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Samsung Galaxy Young review

Chris Finnamore
24 Apr 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

Now under £50, is the Galaxy Young a crazy bargain?

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Specifications

Android 4.1 (JellyBean), 3.3in 320x480 display

The Galaxy Young is one of the cheapest Android phones we've seen, having dropped from around £90 when we first reviewed it last year to just under £50 today. This may look extremely tempting and, frankly, for a throwaway phone it's not a bad deal. But as you'll see from our review, there are quite a lot of sacrifices you'll have to make for not spending £30 or £40 more.

Samsung Galaxy Young

You get a good-looking phone for your money, which feels well made. We like the soft-touch plastic on the rear, which is similar to that of the Galaxy S3 and S4, and the silver sides manage to make the phone look classy rather than tacky. The Young is a compact handset, with a small 3.3in screen, but is a relatively chunky 12mm thick. We liked the extra thickness, as it meant we could keep a firm grip on the handset despite its small width and height.

Samsung Galaxy Young

Like many budget phones, the Young has a 320x480-pixel screen. For Android to look its razor-sharp best we like to see a minimum of 480x800 pixels, and the Galaxy Young's text is slightly on the blurry side. There's also a significant amount of grain, but the screen is certainly usable.

Samsung Galaxy Young

The Young runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. We’re used to the latest versions of Android running as smooth as silk, and the operating system runs well on the Galaxy Young - at least on the surface. The app tray comes up quickly and the animation to flick between app trays is smooth, but it's when you open an app that the limitations of the phone's single-core 1GHz processor start to show.

In the Chrome web browser, the BBC News website took nine seconds to render, while most dual-core smartphones can render the page in five. Scrolling around pages is far jerkier than we're used to, and there's a second or so delay between tapping in the address box and the keyboard appearing. The Maps app is also especially slow, especially when new tiles are loading, which makes scrolling around a chore.

The slow performance is backed up the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark; the phone completed the test in a very slow 3,203ms. The phone's slow speed does give it one particular advantage; good battery life. In our continuous video playback test, we saw nearly nine hours from the Young's 1,300mAh battery.

Core phone functions such as messaging are less of a problem. There is a bit of a delay between pressing a key on the on-screen keyboard and the letter appearing, but accurate typing is helped by the keyboard's sensible design; each key is small but spaced far apart from the others, so fat fingers don’t struggle with the screen's low resolution.

Samsung Galaxy Young

We were impressed with the phone's five-megapixel camera, which managed to resolve a surprising amount of detail from its three megapixels in outdoor shots, and compared favourably with the Samsung Galaxy S3's camera, which we tend to use for our reference. However, like the S3, the Galaxy Young struggles with exposure in bright conditions, meaning that the sky is more likely to be a bleached-out white than something with texture and clouds. Photos taken in low light show plenty of noise, but again, are reasonably impressive considering the phone's low price.

Galaxy Young outdoor test shot

Not bad on the detail front, but the camera struggles with exposure in bright conditions

The phone's slow speed does give it one particular advantage; good battery life. In our continuous video playback test, we saw nearly nine hours from the Young's 1,300mAh battery.

CONCLUSION

When we first saw the Samsung Galaxy Young it was among the cheapest Android smartphones we'd seen at just £90. Now you can pick one up for as little as £50 from Tesco Mobile. That makes it very cheap, even by today's standards, but is it worth buying?

The Galaxy Young has a very basic spec. The screen has just a measly 320x480 resolution and it only has a single-core 1GHz processor, though it does run Android 4.1 pretty smoothly. Webpages are slow to load and you won't see much at that resolution anyway.

A good alternative would be the Windows-powered Nokia Lumia 530. It's around the same price and you get a better screen and marginally better performance, as well as lovely bright colours to boot.

However, if you can stretch your budget, you really should. The £90 Motorola Moto E is a great budget choice and while the upfront cost is nearly double that of the Galaxy Young, it's significantly better future-proofed thanks to a better screen, camera, battery and processor, so over the course of two or more years you won't feel tempted to trade it in, unlike the Young, whose performance will possibly frustrate from the moment you buy it.

Details

Price£116
Rating***

Hardware

Main display size3.3in
Native resolution320x480
CCD effective megapixels3-megapixel
GPSyes
Internal memory1536MB
Memory card supportmicroSD
Memory card included0MB
Operating frequenciesGSM 850/900/1800/1900, 3G 900/2100
Wireless dataHSDPA
Size109x59x12mm
Weight112g

Features

Operating systemAndroid 4.1 (JellyBean)
Microsoft Office compatibilityWord, Excel, PowerPoint
FM Radioyes
Accessoriesheadphones, data cable, charger
Talk time7 hours
Standby time10 days

Buying Information

SIM-free price£116
Price on contract0
Prepay price£90
SIM-free supplierwww.ballicom.co.uk
Contract/prepay supplierwww.o2.co.uk
Detailswww.samsung.co.uk

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