE, HSDPA
Size115x57x13mm
Weight124g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 2.1
Microsoft Office compatibilitynone
Email clientPOP3/IMAP/Exchange
Audio format supportMP3, AMR, AAC, AAC+, eAAC+
Video playback formats3GP, MPEG4
FM Radiono
Web BrowserWebkit
Accessoriesheadset, data cable, charger
Talk time6.2 hours
Standby time14.2 days
Tested battery life (MP3 playback)16h 46m

Buying Information

SIM-free price£247
Price on contract£20-per-month, 18-month contract
SIM-free supplierwww.handtec.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.t-mobile.co.uk
Detailswww.samsung.com/uk

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